I can't remember this book of short sci-fi stories.

The first of the two stories I remember is about a man who meets his friends and says that he is responsible for killing off the human species. He says that he travelled into the future and saw what humans finally evolved to - just a head and brain with a stump for the rest of the body. For some reason he kills off the final living one, thus ending the human race.

The other story I remember is about a kid who wants to know what happens during fast space travel. He and his family are in a spaceship, much like our current airplanes, where people have to be sedated during the flight. He fakes taking the pill and goes mad when he experiences the flight, or something like that.

  • Are you sure they were in the same book?
    – user14111
    Commented Feb 14, 2021 at 18:33

2 Answers 2


The first story sounds like "Alas, All Thinking" (1935) by Harry Bates. The plot is as you describe. The story takes the form of a report, and the main character makes his announcement a few pages in:

He answered cryptically, bubblingly, enjoying our puzzlement with every word.

"Because Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. Because thought is withering, and sensation sweet. Because I've recovered my sense of humor. Because 'why' is a dangerous word, and makes people unhappy. Because I have had a glimpse of the most horrible cerebral future. Yes!" He laughed, paused for a moment, then said in a lower voice with dramatic impressiveness, "Would you believe it? I have terminated the genus Homo Sapiens."

The main character describes his first encounter with one of the adult future humans:

"I saw a man; or some kind of a man. He sat right in front of me, nude from the waist up, and covered as the floor was covered from the waist down. How shall I adequately describe him!

"He was in some ways like an unwrapped mummy, except that a fallen-in mummy presents a fairly respectable appearance. And then he was something like a spider--a spider with only three legs. And again, looking quickly, he was all one gigantic head, or at least a great mass on whose parchment surface appeared a little round two-holed knoll where the nose customarily is, lidded caverns where the eyes belong, small craters where the ears commonly are, and, on the underside, a horrible, wrinkled half-inch slit, below which more parchment backed almost horizontally to a three-inch striated and, in places, bumpy pipe.

"By not the slightest movement of any kind did the monster show he knew I was there. He sat on a high dais; his arms were only bones converging downward; his body, only half the usual thickness, showed every rib and even, I think, the front side of some of his vertebrae; and his pipe of a neck, unable alone to support his head, gave most of that job to two curved metal pieces that came out of the wall..."

The story is available to read online in the context of its original publication at the Internet Archive. An illustration on the page preceding the start of the story may be familiar.

ISFDB does not seem to have any entry for a collection containing both this story and Stephen King's "The Jaunt" (1981), which I agree is the second one that you describe above. You probably recall that story's memorable ending:

The thing that had been his son bounced and writhed on its Jaunt couch, a twelve-year-old boy with a snow-white fall of hair and eyes which were incredibly ancient, the corneas gone a sickly yellow. Here was a creature older than time masquerading as a boy; and yet it bounced and writhed with a kind of horrid, obscene glee, and at its choked, lunatic cackles the Jaunt attendants drew back in terror...

"Longer than you think, Dad!" it cackled. "Longer than you think! Held my breath when they gave me the gas! Wanted to see! I saw! I saw! Longer than you think!"


The second story is The Jaunt, by Stephen King. https://scifi.stackexchange.com/a/37420/107871

  • 5
    Providing some more details from the link would be helpful. This puts the relevant information in one place and doesn't require the OP to click through to another link. (Even if it is on the same site)
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Feb 14, 2021 at 8:55

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