There is a short story, most probably by an American science fiction author, not sure about the year (can be anything between 1960s and 1990s, most probably 1980s).

The main idea is that there is some machine that can predict how a romantic relationship with a particular person will develop. The protagonist uses this machine to see his predicted future (like a film) with several potential wives and all of them end badly.

Finally he marries the woman who operates the machine without even checking the film about their future; she said she watched the film but never tells what's there.

  • This sounds really good! Mar 22, 2020 at 21:33
  • I remember a novel by Philip K. Dick which used a machine like that - possibly "Galactic Pot-Healer". He might have re-used the concept in a short story.
    – user888379
    Mar 22, 2020 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


This sounds like Robert Sheckley's 'Sneak Preview' found in the collection 'The Robot who Looked like Me" (1982)...

"Peter Honorious looked through his mail one bright September morning and found a peremptory Directive from his local Consanguinity Board demanding that he be married by October 1 or be found in contempt of the State and Federal Pair-Bonding Regulations."... "Honorious was prompt for his appointment. In an envelope he carried data cards for fifteen prospective wives."...

"By September 29, after viewing fourteen of his potential marriages, Honorious was alarmed and despondent."...

An excellent story, and a surprising ending (both to be expected from Sheckley!

  • Yeah, it's definitely the story I looked for! It appears that my memories about the ending were not completely correct. May 9, 2022 at 14:34

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