A very short story from an anthology. As usual read 79s/80s, in English.

A man discovers he has some kind of tape player in his chest with a reel of tape. He fiddles with it, perhaps rewinding it and experiences the same few minutes again.

Curious, he tries cutting a bit out of the tape and splicing it. He jumps forward in time. Finally he cuts the tape and leaves the end to run through the mechanism.

Reality ends.

  • Dang, I've read this one. It's not magnetic tape. It's similar to punched paper tape, with a pattern of holes in it...
    – nebogipfel
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 18:55
  • 1
    The Electric Ant by Philip K Dick. Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 19:00
  • I was typing in my answer while you were making that comment... There are several previous questions answered by this story.
    – nebogipfel
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 19:01
  • I'm voting to close as duplicate with an accepted answer that matches another question exactly. @PotatoCrisp that's nothing against your question, it just means someone else asked a similar question looking for the same story before.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 19:18

1 Answer 1


This is The Electric Ant (1969) by Philip K. Dick.

"He wants to kill himself and realizes that he can do this by accessing his chest panel and cutting off his reality tape that controls his memory and consciousness. He later has a better idea. His subjective reality is controlled by that tape. Perhaps he can learn how to manipulate it to control his world. As an experiment he covered up some hole on a part of the tape that will be experienced in around six hours."

  • Yes, that's it. I remember now there was a scene in a bar. Thanks. Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 19:14

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