In the 1980s, I read a story in an anthology, and I think it was relatively new at the time I read it. I would like to locate it again, but I don't recall anything else about the author or what kind of anthology it appeared in.

The main character was immortal (or more likely he was just very long-lived; he himself did not know for sure). He had been born in Roman times, but his growth and development had stalled when he was about fifteen, leaving him looking like a teenager for millennia. (I think the story made the point that it was very annoying to him that he had spent so long not being taken seriously as an adult, by folks much, much younger than him. However, I could be confusing this element with Leigh Brackett's "The Jewel of Bas.")

Finally, in the present day, he has reached maturity and is now looking for a mate. He has been dating three or four different women, while wearing different disguises. However, it turns out that they are also all the same person, also using disguises and also immortal. The pair are initially ecstatic, until he finds out that she is only 400 years old, and they will have to wait another thousand years before she will be sexually mature and able to reproduce.

1 Answer 1


"To Be Continued", a short story by Robert Silverberg, first published in Astounding Science Fiction, May 1956, available at the Internet Archive. Maybe one of these covers will ring a bell.

Plot summary from Majipoor.com:

This story presents a version of extreme longevity that's a bit different than most (Heinlein's Lazarus Long and so on). Gaius Titus Menenius was born a Roman citizen, but realized early in his life he was not like other people. He grew up very slowly, less than a tenth the speed of normal people. So it isn't until the 1950s that he becomes sexually mature and able to father children. Now all he needs is an appropriate mate.

The end of the story:


"What . . . Titus?"

"How old did you say you were? When were you born?" he asked.

She thought for a moment. "In 1597," she said. "I'm nearly four hundred."

He nodded, dumb with growing frustration. Only four hundred? That meant—that meant she was now the equivalent of a three-year-old child!

"When can we get married?" she repeated.

"There's no hurry," Titus said dully, letting her hand drop. "We have eleven hundred years."

  • 2
    How extremely odd, to be simultaneously look like a fully grown woman whilst being the equivalent of a three year old.
    – Jontia
    Jul 18, 2019 at 14:07
  • His fertility seems to have lagged behind his appearance, IIRC he had looked like an adult for centuries at that point. Presumably he guessed hers would to the same. Jun 2, 2023 at 11:25

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