I believe this story was in a Young Adult anthology, and I would have read it in the early 80s. In the story, the protagonist / narrator is woken up from hibernation by the controlling entity and sent to kill a renegade passenger.

The "renegade" attempts to explain that the controller is breaking down and making mistakes, but the protagonist kills him anyway. During the killing, the protagonist thinks something like, "I knew Controller was watching. I knew it loved me." The protagonist returns to hibernation, but is later woken up without receiving a mission, and ends up wandering around until he realizes the "renegade" was right.

  • @user14111: Mr Kevin likely just means a long-range colonisation ship. It is not an uncommon trope for a ship to have a small skeleton crew which alternates in and out of hibernation while the majority hibernates for the extent of the journey. Pandorum instantly springs to mind. Sep 26, 2014 at 3:44
  • @user14111 - You're right. This is a sleeper ship
    – Valorum
    Sep 26, 2014 at 6:06
  • I was thinking this was "The Machine Stops", until I saw the ship comments, and that it was already answered. Lot of similar elements, I think.
    – Radhil
    Jan 6, 2015 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


I believe this is the short story Wake Up To Thunder by Dean Koontz. It can be found in the short story collection Children of Infinity edited by Roger Elwood (1973). I remember reading this story back in the 1970s. When the Matrix came out I immediately thought of this story. I don't know how it got away without a copyright fight.

As a note, I do believe this is the only collection in which this story is available.

Wiki Dean Koontz Bibliography

Discussion on similarity to Matrix

Second Discussion on similarity to Matrix

In it the occupants of the hive are in a matrix like environment. However, instead of being used for energy, their combined minds feed the AI "Thunder" which evolved out the sleeping masses.

The actions do not actually take place on a generation ship. Instead the Hive exists on Earth. However, there is a starship component in the story which is what you are probably remembering.

The quote you are remembering when the Policeman takes on the Renegade is:

"We clutched his bare flesh. I felt my fingers on his throat, felt his windpipe crumpling as I pressed. Then I went for him with my teeth. I was sure Thunder watched. I was sure he knew. He would love me the more for my fanaticism."

As you have already listed the spoiler for the story, you are also correct that the Policeman eventually becomes a renegade like the ones he had previously hunted for Thunder.

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