A man awakes from suspended animation in a future world populated by 8-year olds. For some reason Brian Stableford springs to mind. Read in the past. Possibly in a short-story collection by the same author.

  • 11
    But when in the past? Please be more specific as to when you think this was written, what language it was in, etc. We just need a little more specifics to help you. Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 0:36
  • Can't remember when in the past and it was written in English.
    – user149512
    Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 0:43
  • 8
    @Roysto Kind of ball park how long ago it was.... A few years, 20 years, 50 years?
    – NJohnny
    Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 0:58
  • 1
    Maybe over 30 years ago.
    – user149512
    Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 16:57
  • 4
    "Read in the past" made me wonder what the alternatives were...
    – TonyK
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 18:13

2 Answers 2


Sounds like "Children of the State" by Larry Niven, originally published in the September 1976 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction, and later the last section of his novel World Out of Time.

In the novel, the protagonist, after 200 years of suspended animation and then a three million year journey (aided by suspended animation and relativistic effects), returns to Earth. "Children of the State" is about what he finds there.

As summarized in Wikipedia,

the human species has fragmented; it is dominated by a race of immortal, permanently pre-adolescent males (the Boys), who are created by advanced medical techniques. Some time in the past, they had defeated the equally immortal (though now extinct) Girls, in the ultimate war of the sexes. The Boys have enslaved the dikta, who are unmodified humans (though they have evolved somewhat), from whom they take boys to replenish their ranks.

It also has cute furry cats that are shaped like snakes.

  • Sounds like a good story for me to read. But alas, I don't think it's the one I'm looking for.
    – user149512
    Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 0:45

This is "And He Not Busy Being Born ..." by Brian Stableford.

The story first appeared in Interzone #16, the Summer 1986 issue.

It was reprinted in Interzone: The 2nd Anthology which can be borrowed from the Internet Archive.

It was also reprinted in Sexual Chemistry: Sardonic Tales of the Genetic Revolution, a collection of short stories by Brian Stableford which may be where you read it.

The annotation from this page about the story states:

Eutopian/dystopian society of the future. Virtually immortal people remain children physically, know no difficulties. Story is about a man from the past who is revived.

Here is a brief snippet from toward the end of the story:

The facts of the matter were straightforward. He was in a world where no one died unless he or she chose to do so. Disease and aging were completely conquered, and the probability of fatal accidents had been reduced by technological ingenuity to zero. Minor wounds could be healed by tissue-regeneration, even to the replacement of lost limbs or smashed organs. Violence and aggression no longer figured in the repertoire of human behaviour. The world was at peace, and it was paradise.

No one was born into the world any longer, although the technology existed to clone individuals from single cells, developing the embryos in artificial wombs. All who were alive in this world had been shaped to an ideal of physical perfection by genetic engineers. The development of their bodies had been arrested at that point when the forces of growth held the forces of decay exactly in check, and everyone in the world appeared to Adam’s eyes to be nine years old. The world was without puberty and without sexual intercourse. Such pleasures of bodily contact as there were required neither arousal nor orgasm.

  • Heh, that reminds me of developmental researcher Alison Gopnik saying that the pinnacle of human rationality is the 9 year-old child. Sounds like Brian Stableford was onto something!
    – Oosaka
    Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 16:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.