So there's a compilation of science fiction short stories I had when I was a kid that I lost and can't remember the name of, nor any of the names of the stories or authors. I just remember some plot fragments, probably incorrectly. Overmind, please help me remember and find this stuff. I probably read it around 1981-1982, so the stories would date from before that -- probably from the 70s.

  • Plot fragment #1: Some guy finds another guy (maybe named Aldus) with an apparent mental age of 7 who lives/hangs out in a junkyard -- except Aldus somehow cobbles together a device from junkyard parts that glows and can mysteriously levitate. However, something pisses Aldus off, so he takes it apart before anybody can figure out how he has done it. All he ever says, softly, is "Whee!"

  • Plot fragment #2: A guy lives and works in a line of people who are all passing building stones down the line to one another, bucket-brigade style. He has always lived and worked in this line. He has nictitating membranes. He notes to a coworker that the bones of their ancestors were visibly different. I'm not sure we ever find out what these generations of people are building.

  • Plot fragment #3: A bum in poor health eats something that he thinks is food. It isn't; it's a teleportation device, and he manages to turn it on with one of his remaining teeth on its way down. He becomes ravenously hungry and can eat giant, impossible quantities of food (he might win a hard-boiled egg eating contest, but maybe that was only in Cool Hand Luke). Also, his health improves. Then, whoever is on the other end of the teleportation device decides they have enough of what he is sending, and they start sending other stuff back.


2 Answers 2


I was able to identify the compilation: 13 Great Stories of Science Fiction, published 1960, edited by Groff Conklin.

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  • 7
    If anyone else is interested, it looks like #2 was "The War is Over" by Algis Budrys (summarized at mporcius.blogspot.com/2014/08/… ), and #3 was "Shipping Clerk" by William Morrison (can be read in its entirety at bookre.org/reader?file=262439 )
    – Hypnosifl
    Aug 18, 2014 at 16:10
  • Nice team effort.
    – Kyle Jones
    Aug 18, 2014 at 16:15
  • @SeanDuggan, you have to wait two days before accepting your own answer. Aug 18, 2014 at 21:02
  • It sounds like the greatest short stories of Science Ficion, a twice yearly series of books (each on focusing on a year starting in 1939) by Asimov and Martin H. Greenburg. Worth checking out. I know the first story is in one of them. I have so many collections though, it's hard to determine where I saw them first.
    – JSM
    Aug 18, 2014 at 21:50
  • Ah, right you are, Paul.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Aug 19, 2014 at 0:58

Plot fragment #1 is from the story "The Available Data on the Worp Reaction" (Google Books) by Lion Miller. An audio version of the story is currently available on YouTube.


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