Sorry this is so vague, I think this was a sci-fi story I read as a kid, maybe just a few pages long. The only detail I can remember clearly is the last line having something to do with wearing a knurled cap. (Which I know, isn't a hat.) That line just popped into my head and now it's stuck. I have an even vaguer idea that it's about a dead person (maybe in space?) who can come back to life if they can describe themself, but I have no idea if that's actually a real memory.

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    Not much to go on there. Have you told us absolutely everything you can remember about the story? Was the dead person a human being? Male or female? It might help to know how old the story is.You read it "as a kid" but was that 10 years ago or 60 years ago? Did you read it in English? In a magazine, a paperback collection, a hardcover collection? Where there any aliens in the story? Robots? If you can add anything to your description, please edit your question using the "edit" button just below the tags.
    – user14111
    Jan 24, 2017 at 2:01

1 Answer 1


Was the phrase actually "weareth a runcible cap"? If so you may be thinking of Arthur C. Clarke's Playback, collected in the anthology The Wind from the Sun. You can find it on Google Books.

This is a very short story and matches your description quite well because it's about a recording of a dead human. The recording attempts but fails to describe itself:

I’m trying to rebuild my body. Why do my thoughts keep going out of focus? Help me, please!
That monstrosity? Is that what I told you I looked like? Erase it. We must start again.
The head, now. It is perfectly spherical, and weareth a runcible cap….
Too difficult. Begin somewhere else. Ah, I know—
The thighbone is connected to the shinbone. The shinbone is connected to the thighbone. The thighbone is connected to the shinbone. The shinbone…
All fading. Too late, too late. Something wrong with the playback. Thank you for trying. My name is… my name is…

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    Yes, well spotted this has to be it. I hope you don't mind that I've extended your answer to include a quote from the story. Please roll back my edit if you don't like it. Jan 25, 2017 at 9:38
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    That's it! This forum is incredible. I'm not sure how my brain swapped in "knurled" but I guess it needed a real word to stand in, haha. It must've been at least ten years since I read that anthology.
    – Jude P.
    Jan 26, 2017 at 12:28

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