25

It's been maybe twenty years since I read this, so please forgive me for not remembering if it was a novel or a short story.

It's the story of a girl whose father was either a Greek or Egyptian alchemist. He had concocted an elixir which, if drunk periodically, grants immortality. The problem was that in order for it to work, the person drinking it couldn't have gone through puberty.

He gave the elixir to his son and daughter, and taught them how to make more. The children live through many centuries, but the son eventually stops taking it. He ages normally and eventually dies. The daughter continues to take it, and the reader learns her story while she is being interviewed, either by MDs, or psychiatrists.

  • 2
    What language did you read it in? – Gallifreyan Jun 6 '17 at 21:09
  • 2
    I read it in English. – BJMcCann Jun 6 '17 at 21:14
27

Sounds like "Child of All Ages" by P. J. Plauger.

The little girl is sent to a counselor in present time because she is being disruptive in class. The friendly counselor finds out that her father was a wizard 2433 years ago who found out how to stop the aging process before puberty. She continues to make the potion to extend her life.

The only thing that is not a match is the brother. She does mention having recruited other pre-adolescents in the past and shared the formula, but they all gave up the potion eventually and died.

  • 15
    I heard he wrote a sequel called "Dinkumware, a C++ Standard Library", published among others by the Microsoft Book division. It's a bit dry, but it's very useful. – isanae Jun 7 '17 at 1:46
  • 4
    Actually while researching this, besides finding about his C++ expertise, I did see that he wrote an actual sequel to this story. It was never reprinted though; original magazine published only, so perhaps it was a disappointment. – Organic Marble Jun 7 '17 at 11:42
  • 1
    HI @OrganicMarble: I'd never heard of a sequel. Can you provide a reference? – Faheem Mitha Jun 7 '17 at 22:19
  • 2
    @FaheemMitha: Check out the ISFDB link in the answer; it gives the series as "Melissa", and the sequel as The Con Artist. – kundor Jun 7 '17 at 22:37
  • 1
    Hi @kundor Thanks for the pointer. Based on a quick search, (see groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.arts.sf.written/13rz398xcqo) it sounds like it's more a story in which she appears as opposed to a story about her. But there doesn't seem to be much information about this story on the net. – Faheem Mitha Jun 8 '17 at 22:57
13

This is "Child of All Ages" by P. J. Plaugher.

Here is a summary of the story. In the story, Melissa has the body of a preteen girl but is over two thousand years old, fluent in dozens of languages, and is well educated in many fields. She stays alive using a formula that her father developed which preserves life, but it only works for those who have not undergone puberty. Melissa's greatest problem now is finding a way to live as someone who is treated as a legal child with very few rights.

9

There are also similarities to "The Picture by Dora Gray", Charles L. Harness, Analog December 1986. And differences. The girl Dora Grey is only centuries old, not millennia, and I don't remember if she had a brother once. She is seeking a new companion after her long time companion died and offers to make the protagonist's young daughter immortal.

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?486461

I note that the protagonist in "The Picture by Dora Gray" is a lawyer working on 2 cases, one involving Dora Gray, and stumbles on a piece of paper that by an amazing coincidence has evidence about both written on opposite sides of the paper. And Oscar Wilde did meet Dora gray before writing The Picture of Dorian Gray.

I hope that is sufficient to decide if that was the story your remember.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.