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I'm looking for the name of a short story I read about 20 years ago, I read this as a translation in a magazine, I sadly have no idea how it was originally published. In which the protagonist, a microbiologist or some other sort of lab worker is "prophesied" to drop a sample of pathogens, causing a wide spread epidemic.

Facing an inability to go against this foreknowledge, the scientist throws the pathogenic sample in frustration, as per the prophesy. In the world of the story certain and accurate knowledge of the future is possible. If memory serves this is construded as a "science fictional " rather than a fantastic element, but no "technobabble" is supplied, if I remember correctly.

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  • Could you details what exactly is science-fictional or fantastical about this story? As for now the plot seems to be perfectly feasible in the current world any time in the past 100 years.
    – Edlothiad
    Aug 23, 2018 at 7:29
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    In the world of the story certain and accurate knowledge of the future is possible. If memory serves this is construded as a "science fictional " rather than a fantastic element, but no "technobabble" is supplied, if I remember correctly. Aug 23, 2018 at 7:40
  • Ah I understand, it's not just a "prophecy" in the pseudo-voodoo sense. Cool.
    – Edlothiad
    Aug 23, 2018 at 7:46
  • User14111 - I read this as a translation in a magazine, I sadly have no idea how it was originally published. Aug 23, 2018 at 7:50
  • About 20 years ago. Aug 23, 2018 at 8:01

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A bit of a long shot, but could this be one of the stories in either Machine of Death (2010) or its sequel This Is How You Die (2013), comprising the Death Machine series?

In these collections of short stories, the existence of a "death machine" is assumed, which will accurately although cryptically predict the manner of your death. For instance, "AIRPLANE" can mean dying in a plane crash, or being run over by one at an airport, or possibly choking on a toy plane.

I have only read a single story from one of the books. However, the scientific and accurate prediction did ring a bell. The timing would be a bit off, too, since the first book was published in 2010.

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  • Thanks for the answer, but that's not it. I read the story ~20 years ago. Aug 23, 2018 at 12:03

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