This short story deals with a spaceship crew, but they slowly realize that the spaceship they are on is actually some type of experiment, I think.

Ever so slowly, one crew-member, a female, begins to figure it out. It seems that whenever she looks outside the viewing port she notices different, strange things/scenes.

In the last part of the story she is looking out the port and instead of seeing stars and planets she sees a swarming mass of organisms on the viewport surface. She realizes that something is amiss, and runs off to her sleeping quarters and curls up to conceal herself.

And in the last paragraphs one of the other crew-members comes to console her, and tell her everything is OK.

  • I remember actually reading a story much like yours - in the end, the experiment is ended by a coup, and the rebels enter the sealed dome which the crew believe it's the universe. Similar, but not the same, as Ballard's Thirteen to Centaurus. I'll check my library; you can perhaps explore sciencefictionruminations.wordpress.com/… . In the story I remember, the experiment's goal was to somehow banish fear, and it failed and was to be cancelled before the coup happened. – LSerni Feb 25 '17 at 21:25
  • LSerni ... this is helpful. I am now checking out that "ruminations" site! Thanks! Altdude – Altdude Feb 26 '17 at 15:28
  • After wracking my head I remembered that this story was in an Italian anthology back from the '70s-'80s, and I'm almost sure that the very last sentence hints at the woman coming out of her shock - uncurling, stirring or otherwise reacting to his friend's entreaties. There is a scene where she looks outside the ship and sees a circle of light (the camouflaged hangar door) opening in the darkness of space, and someone coming out. Does it ring any bells? – LSerni Mar 2 '17 at 22:02
  • Actually IT DOES ring a bell, but I seem to recall there was no action after she is approached by a fellow crew member. Nevertheless, this may be the one I am looking for. But I believe I read this back in the late 60s. It may have been from an anthology, but I cannot be sure. I was reading the SciFi mag called Analog back then, too. It may have come from that. But, – Altdude Mar 4 '17 at 23:51

I found the story! It's called "Something Strange" by Kingsley Amis. It appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1961. It was also in an anthology titled Five-Odd (1964) by Groff Conklin. Thanks for the help!


It's Pandorum, a cool movie, produced by Paul W. S. Anderson.

  • 1
    Can you back this up? (Though it might be correct). – Adamant Mar 26 '17 at 5:31
  • 4
    They asked about a short story, not a movie. – eshier Apr 25 '17 at 5:36
  • Confirming for correct. It is only revealed at the end but there is some foreshadowing as we have algal high-water marks. Inside a spaceship. – David Tonhofer Apr 29 '18 at 13:06

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