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In this short story, probably from the late 70's/early 80's, an astronaut ejects from his ship in a specially designed suit with a computer and life support that keeps him alive, though basically immobile in the suit, his entire remaining life which he lives traveling through the void of space. The computer ends up cloning him after he dies -- not sure about the rest of the story.

Does anyone know the name, author, and book of short stories that this story appeared in?

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  • Hi there, and welcome to SFF.SE :) I've taken the liberty to edit your title, in order to make it more explicit. Feel free to edit it again, of course! As for your answer, maybe you could add more details based on this guide? EDIT: given that I don't have the edit privilege, it could take some time to be peer reviewed and accepted. The guide part of this comment still works though :)
    – Jenayah
    May 13, 2018 at 22:28
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    I found a story-id question from 2016 that I think is the same as mine: "Sci-fi story from late 90's or early 2000's collection book that was about a starship survivor who is ejected in a lifepod only big enough for himself that has an AI that keeps him in a matrix-like reality as it drifts eons through space. The story ends with the machine AI landing on a planet with the bio-remains of the survivor, long dead, which the machine has altered through accelerated evolution to create beings that somewhat resemble the long gone spaceship survivor. This was part of a collection of stories."
    – dsl
    May 13, 2018 at 22:41
  • This one; scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/148369/…
    – Valorum
    May 13, 2018 at 22:45
  • Was the ejection voluntary? That is, did he want to eject and explore the cosmos, or was this more of a case of an emergency ejection that left him effectively marooned in space? May 14, 2018 at 1:30
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    @scruss ditto my last comment although in this case it is somewhat unclear what should be done. As the user believes the linked duplicate to be the same question but suggested so at a time before there were any answers so we can't be certain.
    – Edlothiad
    May 18, 2022 at 15:02

1 Answer 1

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Maybe Coffins by Robert Reed (1992)? Anthologized in The Best from Fantasy & Science Fiction A 45th Anniversary Anthology (1994, Ferman & Rusch, eds.), pp.153-164.

Excerpt:

A little short of his thousandth birthday, he dies. And the griefless computer watches the peaceful failure of organs and the ancient brain. It’s done its primary job as well as possible; it contemplates the silence within and without. But life persists even now. Bacteria begin to feed on the corpse, harvesting its latent energies. Dozens of species thrive, and the computer consciously helps them with warmth and oxygen. Dead tissues become a living goo. The entire body is eradicated, bones dissolving and then the hard white teeth. The goo is fed sugars and amino acids made by the recyke systems. The computer uses its autodoc needles to ensure fair shares to everyone. And it learns as it works, discovering which species prefer which treats, then moving on with the man’s strange, patient plan.

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