In a short story, a man suffers traumas and setbacks -- a car accident, death of family members -- and becomes obsessed with the idea that he was sent from another planet to live out a life on Earth as punishment for his sins.

Then he dies, and wakes up to find that he was indeed sent to live out a life on Earth, but that other planet is a place of misery, and his life on Earth -- imperfect, but still good enough in its own right, and much better than life on the hell-planet -- was an exceptional award for his virtue.

I read the story maybe 20 or 30 years ago. I do not remember what magazine or book.

What was that story?

  • 2
    Dammit! I knew there was something odd going on with my life
    – Danny Mc G
    Aug 16, 2021 at 20:08
  • Sounds like something Robert Sheckley might have written. Aug 17, 2021 at 1:33
  • Sounds like a Harlan Ellison story, title escapes me though. Aug 18, 2021 at 5:20

1 Answer 1


I think this is Strange Wine by Ellison (someone just identified it for me) Man committing suicide wakes to find that Earth is an alien simulation of a perfect world

  • You could improve this answer by editing it to explain why you think this is the correct story, i.e. the ways in which it matches the one described in the question. Feb 7 at 22:20

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