It's a small (~5-7) crew, and one person is conscious at any time to maintain the ship, etc. They rotate waking up but when this person wakes up they realize something in the ship malfunctioned and the rest of the crew died in their sleep. They read through the ship log/journal and there's some grieving; the story ends with them going back into cryo/sleep, not knowing if they will wake up.

My gut instinct says Asimov or Bradbury but I'm not sure.

  • Welcome to SFF:SE, if there's any more information you have such as when it was written, or more of the plot, every little piece helps.
    – Edlothiad
    Dec 29, 2016 at 2:29
  • 3
    We really need more information, because I'm pretty sure I've read a few stories with that premise. When did you read this? Where? Short story? Novel? Did the surviving crew member read through the ship log or was the tale told through ship's logs?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Dec 29, 2016 at 2:38
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    It's a short story, probably from an anthology, but I read it a while ago. The surviving crew member read through the ships logs (each member of the crew left notes/messages during their shift), which is how we get to know the rest of the crew, but the story isn't told exclusively through them. The bulk of the story is mourning the crew, while also coming to terms with the fact that he needs to go back into cryo.
    – modicular
    Dec 29, 2016 at 4:54

1 Answer 1


Possibly Call Me Mr. Positive by Tom Barlow. I read this in the anthology Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show edited by Edmund R. Schubert and Orson Scott Card. According to IFSDB it has only appeared in that anthology.

We never learn the protagonist's name, or the name of the ship and the details of the voyage it's on. All we know that they have been woken as it's their turn to man the ship:

It was my watch ... This was my ninth awake period of the voyage,

The protagonist does a routine check of the other crew members and finds:

As soon as I saw the first body, I knew the rest would be dead. The readouts were there in plain sight, right in front of me when I woke up, but I hadn’t bothered to look. I had just assumed everything was all right. Things couldn’t be any less right.

I checked them over one at a time anyway. Every one hurt just as much as the first, or maybe more.

They weren’t smashed-faceplate dead. They were peaceful-sleep dead. They looked like they’d died at about the same time, and not too long ago; there wasn’t a great deal of decomposition

The story isn't the protagonist reading the log, but rather writing entries in the log. The story is a series of log entries.

At the end of the story the protagonist returns to his pod:

I hadn’t admitted it to myself yet, but I was finally ready to get in the pod. Afraid my courage would evaporate if I looked at it too carefully, I let my mind go blank as I dressed and prepped the pod. I slid in, and was about to close the lid, but I couldn’t shake the notion that I’d left something unfinished.

I got up and wrote these words so that the log has some sort of an ending, in case things don’t turn out well. I’ve always hated books that end “To be continued.”

I thought long and hard about these, perhaps my last words. I was looking for something profound, something you could carve on my gravestone if you want to, but couldn’t think of anything. Only that I’d rather be floating dead through space with five of my friends than be alive and alone.

See you in six months. Call me Mr. Positive.

The end.

You know what’s funny? The cabin? It has a night light.

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