I remember two parts of the story in question:

  • the protagonist was temporarily liquefied and expanded enough to fill a swimming pool while his cells underwent some kind of cleaning or surveillance
  • afterwards, when the protagonist plucked his eyelashes they would give a kind of static or electric "pop"; if I remember correctly he did this to pass the time

The likeliest place for me to have read this would be in an issue of Asimov's magazine in the early to mid-90s (and second-likeliest would have been a "best science fiction short stories" anthology from the same timeframe).

Thanks to the answers to my last question I knew to first search for [story-identification] swimming pool and [story-identification] eyelash but didn't find any likely results. :)

  • Something like this happened in Sheri S. Tepper's late 1990's novel Six Moon Dance.
    – Spencer
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 21:33
  • @Spencer - So post it as an answer then!
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 21:35
  • 2
    @Spencer - OP is invariably wrong about everything. Post it and be damned if you think it's a reasonable fit.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 21:38
  • 2
    @DannyMcG what's weird about it? I'd have a unibrow otherwise :P
    – Beau
    Commented Oct 18, 2019 at 1:40
  • 1
    Comment because I do not know title - I have read this as both a short story in Asimov's or a standalone novel. Title similar to "It was the best of times". Protagonist was a Christmas/party-box-wrapper artist who fell in love with a politician who became President. Home Guard or political party wanted control over the President, so they used crime-fighting genetic slugs to accuse the protagonist of being a major criminal. After his body was put into pool and back, the protagonist was "seared", i.e., made non-immortal (parts self-immolate). He volunteered to go to Mars as punishment.
    – jhpace1
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


The story is "We Were Out of Our Minds with Joy", by David Marusek, published in Asimov's November 1995 issue, and readable here in the Internet Archive.

It was also expanded on and published as a book (as jhpace1 mentioned in his comment) as Counting Heads.

Re: cellular disassembly in a swimming pool:

“Any one of those conditions gave them the authority they needed. They didn’t have the patience to read you slow and gentle like, so they pumped you so full of smartactives you filled a swimming pool.”

Re: eyelashes (actually eyebrows):

So I spend my days sitting in the dim dampness of my basement corner, growing pasty white and fat (twenty pounds already), and plucking my eyebrows to watch them sizzle like fuses.

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.