Looking for a short science fiction story which opens with a seemingly normal family-on-vacation scenario, but where any citizen has a rare random chance of being instantly painlessly killed as they insert their admission ticket to enter a recreational park - but the park is so popular with everyone in this world (? maybe the main 'entertainment' they have) that they normalize the risk as completely acceptable/inevitable. Read it maybe 40 yrs ago, possibly UK and/or woman author.

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1 Answer 1


This sounds like "Spending the Day at the Lottery Fair" as per Title of dystopian story set in an amusement park

"Spending a Day at the Lottery Fair", a short story by Frederik Pohl; first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1983, available at the Internet Archive.

Of course it wasn't like that for the regular American fairgoers. They had to pay. You could see each family group moving up toward the ticket windows. They would slow down as they got closer and finally stop, huddling together while they decided how to pay, and then one or two of them, or all of them, would move on to the window and reach into the admissions cuff for their tickets. Randolph Baxter had long before made up his mind that there would be no such wrangles on this day for his family. He said simply, "Wait here a minute," and strode up to the window by himself. He put his arm into the cuff, smiled at the ticket attendant and said grandly, "I'll take five, please."

[, , , ,]

"Yes, exactly. Of course, one takes a small chance at every ticket window, and in that sense there is a price for everything. A very carefully computed price, Mrs. Millay, for every hot dog, every show, every ride. To get into the fair in the first place, for instance, costs one decimill — that's 1% of a .0001 probability of receiving a lethal injection from the ticket cuff. Now, that's not much of a risk, is it?" he smiled. "And of course it's absolutely painless, too. As you can see by just looking at the ones who have given their lives inside."


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