I vaguely remember this book from about 20 years ago, it may have been a short story, but I think it was a book.

I don't remember much about it. I'm fairly certain that a man awakens or emerges and finds there is nobody left. I have an impression of snow but that's not definite. He is searching and pretty sure he finds this computer terminal which boots up like it has been a very long time, starts searches and diagnostics and history. Lots of code-like text in the book from the terminal which is why I put it down initially.

  • It kinda makes me think of this question I once asked scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/45582/…
    – Danny Mc G
    Mar 26, 2019 at 3:10
  • 1
    That certainly sounds like a weird story :) but it wasn't this one.
    – Moldavus
    Apr 3, 2019 at 19:19
  • Do you happen to recall anything about the truth that the man discovers at the computer terminal?
    – user14111
    Apr 3, 2019 at 21:48
  • I don't remember much about that, just that what is revealed starts off like a long time had passed, or not used for a long time, the terminal commented on that. It was also taking time to boot up, long unused systems. Then I think it went into about what had happened but I didn't read that far.
    – Moldavus
    Apr 4, 2019 at 22:40

2 Answers 2


Portal: A Dataspace Retrieval?

From Google Books:

Originally published as an interactive novel on computer disk in 1986, "Portal is the story of an astronaut who returns to earth from a mysteriously aborted mission prematurely awakened from suspended animation. One hundred years have passed; animals and plants thrive, cities stand intact. Every human being, however, has disappeared. With the help of a slowly reviving computer network, the astronaut begins to piece together the events of the last century. He learns of the child prodigy Peter Devore, of a world orchestrated by stunning new technologies, and of Peter's race against time to unlock the secrets of the Portal.

A free CC-licensed ebook version is available here.

  • Hey! I think it might well be this one, never thought anyone would come up with it from such a basic description, good job!
    – Moldavus
    Apr 8, 2019 at 22:37

Almost surely it is not the story you're searching for, but you could give a look to When sysadmins ruled the Earth.

It is a short post-apocalyptic story where

After a series of terroristic acts with chemical weapons almost all the mankind is wiped away and only the system administrators could survive (because they were working in rooms where the air is filtered), so they remain inside the server rooms and talk by hyperterminal with the other system administrators that had benn able to survive all around the world...

So this story features survivors (even if they're a group rather than a single individual) and some conversations in a hyperterminal-like style. The protagonist doesn't emerge, but he wakes up to go to work in the server room of his firm (just in time to avoid the terroristic attacks)

  • 2
    That's a serious situation, but the overall premise is hilarious. After all......to the sysadmin, uptime is all that matters. Forget that the world is gone. :D Apr 4, 2019 at 18:27
  • 1
    Curious short story! As predicted, not the one I was looking for, thanks :)
    – Moldavus
    Apr 4, 2019 at 22:34

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.