4

The collection included 'The Newt' and 'The Hero Equation'. I am looking for the authors of these stories and the title of the anthology.

The Newt is about newts living inside people and the only way to remove them is for somebody else to declare "I don't believe you have a newt inside you".

The Hero Equation is about aliens who take over humans by having them perform music or artistic works. One human then shoots all the aliens in his quest to be a hero (even though the aliens were having the human produce beauty and art instead of destroying them).

  • "The Newt" is apparently about newts living inside people and the only way to remove them is for somebody else to declare" I don't believe you have a newt inside you" – GypsyGirl Nov 13 '14 at 1:51
  • "The Hero Equation" is about aliens who take over humans by having them perform music / artistic works. One human then shoots all the aliens in his quest to be a hero (even though the aliens were having the human produce beauty and art instead of destroying them). – GypsyGirl Nov 13 '14 at 1:52
  • Check ISFDB there's a poem called "The Newt" by Avram Davidson and "The Hero Equation" is by Robert Arthur. – mkennedy Nov 13 '14 at 2:04
  • Thank you so much mkennedy. Excellent work. Also, thanks for the edit Tritium, it's my first time on the site so all help is good. – GypsyGirl Nov 13 '14 at 3:32
  • 1
    I've read "The Hero Equation" by Robert Arthur (also published as "Don't Be a Goose!") and it bears no resemblance to your description: no aliens, no music or art, no shooting. It's about a Professor Peabody who projects his mind into the past, where it occupies the body of a gander, at a time when Romans were fighting Gauls. Are you sure you have those titles right? – user14111 Nov 13 '14 at 4:55
5

The newt story is "Heartburn" by Hortense Calisher. You can read it at UNZ.org. Here is the beginning of the story:

The light, gritty wind of a spring morning blew in on the doctor's shining, cleared desk, and on the tall buttonhook of a man who leaned agitatedly toward him.

"I have some kind of small animal lodged in my chest," said the man. He coughed, a slight, hollow apologia to his ailment, and sank back in his chair.

"Animal?" said the doctor, after a pause which had the unfortunate quality of comment. His voice, however, was practiced, deft, colored only with the careful suspension of judgment.

"Probably a form of newt or toad," answered the man, speaking with clipped distaste, as if he would disassociate himself from the idea as far as possible. "Of course, you don't believe me."

The man tells the doctor how he got the newt from a schoolboy:

"'I'll never get rid of it now!' he wailed. From then on it wasn't hard to get the whole maudlin story. It seems that shortly after Hallowell's arrival at school he acquired a reputation for unusual proficiency with animals and with out-of-the-way lore which would impress the ingenuous. He circulated the rumor that he could swallow small animals and regurgitate them at will. No one actually saw him swallow anything, but it seems that in some mumbo-jumbo with another boy who had shown cynicism about the whole thing, it was claimed that Hallowell had, well, divested himself of something, and passed it on to the other boy, with the statement that the latter would only be able to get rid of his cargo when he it turn found a boy who would disbelieve him."

Near the end of the story, the newt changes hosts again:

"O.K., O.K. . . !" he shouted suddenly, slapping his hand down on the desk and thrusting his chin forward. "Have it your way then! I don't believe you!"

Rigid, the man looked back at him cataleptically, seeming, for a moment, all eye. Then, his mouth stretching in that medieval grimace, risorial and equivocal, whose mask appears sometimes on one side of the stage, sometimes on the other, he fell forward on the desk, with a long, mewing sigh.

Before the doctor could reach him, he had raised himself on his arms and their foreheads touched. They recoiled, staring downward. Between them on the desk, as if one of its mahogany shadows had become animate, something seemed to move–small, seal-colored, and ambiguous. For a moment it filmed back and forth, arching in a crude, primordial inquiry; then homing straight for the doctor, whose jaw hung down in a rictus of shock, it disappeared from view.

I don't know the other story. Just in case the two stories really were in the same anthology, here are some of the anthologies in which "Heartburn" has appeared:

  1. Timeless Stories for Today and Tomorrow, edited by Ray Bradbury
  2. Best Horror Stories, edited by John Keir Cross
  3. Suddenly, edited by Marvin Allen Karp and Irving Settel
  4. The Cold Embrace, edited by Alex Hamilton
  5. Fantasy: Shapes of Things Unknown, edited by Edmund J. Farrell, Thomas E. Gage, John Pfordresher, and Raymond J. Rodrigues
  6. Nine Strange Stories, edited by Betty M. Owen
  7. 65 Great Tales of Horror, edited by Mary Danby
  8. Haunting Women, edited by Alan Ryan
  9. Night Shadows: Twentieth-Century Stories of the Uncanny, edited by Joan Kessler

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.