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A man hikes through an abandoned town to an industrial building. He sweats and slightly injures himself doing several tasks by hand that normally would require a forklift. He throws a switch and watches in accomplishment/marvel as the town has electricity again for 80+ seconds. This may be a personal best. Then he hikes away again.

The title of this short story is on the tip of my brain and it's really bugging me. What is it?

Known incorrect guesses:

  • Walter Miller - A Canticle For Leibowitz
  • Ray Bradbury - Powerhouse
  • 1
    When did you read it? – Möoz Jun 21 '17 at 5:09
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    So... just to be clear, you already know what the answer is? – FuzzyBoots Jun 21 '17 at 5:10
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    Hi Jon. Is this a story that you're trying to remember or are you just setting us a challenge to identify a story you know? – John Rennie Jun 21 '17 at 8:23
  • No, I do not know the answer. Question edited to make that clear. – jonrock Jun 21 '17 at 14:00
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    I read this one a long time ago. Feels like Bradbury or Simak, but I doubt it's either one of them. I have a vague memory of the protagonist yelling something like "I made you live again!" and then watching while the battery runs out and the city shuts down. – Dosco Jones Jun 21 '17 at 14:49
17

That would be "Lucifer" by Roger Zelazny, collected in "The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth".

"Do you hear that?" he called out, shaking his fist at anything."Ninety three seconds! I made you live for ninety three seconds!"

Then he covered his face against the darkness and was silent.

After a long while he descended the stairway, walked the belt, and moved through the long hallway and out of the Building. As he headed back toward the mountains he promised himself - again - that he would never return.

  • That's a nice title. And it's available online. – Gallifreyan Jun 21 '17 at 17:12
  • @Gallifreyan - Found it in Google Books, so I added a link. – WhatRoughBeast Jun 21 '17 at 17:21
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    [Expletive deleted] Google Books, the story is available at the Internet Archive. – user14111 Jun 21 '17 at 17:40
  • For those who prefer hard copy, there are several alternatives to the Zelazny collection The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth. – user14111 Jun 21 '17 at 17:42
  • Answer accepted! Thanks! – jonrock Jun 21 '17 at 18:53

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