The preteen boy, who has lived his whole life on a spaceship, discovers that food is delivered to a hidden door and that the journey is research.

  • Welcome to the site. Please take a look at this post and see if you can think of any more details to flesh out this description a bit. For example, knowing when you read this story, in what format (anthology book/magazine/online), and when you think it might've been published would be very helpful. The more information you can give us, the better the odds of us finding this story for you. – LogicDictates Jun 24 at 23:31
  • 1
    If the question has been answered to your satisfaction, you can "accept" an answer by clicking on the check mark next to it. – user14111 Jun 25 at 1:20
  • 6
    This is also similar in premise to the Syfy miniseries "Ascension" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascension_(miniseries) – towe Jun 25 at 11:43
  • 1
    Definitely not the answer, but the premise reminds me of Space Cadets, a reality TV show where participants were tricked into believing they had been to space. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Cadets_(TV_series) – AJFaraday Jun 25 at 12:41
  • possibly the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/33812/… – Otis Jun 25 at 16:44

This sounds very much like "Thirteen to Centaurus", a classic short story by J.G. Ballard, first published in April 1972 in Amazing Stories.

The story takes place in a mysterious living environment simply called "The Station", which holds a crew of 13, including the protagonist of the story, Abel, who assume they are living on a space station. Abel suffers from recurring nightmares as he approaches his 16th birthday, which lead the doctor to reveal to him that the Station is a generational starship travelling to Alpha Centauri. In fact this is a lie; the doctor is part of a team observing the effect of isolation on such a trip, and the Station is in fact a dome on Earth.

Abel indeed sees food being delivered from outside though a hole in the outer dome, and the hypnotic conditioning he is subject to begins to break down. In the end he becomes the de facto captain of the crew.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.