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Who can identify this collection of sci-fi (or spec-fi) short stories that I read (in Britain) in the late '80s or early '90s?

One story was about a rock singer called "Masked Granny". She was apparently an old woman in a mask, who refused to take off the mask, and got violent if anybody tried. She started a fashion trend where children wanted to be old, and would go out to get their spines bent ("the Bender"), or perhaps to get wrinkles in their skin, etc. The story mentioned other music fads that had come and gone, such as "monotone" (where they only played the same note repeatedly).

Another story (I think in the same book) involved a young person who was recruited to be in a TV advertisement for a product. He/she got an eerie feeling from the television camera, like hypnosis, and was gradually "hypnotised" by the camera, and by the end of the story had become insane.

I very vaguely recall that one other story may have involved an animal in a zoo.

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  • Also: again, not certain it was the same book, but I think so: there was a boy who found out that his mirror reflection was "evil", and he had to avoid mirrors to prevent getting sucked in and stuck there. (If he touched his mirror reflection then he would be pulled inside and they would "switch over", letting the mirror-boy into the real world.) The story ended with him diving into a pool and realising, too late, that he was about to touch his reflection in the water.
    – equin0x80
    Commented May 17, 2022 at 1:01
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    These have a feel about them like Nicholas Fisk's writing. Most of his writing is full-length books, but he wrote some short stories. Have a look on fantasticfiction.com.
    – sueelleker
    Commented May 17, 2022 at 8:00
  • Yes, I didn't make the association, but I read (and enjoyed) a lot of Fisk stuff, so that's possible...
    – equin0x80
    Commented May 20, 2022 at 3:37
  • (I hope some day somebody will publish a complete Fisk collection, since he's dead now... but I suspect he's a bit too obscure, or "childish". Hey you can pick up collections of H G Wells, or Poe...) In any case, Ayshe's answer seems to be what I was looking for, so in this case, although I loved Fisk, he's not the one.
    – equin0x80
    Commented May 20, 2022 at 3:51

1 Answer 1

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Tim Kennemore's "Rock of Ages" from "Here Tomorrow, Gone Today" looks like it could be the first story.

I searched in Google Books for "Masked Granny" and I found these snippets:

defines the vulnerable teens, again in a predictable future, in an acid tale of a sinister fashion led by the mysterious television star 'Masked Granny'.

Growing Point Vol. 22 1983

“Rock of Ages”, for instance, is not a religious story but has a rock music theme: the “Masked Granny” turns adolescents onto old age with her pop songs such as “Thoughts of a Geriatric Ghoul” and “Meals on Wheels”.

Reading Time, Vol. 89–91, 1983

The book was also identified on mumsnet.com search:

the odd one about a teenager whose dad secretly joins a rock band where they dressed up as elderly folk on zimmer frames and were a huge hit on TOTP etc. The song went "I'm so old I'm falling to pieces, all my skin is lines and creases"

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  • I haven't checked it (YET!), but I do remember the name "Here Tomorrow, Gone Today", and I am almost certain you have identified the book I was thinking about. Thank you.
    – equin0x80
    Commented May 20, 2022 at 3:39

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