I read a short story or part if a novel about a man who doesn't sleep for years but then hibernates for decades. All I remember is he will find a cave to sleep in. And he never or slowly ages. It was late 80s, early 90s

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    Definitely a short story. He ages very slowly, as in hundreds of times more slowly than normal.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jun 24, 2023 at 3:31
  • @DavidW Thousands of times slower (if we're thinking of the same story). "I have aged eleven years in the past hundred and eighty millennia."
    – user14111
    Commented Jun 24, 2023 at 10:34
  • @user14111 It's definitely the same story; somewhere I have the Jan 1990 60th anniversary edition of Analog. And 16000 times is 160 hundreds. :D
    – DavidW
    Commented Jun 24, 2023 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


"Letter to a Phoenix", a short story by Fredric Brown, first published in Astounding Science Fiction, August 1949, available at the Internet Archive. You may have read it in one of these compilations, perhaps in the 60th anniversary edition (January 1990) of Analog (née Astounding).

The factors of decay and aging were not eliminated, of course, but the rate was reduced by about fifteen thousand times. I age at the rate of one day every forty-five years. So I am not immortal. I have aged eleven years in the past hundred and eighty millennia. My physical age is now thirty-four.

And forty-five years is to me as a day. I do not sleep for about thirty years of it—then I sleep for about fifteen. It is well for me that my first few “days” were not spent in a period of complete social disorganization or savagery, else I would not have survived my first few sleeps. But I did survive them and by that time I had learned a system and could take care of my own survival. Since then, I have slept about four thousand times, and I have survived. Perhaps someday I shall be unlucky. Perhaps someday, despite certain safeguards, someone will discover and break into the cave or vault into which I seal myself, secretly, for a period of sleep. But it is not likely. I have years in which to prepare each of those places and the experience of four thousand sleeps back of me. You could pass such a place a thousand times and never know it was there, nor be able to enter if you suspected.

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