My colleague was talking about books he read and told me this story, but he did not know who wrote it or what the title was. As far as he knows it was an Asimov short story but he's not sure.

The synopsis is something like this:

I a world only the men work. They marry a woman but the men keep the woman locked up in a stasis chamber/room/closet/pod. Every year the men wakes up his wife, they go on a nice vacation for a short period and then the wife goes back in the chamber.

The woman will age only a few weeks per year, so when the husband is nearly at his end, she inherits all their money, but because she is still young she can marry a new, young husband that she will be with 2 weeks or so per year.

I don't know anything else but it sounded intriguing, if it wasn't written somebody should :-)

Does anyone know what this story might be?

  • 6
    Probably not Asimov, because there is a female character in it. :-) Jul 14, 2014 at 13:31

2 Answers 2


Perhaps it is Robert Sheckley — A Ticket to Tranai. I remember some kind of stasis field and wife in it but I am not really sure if it is this story.

UPD: For example, here is reference in review: "Why did his wife appear from a derrsin statis field at the touch of a red button"

You can read the whole story here. The following passage is the part you described:

"I loved you very much, Janna," he said softly.

"You didn't!" she shrilled, throwing back her head. "Just look at the way you treated me. You kept me around all day, every day, doing housework, cooking, sitting. Marvin, I could feel myself aging. Day after day, the same weary, stupid routine. And most of the time, when you came home, you were too tired to even notice me. All you could talk about was your stupid robots! I was being wasted, Marvin, wasted!"

It suddenly occurred to Goodman that his wife was unhinged. Very gently he said, "But, Janna, that's how life is. A husband and wife settle into a companionable situation. They age together side by side. It can't all be high spots--"

"But of course it can! Try to understand, Marvin. It can, on Tranai--for a woman!"

"It's impossible," Goodman said.

"On Tranai, a woman expects a life of enjoyment and pleasure. It's her right, just as men have their rights. She expects to come out of stasis and find a little party prepared, or a walk in the moonlight, or a swim, or a movie." She began to cry again. "But you were so smart. You had to change it. I should have known better than to trust a Terran."

The other man sighed and lighted a cigarette.

"I know you can't help being an alien, Marvin," Janna said. "But I do want you to understand. Love isn't everything. A woman must be practical, too. The way things were going, I would have been an old woman while all my friends were still young."

"Still young?" Goodman repeated blankly.

"Of course," the man said. "A woman doesn't age in the derrsin field."

"But the whole thing is ghastly," said Goodman. "My wife would still be a young woman when I was old.

"That's just when you would appreciate a young woman," Janna said.

"But how about you?" Goodman asked. "Would you appreciate an old man?"

"He still doesn't understand," the man said.

"Marvin, try. Isn't it clear yet? Throughout your life, you would have a young and beautiful woman whose only desire would be to please you. And when you died--don't look shocked, dear; everybody dies--when you died, I would still be young, and by law I'd inherit all your money."

"I'm beginning to see," Goodman said. "I suppose that's another accepted phase of Tranaian life--the wealthy young widow who can pursue her own pleasures."

"Naturally. In this way, everything is for the best for everybody. The man has a young wife whom he sees only when he wishes. He has his complete freedom and a nice home as well. The woman is relieved of all the dullness of ordinary living and, while she can still enjoy it, is well provided for."

  • Thanks, but that seems to be a completely different story.
    – user30368
    Jul 14, 2014 at 15:35
  • 1
    I remember yet another similar story where man was keeping his ill wife in temporary field which slows time, only visiting her once or twice a year. As far as I remember, he managed to do a lot of science to fight her illness until he discovered that she were happy with her partner, who had been brought in temporary field too to reduce her boredom. But it doesn't fit to "new young husband".
    – doz10us
    Jul 14, 2014 at 16:58
  • Thanks, That story reminds me of an fringe episode where the husband put his home in a state of "time travel" to help his wife who was suffering from Alzheimers. But still isnt the story I am looking for.
    – user30368
    Jul 14, 2014 at 17:31
  • 4
    Another upvote for "A Ticket to Tranai." Everything seems to match, including inheritance of husband's wealth. I remember looking for this short story myself a few years ago.
    – Chahk
    Jul 14, 2014 at 19:23

I recently read this in a story, exactly fitting the description. It is in "Foundation's Fear", by Gregory Benford (thus the Asimov connection).

Some context: the story about the wives in cryostasis is not part of the main storyline, it is just a story told to the protagonist. To spare you the effort of reading the book (it is not very good IMO), here is the entirety of the story (I hope this is OK, fair use and such...):

On some worlds, and in certain Trantorian classes, women were wedded, then suspended for all but a few hours of the day. Their wealthy husbands awoke them from freezeframe states only for social and sexual purposes. Over a half century, the wives experienced a heady whirlwind of places, friends, parties, vacations, passionate hours--but their total accumulated time was only a few years. Their husbands died in what seemed to the wives like short order, indeed, leaving a wealthy widow of perhaps thirty. Such women were highly sought, and not only for their money. They were uniquely sophisticated, seasoned by a long “marriage.” Often these widows returned the favor, wedding husbands whom they revived for similar uses.

  • This sounds like the right answer, as it is night here where I live I'll tell my colleague tomorrow and see what he say's. Thanks.
    – user30368
    Jul 14, 2014 at 18:55
  • Yes, that's clear. Might have been a shout-out from Benford to Sheckley's work.
    – JJV
    Jul 15, 2014 at 0:10

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