Does anyone know the name of the short story in which the characters only lived a few days from birth to death? I believe it involved a ship where time was experienced normally. I recall the story plot from my younger days, but don't remember the author or the title.

  • Do you remember the media? Was it a book? Television? etc. You may want to also provide the rough time you read/saw it. "Your younger days" is kind of not helpful.
    – bitmask
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 21:22
  • 3
    By 'younger days' Are we talking, 90s? 80s? Earlier?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 21:22
  • possibly the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/53445/… (which is newer but has an accepted answer)
    – Otis
    Commented Aug 17, 2020 at 3:22

3 Answers 3


Sounds like "Frost and Fire" by Ray Bradbury.

  • One of my favorites; short but very evocative.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 22:36
  • Without a doubt. Loved this story.
    – Kyle Jones
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 23:40
  • There was even a movie made out of it, if I remember well.
    – vsz
    Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 7:05
  • @vsz - Yep; 'Quest'
    – K-H-W
    Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 18:50
  • 5
    No question to my mind this is the answer, but maybe writing some more details about the story might make this a better answer.
    – Broklynite
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 11:20

Quoting myself:

Could it be Ray Bradbury's Frost and Fire (1946)? See this question.

According to Wikipedia:

Placed there by a past rocket ship that crashed, the people of the storied land are within sight of another rocket ship on a distant mountain plateau. The plot follows Sim, the protagonist of this story, and his apparently short life on a planet where people are cursed by radiation to live only eight days.

You most likely read this in R is for Rocket.

Once they're in the ship, they indeed do experience time normally:

He could not believe it.

Her first words were, "How long will this last?"

He replied, carefully, "I don't know."

"We are still young."

"The ship. Its metal is around us. It cuts away the sun and the things that came from the sun to age us."

Her eyes shifted thoughtfully. "Then, if we stay here—"

"We'll remain young."

And they save some of their fellow men:

The weeks passed. Generations lived and died in the cliffs, while the scientists and workers labored over the ship, learning its functions and its parts.


Not quite "only a few days", but part of the plot of Non-Stop by Brian Aldiss is that

the spaceship which the lead character and his tribe are living on is actually a generation ship which has returned to Earth orbit, with its inhabitants having developed to be smaller, move much faster, and die sooner. Their slower "Giant" opponents are actually normal humans.

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