There is a story I've read floating around in my head, which had a few definite elements to it, about a discovery of a highly capable sci-fi-ish subterranean species, who were effectively immortal, by something of the following process;

  • they'd scan the brain of the person whom they wanted to "store", and then eject the body into the lava, in a sort-of ritual, or at least with a similar reverence. (Iirc the protag also got offered this, but he declined)
  • then they'd grow up a human(?)oid(?) body in a tube, and imprint the memories of that previous brainscan into them by rapidly flashing colors onto their eyeballs, after which they'd step out of the tube themselves. (I also remember one of them commenting something akin to "like shedding a skin" regarding the process)
  • Vaguely, I remember this society being carefree and a degree of hedonism, having parties constantly.
  • As a last certain point, the protagonist wants to leave, and asks this repeatedly, and they finally grant this request - on one condition that only reveals itself after he is on the surface again; he's brought to the past, and absolutely nobody believes his story.

I remember reading this story at least 6-10 years ago, with a distinct idea that this book is likely from before 2000, at least before the era and idea of smartphones, and with not a lot of influence or "idea" of personal computers.

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    Hi. In roughly which year did you read this and when do you think it might've been published? Also, was this a short story? If so, did you read it in an anthology, a magazine, or online? May 21 at 21:30

1 Answer 1


Found it; Abduction (2000) - Robin Cook

Then he looked at the group, before locking eyes with Suzanne. “Today is an important day for me. Today this body of mine dies.”

Suzanne could not help but recoil at this news. Not only did the man appear perfectly hale, but he acted it as well. The announcement even got Richard and Michael’s attention.

“Ah, but do not despair,” Reesta said, smiling at Suzanne’s unease. “Here in Interterra it is a reasonably happy time, more in the realm of an inconvenience or nuisance. And for me it is none too soon. This body was somewhat of a lemon from the beginning. I’ve had to replace many of the organs and the knees twice. Every day it seems that there is another problem. It’s been an endless struggle. And I’ve just heard this morning that the downtime has dropped to only four years due to lack of current demand. For some reason, no one is dying these days.”

"My God," Donald muttered, "We're marooned. Nobody is going to believe our story about Interterra, and the technology doesn't exist to prove it or for us to get back there."

Perry nodded as he stared ahead with unseeing eyes. "People are going to think we're mad."

I got my idea for the "protagonist" wrong from this story, and I found it while scrolling through the Subterranean Fiction list, and finding the word "Interterra" familiar. Robin Cook is a popular author with my parents, so it seemed likely, and I hunted the book down to confirm.

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