This story was about teens/kids in a school, they would hook up to some VR or some other device, and it would show them their future. In the book, one of the cool girls saw the future and she was married to one of the "nerds" I guess you'd call it in the class. She didn't want that, so while she was in the "future" she killed him. When they "returned" from the experience, something had happened to the nerd. However, when the future happened, she was left out in the cold, while she saw him in the safety of a walled city with one of the other classmates, that could have been her, instead she is now out in the dystopian landscape instead of being in the safety of the walled city. It sort of sounds like Oath of Fealty, but isn't that book, it was a short story.

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    Can you tell us when you read or saw this? It helps narrow the field of search a lot.
    – Radhil
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 14:35
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    oh my gosh, it would have been when I was a teen, back in the late '60's, early '70's.
    – Klendathu
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 14:56

1 Answer 1


This sounds like one of James Tiptree Jr's last stories: 'Backward, Turn Backward', that appeared in the posthumous collection 'Crown of Stars' (1988).

The girl is living on the street when she is rescued by the 'nerd'. Once returned to the start of the story (having killed her benefactor) she winds up back on the street, where gang-members set her on fire for kicks.

I loved Tiptree's early stuff, but even when I read it I thought this story made no sense at all!

  • I don't know whether this is the answer or not. However, the plot description sounds REALLY creepy for a very late Tiptree work, in light of the the violence and ambiguous circumstances of her own death.
    – Buzz
    Commented May 7, 2022 at 2:34

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