I am pretty sure I read this short story in an American magazine in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The time is the future, when an extremely realistic 3-D movie system has come into use. It has revolutionized entertainment, but there is a catch: the 3-D cameras project a type of lethal radiation that is cumulative and eventually fatal - to be a 3-D star is a death sentence.

The story is told from the POV of a member of the 3-D industry, who describes how two young people (a man and a woman) are so desperate for fame they voluntarily become 3-D stars and eventually pay the price. The story ends with their last film being previewed in front of a live audience. One of the stars has died and the other has terminal radiation burns (can't remember which one). The dying star crawls out onto the 3-D stage, confusing the audience; they weren't expecting a horror story. When they finally realize what is happening there is pandemonium.

1 Answer 1


Could it be Good Night, Sophie by Lino Aldani?

May of the details are the same but it's not an exact match to your description. Translated into English by L.K Conrad in 1973, it tells the story of an actress working in the hyper-realistic 3-D movie system called 'Oneirofilm'. The actress, Sophie Barlow, is a world famous star of this new medium but becomes disillusioned with the industry and concerned about the effect of these immersive films are having on society. While contemplating leaving the industry, Sophie is involved in a plane crash where her and the handsome pilot become stranded in the Grand Canyon. At the end of the story it is revealed the the flight and the pilot were actually a new, even more realistic, form of the Oneirofilm being experienced by Sophie herself, given to her as a gift by her manager.

The story is similar in that it deals with a 3-D film system and is narrated by a performer in the industry who becomes disillusioned. However, it does not include the radiation element or the graphic reveal of the poisoned actor.

  • Thanks for the answer, but it is not the right story. The story you describe has a number of similarities to the one I am looking for (and I now wonder which one came first). However, the deadly radiation and the final scene are very vivid in my mind. Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 0:10

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