I'm looking for a short science fiction story I read a long time ago. I don't remember the title, author, book, or anything else about it, except it was about a couple having an argument, and the woman left their house and was killed in a car accident. Throughout the story, things move backwards to the moment she left and the man stops her from leaving and she doesn't die.

It's all jumbled up in memory, because I read it so long ago, but if anyone knows what this story is or what it might be, that would be really helpful. I've been searching for it for ages and haven't been able to find anything about it. I think it began with the sentence, "The man undrank his drink," or something of that sort.

  • 2
    There isn't much to go on here. I'd recommend taking a tour of the site, and also reading the meta post on How to ask a good story identification question... To start, when did you read the book? Was it a new or an old book? Was it a young adult book? Any other details you can remember.
    – onewho
    Oct 30, 2018 at 23:21
  • it's totally not the answer, but the album "The Broken Bride" by Ludo instantly came to mind. The intention at the start matches the story in the question quite well. Things go awry however, and while it does circle round, the eventual outcome ends up different.
    – Baldrickk
    Oct 31, 2018 at 13:16
  • It's not a book (and thus obviously not what you're looking for), but this reminds me of the Neymarc Brothers' "Happy Valentine’s Day", which I can recommend if you'd enjoy a short (5 minute) video telling a somewhat similar story.
    – Cornstalks
    Oct 31, 2018 at 14:22

2 Answers 2


Could this be Divine Madness by Roger Zelazny (part of the Trips in Time anthology of time travel stories)?

His thoughts only were inviolate, his body belonged to the re-treating tide.

Eventually, he rose and strolled backwards out of the park.
On the street a boy backed past him, unwhistling snatches of a popular song.

He backed up the stairs to his apartment, his hangover growing worse again, undrank his coffee, unshowered, unswallowed his aspirins, and got into bed, feeling awful.

Let this be it, he decided.

A faintly remembered nightmare ran in reverse through his mind, giving it an undeserved happy ending.


If it is not the Zelazny story (which it probably is), this might be "25 Crunch, Split Right on Two" by George Alec Effinger from his collection of sports science fiction stories Idle Pleasures (1983), and previously published in another collection Imaginary Numbers. The plot is summarized here as:

[A] NFL player named Eldon MacDay discovers that the most severe blows of his opponents trigger lucid memories of his wife. Physical pain allows him to relive his past. And of course, it takes a profound toll on his body and mind.

There is more to it than that, though. When he is knocked unconscious during practice, MacDay travels back to night his wife ran out and was struck by a car. However, if he is knocked out during a game, he realizes that he can actually change what happened that fateful night. So in when he is running the ball, he tries to get tackled harder and harder by the opposing players—to give himself more time knocked out, and thus more time to try to save his wife.

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.