This story has stayed with me for a long time.

Published in a 1970s (possibly '60s) issue of F&SF.

Post-apocalypse setting -- no devastation described, but people live in low-tech hunter-gatherer tribes. Protagonist is a hunter. In a time of need, when no other game can be found, he does what his father did before him: secretly goes to an old high-tech facility, holding pre-disaster humans frozen in individual cases (probably some kind of cryo-preservation, although our hero obviously doesn't know this). He breaks open a capsule, butchers the person inside until the meat is no longer recognizable as human, and brings it back to the tribe.

The story ends when he unpacks his leather bag of meat and a human hand tumbles out.

1 Answer 1


Found it!

The story is "A Rag, A Bone", published in the August 1971 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, by Patrick Meadows 1 2. It appears from here that he died in 2017.

The story's just as I described it. (I was certain I'd gotten rid of those magazines, but I checked one last time. . . .)

  • 1
    Don't forget to self-accept.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 19, 2019 at 20:08
  • The story is available (scans of the original publication) on the author's website.
    – DavidW
    Nov 19, 2019 at 20:11
  • @DavidW: sweet! Thank you. FuzzyBoots --- thought I'd give it a little longer.
    – eac2222
    Nov 19, 2019 at 20:13

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