I seek help identifying a short story I read more than 20 years ago (maybe the story itself was written before the 80's even).

This short story (to the best of my recollection) involves a scientist who tries to develop an elixir to preserve life - I'm not sure regarding the purpose of the potion. He drinks it at night before he goes to bed and when he wakes up in the morning he finds that nothing has happened, he feels the same, only to discover later on that the streets outside his porch look empty, and he doesn't understand why.

I don't remember what happens next, only that the story ends where he is sitting on his porch, at old age, watching the sun sets on that same day he woke up, before he finally dies, and then it is realized to the reader that actually his perception of time slowed down while his physiological actions sped up to a point in which his whole life passed in one day - from the moment he woke up that morning until that final sunset.

I'm hoping to find the author and/or the title of this short.

1 Answer 1


Gahan Wilson (yes the cartoonist) wrote a short story called "The Manuscript of Dr Arness" which is very similar to this. He concocts a life-prolongation potion and tests it on chimps and mice; at first it seems to work and he starts taking it himself. But then the slowing down of time effect starts.

He decides to kill himself but his internal time is now so slow that 250 years later (external time) he still hasn't completed the action.

  • 2
    Isn't this the inverse? Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 22:39
  • Yeah...but I was hoping it was remembered wrong. Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 23:13
  • 1
    I've checked it out, but unfortunately that's not the one I was looking for... gonna have to wait for others that might recognize this short...Thanks anyway!
    – erutan
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 15:22

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