I'm looking for the title and author of a short story.

Set in the future, the main character (a man) lives in a huge city where nothing "real" grow or lives. The other people he meets are androids. His search takes him to the highest and lowest points in the city (via elevator).

Eventually he finds a park full of flowers, trees and grass etc. He's ecstatic, but when he picks a flower he discovers everything is fake. Distraught he tries to commit suicide only to discover that he too is an android.

  • This is a good start, but you could add some more details, take a look at this guide which may help you not only remember some details but add some things you wouldn't have thought were helpful.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 12:37
  • Sure sounds like Phillip K. Dick but I’m 99% sure it is not. Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 13:41
  • I've definitely read this, probably in one of the Year's Best anthologies from the '70s. Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 13:50
  • Maaaaybe Simulacron-3? It's been too long to tell.
    – Weckar E.
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 14:05
  • The same as this? scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/147848/… Commented Aug 14, 2020 at 20:03

1 Answer 1


This appears to be another question seeking "Quest" (1963) by Lee Harding. It was originally published in New Worlds Science Fiction, April 1963.

The protagonist, Harry Johnston, desperately wants to find something not made by man. I don't recall him climbing up, but he definitely goes down - 27 miles down - to the bottom of the city and finds nothing but an insulated base sitting above the core of the Earth.

He then explores, first walking, then flying an air car; finally, he finds a patch of green that turns out to be the Great Park. He find grass, trees, flowers, ants and birds, but the Caretaker only tries to send him back to his normal life. Leaving, he tries to pick a rose, only to discover the rose is fake (like everything else in the park).

At the end of the story, as he is about to be picked up by the peace officers, he despairs of ever finding something real and tries to kill himself, only to realize he isn't real either just before he is deactivated.

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