I am looking to find a short story wherein a group of people leave their ship to respond to a distress signal on Titan (maybe?) They head into some kind of ice caverns on a mountain. The crew come to discover that they are the ones who sent the signal when they see their ship landing to rescue them.

I read this in a high school sci-fi class so it may have been published in a Playboy anthology, or in a textbook.

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    They used Playboy anthologies in your high school?
    – Buzz
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 23:08
  • "I read this in a high school sci-fi class so it may have been published in a Playboy anthology, or in a textbook." Uhm ... a large fraction of the stories the Playboy runs have a non-trivial amount of 'adult' content. At least where I grew up that would pretty much exclude it being used in a high school course. Are you sure that's right? Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 23:09
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    @dmckee - I'm always surprised by how little adult content there is in the old Playboy anthologies and how tame the adult content is by modern standards.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 23:26
  • @Valorum Hmmm ... I have to admit I am not familiar with their stories from before the mid-mumbles. Most of the stories I'm familiar with that ran in Playboy would not have been acceptable in my high school not withstanding that it was very liberal by the standards of that time and place. I would agree that the stories are usually pretty vanilla and un-threatening; it's just that the bar was pretty set pretty low. Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 23:29
  • The vast majority of the stories were tame. I think there was one story they had us read that regarded reproduction, but it wasn't anything terribly interesting in that regard. I think there was another text book we had, but I can't for the life of me remember what it even looked like, much less what it was called.
    – Damion F-C
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 23:43

1 Answer 1


I think there's a good chance you're remembering Time Wants a Skeleton by Ross Rocklynne, first published in the June 1941 edition of Astounding Science-Fiction.

It has most of what you describe and was published in at least one Playboy anthology.

The story can be read at the Internet Archive.

  • What Playboy anthology was "Time Wants a Skeleton" reprinted in? Seems unlikely.
    – user14111
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 21:55
  • There's a German playboy anthology called Die besten Stories von 1941" from 1981 and I assumed there was an English edition of it. I didn't dig too far into it. Commented Jan 23, 2022 at 0:47
  • I see. The English language edition does not have "Playboy" in its title. isfdb.org/cgi-bin/titlecovers.cgi?34138
    – user14111
    Commented Jan 23, 2022 at 0:57
  • This was exactly it, thank you so much! looking at the comments that book is the anthology I was thinking of.
    – Damion F-C
    Commented Jan 24, 2022 at 4:30

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