The book was probably printed in the early 90s when I was a child reading science fiction. I think it was largely about space sci-fi, but the one story that I remember clearly was called "Soft." It was about a future where some virus has infected the population that causes people's bones to suddenly and spontaneously go soft. A character is watching the news when the newscaster suddenly goes soft and they find the moment to be grotesquely hilarious.

I believe there was also a story about a person in an insane asylum who thought the whole world revolved around them. The reveal at the end was that he was being observed because he'd figured out the truth (that it was).

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    Kudos to both Vanguard3000 and Lucas Thelen. The correct author and links provided led me to the collection I had as a kid: Between Time and Terror. Thanks! Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 21:38
  • FWIW, the second story in mentioned in the question is They by Robert Heinlein.
    – Kryten
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 22:02

2 Answers 2


"Soft" by F. Paul Wilson

Can be found in a number of horror fantasy anthologies, including Masques and Soft and Others. See the link above for a full list of places the story has been published.

I was lying on the floor watching TV and exercising what was left of my legs when the newscaster’s jaw collapsed. He was right in the middle of the usual plea for anybody who thought they were immune to come to Rockefeller Center when—pflumpf!—the bottom of his face went soft. I burst out laughing.

Can be read in full at Nightmare Magazine.


I think I've found a couple options for your mysterious collection. If this was Soft by F. Paul Wilson, it was in Masques: All New Works of Horror and the Supernatural. This was printed a little earlier, in 1984, and seems to be mostly horror.

Another collection titled Soft and Others: 16 Stories of Wonder and Dread was also published, in 1990, and also appears to be focused on horror by the same author.

Both of these are largely horror collections, as stated, however this and your other story(which I couldn't find a match for), seem perfect for these collections.

Both of these books are readily available online or used.

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