I remember a few of the stories, not in great detail, and somewhat strange to explain in detail. The book was missing the protective cover, which left it burgundy or navy blue. It was a book the size of a good dictionary. Said it had short stories. So I read them. Its name did prepare my mind to be open to the fictional worlds imagined in the short stories.

  • One of the short stories was about time travel. I remember it taking place in a single room. A man. The color brown is prominent in my memory. Perhaps dimly lit. A hat. A top hat. Not a sad man, but I remember he felt like Dr Who is portrayed as feeling. That's all I remember.
  • Another story in the book was about human spirit, or soul attaching to aliens that had long limbs. Like an upturned spider? The process of attaching to one was painful. But one could not live without the other. The alien bodies allowed humans to survive in space. Once attached and wandering space, the beings would be lucky to ever see another one. Maybe something about birth, and that experience?
  • Another story was about people that had smooth faces. Men's faces had evolved away from the primitive deep brow and chiseled jaw line to be more feminine in structure. Signaling our evolution twards being smarter. Less caveman like. I feel like the group was maybe exploring a new world, primitive, with plants that were dangerous? Or a crashed ship?
  • Another story in the same book was about living after dying. It was a choice? It went into great detail about the emotions involved in being dead. The dead were kind of snobby? They gave up pleasures of the living, like food. Or the feel of fabric? I remember the character of the story getting to travel to Africa? Perhaps the deads were treated differently? I remember the characters, or the deads, as feeling like they were at a higher existence then the living. Better then the warms? Perhaps is what they called them.

I read the book in Texas in a garage, in 2015. But I believe it to have been written in the 60s 70s or 80s. I have been trying to find these short stories for years. I'm excited to have found this place where I can ask the many. Thank you for any help.

  • I hope the answer posted below is what you were looking for. If so, you can "accept" the answer by clicking on the check mark next to it.
    – user14111
    May 6, 2019 at 9:59

1 Answer 1


The 4th story is "Born with the Dead", a 1974 novella by Robert Silverberg, which was the (unaccepted) answer to this old question. It was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1974, which is available at the Internet Archive. Here's a description from Majipoor.com:

In the 1990s, doctors have discovered how to rekindle dead people, re-animating the bodies and minds. But the deads are different, aloof, unconcerned with the matters of warms — those still alive — and mostly keep to the Cold Towns. Jorge Klein finds that he cannot let go of his dead wife Sybille, and seeks her out obsessively, following her around the globe. This is just not done, but Jorge can't stop himself.

One interesting scene involves an African preserve set aside for vacationing deads, where they must leave the native animals alone and hunt instead genetically recreated extinct species — aurochs, ground sloth, quagga, passenger pigeon, dodo. Many aspects of the situation are explored, including the attitudes people of different cultures have towards death.

The 2nd story might be "Equinoctial", a 1977 novella by John Varley, which was the answer to this old question. It's part of Varley's Eight Worlds series, which has a Wikipedia page. It's not just a human soul, but a whole human body is encased in a nonhuman "Symb", and can then live in space. (The story is set in the rings of Saturn.) And female humans do give birth in space:

To gain enough useful mass to produce one baby, a Symb-human pair had to ingest almost a thousand kilograms of rock and ice. Only a tiny fraction of it was the chemicals needed to produce a baby. Then, to convert the mass to useful form, energy was required. The pair had to spend long hours in the sunlight.

The book containing the two aforementioned stories (well, the only one known to the ISFDB, which doesn't know everything) is The Arbor House Treasury of Great Science Fiction Short Novels, a hefty (x+768 pages) hardcover anthology edited by Robert Silverberg and Martin H. Greenberg, first published in 1980. (A 1989 edition was titled Worlds Imagined.) I try to find matches for your other two stories in this Arbor House Treasury.

The 3rd story seems to be "The Golden Helix", a 1954 novella by Theodore Sturgeon, also the answer to this old question; first published in Thrilling Wonder Stories, Summer 1954, available at the Internet Archive. Human space travelers are hijacked by powerful aliens and marooned on a green planet (the humans name it Viridis) with dangerous wildlife. These are evolved future humans, less hairy and angular than us, and multiple births are the norm with them:

"I always thought it was a silly kind of joke anyway," she said primly. "Judging virility by the size of a brood. There isn't any scientific basis for it. Men are silly. They used to think that virility could be measured by the amount of hair on their chests, or how tall they were. There's nothing wrong with having only three."

"Carl?" grinned Tod. "That big 'ol swashbuckler?" He let the grin fade. "All right, Ape, I won't let Carl see me laugh. Or you either. All right?" A peculiar expression crossed his face. "What was that you said? April! Men never had hair on their chests!"

"Yes they did. Ask Teague."

"I'll take your word for it." He shuddered. "I can't imagine it unless a man had a tail too. And bony ridges over his eyes."

"It wasn't so long ago that they had. The ridges anyway. Well—I'm glad you didn't laugh in front of him. You're nice, Tod.

The 1st story could just possibly be "By His Bootstraps", a 1941 novella by Robert A. Heinlein which was the answer to this old question; originally published (as by Anson MacDonald) in Astounding Science-Fiction, October 1941, available at the Internet Archive. It is a time-travel story, but I can't say that your description matches my recollection of the story very well.

At least, there is a hat in the story. From the Wikipedia plot summary:

Bob Wilson locks himself in his room to finish his graduate thesis on a mathematical aspect of metaphysics, using the concept of time travel as a case in point. Someone says, "Don't bother with it. It's a lot of utter hogwash anyhow." The interloper, who looks strangely familiar, calls himself "Joe" and explains that he has come from the future through a Time Gate, a circle about 6 ft (1.8 m) in diameter in the air behind Joe. Joe tells Bob that great opportunities await him through the Gate and thousands of years in his future. By way of demonstration, Joe tosses Bob's hat into the Gate. It disappears.


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.