Looking for a collection of SCIFI short stories, that was used as text book in a high school literature class. I don't remember what was on the cover other than it being a tan and yellow soft cover book with "Science Fiction" in big letters on the cover.

I can remember only a few stories in the book clearly. One was called (I believe) Short Stacks: it starts out with a little boy asking his father why they are called Short Stacks and the Father starts to explain the story of Mr. Short who was very creative, bought some land in the desert and made a house out of plastic sheet and some telephone poles dug into the earth, but one of the plastic sheets was actually a large tube and he stood it up and the difference in air pressure causes an air flow that the man harnesses with wind turbines to generate electricity and the condensation of water is collected and used, the air flow causes the area around it to cool off and then is farmed. Then somehow they attempt this in LA and it clears up the smog issue.

Another was (I don't remember the name) about a movie production that was similar to 3D but the glasses let you see it from the male or female Point of View (it was an adult movie type), anyway at the grand opening the author of the story leans up to talk to the lead actors and they have swapped the glasses.

Another was about (might have been called The Star Chamber) about a slave that was (several generations a slave) very uneducated, they were enslaved by a race that the description was that of a horse, and the humans were treated like we treat horses (ride them for transportation, working the fields), anyway there were these things the main character called 'zirds' (reminded me of a robotic bird), would fly around and would call to the humans a try to get them to free themselves, the MC would remember a nursery rhyme that was something about feeding a brown worm with a red bands to the machine at this star chamber, the MC finally gets to the Star Chamber and finds the worm and feeds it to the machine (a data tape) that causes the Star Chamber (rocket ship) to start it's prelaunch sequence and return the MC to earth.

One of the other stories was Random Sample by T.P. Caravan

I would like to buy the book to read the other stories that I wasn't able to read. I have searched, even asked about it at the school and the teacher that taught that class had left sometime ago.

Thank you for you help.

  • Checking ISFDB for all publications including "Random Sample" by T.P. Caravan gave me this: isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?74023 Judging by your description of a tan cover, it could be this anthology: isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?13496 Though I couldn't find any "Star Chamber" or "Short Stack" stories. Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 15:23
  • The "star chamber" one sounds vaguely like "The Mount", which features herbivores riding humans, but it's set on Earth.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 15:48
  • 2
    when was 'high school' - big difference between 1965 or 1997 :)
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 18:25

2 Answers 2


The story about the glasses is "Double-Take" by Winston K. Marks, which was reprinted along with "Random Sample" by T. P. Caravan (pseudonym of Charles Muñoz) in the anthology Fifty Short Science Fiction Tales edited by Isaac Asimov and Groff Conklin. It was originally published in Science Fiction Adventures, December 1953, which is available at the Internet Archive.

Paul and Gloria were still inseparable. They were addicts for the "double-takes." They were called this because our new technique consisted of filming our pictures twice: once from the point of view of the heroine, through whose eyes the lady customers enjoyed the picture, and then again through the hero's eyes. The men never saw the hero, just the heroine as he leaned over to kiss her, etc. Likewise, the ladies lived the part of the female lead. The two pictures, projected simultaneously, were separated for customers of the proper sex by the pink- and blue-rimmed polarized spectacles.

[. . . .]

Well, as I said, Paul and Gloria were two of the best customers in town for the "horrid-torrids." So I wasn't too amazed to see them sit down in front of me one night for a repeat showing of Come With Me. It was dark, and I leaned forward to make sure it was them, but they didn't notice me. I leaned forward just in time to catch them—

—Holding hands? Playing footsie or something? Sniffing heroin? No, Hedda. They were trading spectacles.

  • Huh. So it looks like it's two separate books.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 20:59

The story about the tube is "Shortstack" by Walt Richmond and Leigh Richmond.

A story of a man who designed a system to get free power and water by using temperature difference between ground and upper atmosphere. Fairly mundane story, with a ridiculous cold war angle of using a similar system for the protection of the nuclear fall out. As a sheet of plastic over cities would really matter much, or at least after the food would run out.

Searching for Walt Richmond Shortstack "Random Sample" got me this page, which mentions that they were in two separate Conklin anthologies (Elsewhere and Elsewhen and 50 Short Science Fiction Tales respectively). The same with this page.

The slaves who feed the worm is "The Silk and the Song" by Charles L. Fontenay as per this answered question. This was published in the 1972 Themes in Science Fiction: A Journey Into Wonder, which includes "Shortstack" and does have a tan and yellow cover with "Science Fiction" writ large. However, it does not have "Random Sample" and I haven't found a match for the story with the glasses.

Themes in Science Fiction: A Journey Into Wonder - Book Cover

Twinkle, twinkle, golden star,
I can reach you, though you’re far.
Shut my mouth and find my head,
find a worm that’s striped with red,
feed it to the turtle shell,
then go to sleep for all is well.

This list of stories that do appear in the book:

  1. The Last of the Romany - (1963) - short story by Norman Spinrad
  1. The Total Experience Kick - (1966) - short story by Charles Platt
  2. Shortstack - [Willy Shorts] - (1964) - novelette by Leigh Richmond and Walt Richmond
  3. Far From This Earth - (1970) - short story by Chad Oliver
  4. Maelstrom II - (1965) - short story by Arthur C. Clarke
  5. Founding Father - (1965) - short story by Isaac Asimov
  6. Holdout - (1957) - short story by Robert Sheckley
  7. The Cold Equations - (1954) - novelette by Tom Godwin
  8. The Father-Thing - (1954) - short story by Philip K. Dick
  9. The Silk and the Song - (1956) - novelette by Charles L. Fontenay
  10. Eyebem - (1970) - short story by Gene Wolfe
  11. Puppet Show - (1962) - short story by Fredric Brown
  12. Look, You Think You've Got Troubles - (1969) - short story by Carol Carr
  13. Young Girl at an Open Half-Door - (1968) - short story by Fred Saberhagen
  14. The Man Who Came Early - (1956) - novelette by Poul Anderson
  15. Soldier - (1957) - short fiction by Harlan Ellison
  16. The Good Provider - (1952) - short story by Marion Gross
  17. A Message from Charity - (1967) - short story by William M. Lee
  18. Witch War - (1951) - short story by Richard Matheson
  19. Gomez - (1954) - novelette by C. M. Kornbluth
  20. Muse - (1969) - short story by Dean R. Koontz
  21. The World of Myrion Flowers - (1961) - short story by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth
  22. X Marks the Pedwalk - (1963) - short story by Fritz Leiber
  23. EPICAC - (1950) - short story by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  24. The Last Command - [Bolo] - (1967) - short story by Keith Laumer
  25. Lost Memory - (1952) - short story by Peter Phillips
  26. The Survivor - (1965) - novelette by Walter F. Moudy
  27. The Post-Mortem People - (1966) - short story by Peter Tate
  28. The Travelin' Man - (1970) - short story by Leo P. Kelley
  29. One Love Have I - (1955) - short story by Robert F. Young
  30. Who Shall Dwell - (1962) - short story by H. C. Neal
  • @user14111: Thank you for the correction. Fixed it.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 18:23
  • 1
    That one was it, went on Amazon and ordered it, thank you
    – Adam James
    Commented Jul 14, 2017 at 20:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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