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I just want to say thank you in advance to anyone with any leads; this mystery has been plaguing me for years.

In grade school, somewhere in the 7-8 grade zone so about six, seven years back, my teacher had this bookshelf in the class that was pretty much a mix of books that I assume were only found together because they were cheap.

The book I'm trying to find was this old paperback, warm-tone cover (if I'm remembering correctly; I think it had a face on it, or an implication of a face, but that's a bit foggy) in the kind of illustrations that a collection of short fiction got in like the 80-90s, which I assume is because it was a collection of short fiction published in the 80-90s. It was either horror, sci-fi, or a mixture of both with a few variables thrown in overall.

Within this book was a short story about Laika, and not the one that comes up when you Google it normally, if my memory is correct. And I hope I am, because otherwise I've been recalling a book that doesn't exist for seven years. I can't remember the title of the book because it's so generic, just [genre] Collection or a forgettable noun, and the Laika part was such a small part.

The very clear details I can recall is it was a small crew on a spaceship, iirc two men, who have their spaceship haunted by Laika's ghost because the pod got stuck in one of their tail spurs or fins or whatever when they were leaving orbit, and when they find out that's what was causing the haunting, they bury the body on a planet that's all grassy and meadowy. I found it more a sad story than a horror one; if horror was the overall genre, it was probably just included for the ghost part.

I don't remember much of the other stories; I can remember things I read about the same time, but I truly don't know if they were a part of the same book. One was the classic 'eating KFC and finding a fried rat / unexpected chicken part / etc' story; another was something about a man living alone(?) with a blizzard outside, or something people assumed to be a blizzard, but it burned at you and/or ate you alive - I can't remember enough to be sure if it was alien or not.

It's a tall order for such a short story, but hopefully maybe someone else at least remembers it so I don't feel like I'm chasing a dream? Thanks a bundle.

  • It seems to be a bit out of time, and I cannot find publication dates for earlier copies, but it almost could be Laika's Ghost, by Karl Schroeder Most recently reprinted in Clarkesworld Jan 2015.. – Gypsy Spellweaver May 2 '18 at 2:37
  • If it is Laika's Ghost, it's been published in a number of anthologies since 2010 isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?1207900. Any one of those could be the answer. – Moriarty May 2 '18 at 3:49
  • I'm tempted to answer with "Package for Another World" by Jemal Sarah, collected in "Path of Ghosts" (1994), based on Google search, but I can't find enough about it to be at all sure. – Mithrandir May 2 '18 at 4:39
  • @Moriarty That would fit within the time frame given by the OP of six or seven years back for when it was read, but not into the 80-90s for the publishing time. Then again, in an anthology one story could be from 1950 and another from 2015. – Gypsy Spellweaver May 2 '18 at 7:25
  • It wasn't Laika's Ghost; it was almost entirely if not entirely in space, with Laika / the haunting itself being the major focus. Laika's Ghost is the only story I've been able to find when searching, seeing as its relatively well-known. I get the feeling the book I'm looking for wasn't exactly the top authors at the time. – canonkiller May 2 '18 at 12:51

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