I remember reading a story, I think in the early nineties though it's probably a lot older than that, about a man who would have streaks of good luck, alternated with equal streaks of bad luck. So after a short streak of good luck, a short streak of bad luck would follow. The story dealt for a large part about a huge streak of good luck in which, among other things, he won the lottery. Knowing that an extreme streak of bad luck is coming up,

he tries to commit suicide--and fails, which is the first event in his new streak of bad luck.

I think it was a short story, not a novel(la). It may or may not have been written by Harry Harrison.

Does anyone know what it's called, and where I can find it?

  • 1
    I know this might not be what you are looking for, but Gladstone Gander from the Donald Duck universe is actually a more interesting character than some might think. He has a constant string of luck throughout his endeavors, except on his birthday, when he has a karma-like opposite 24 hours.
    – Nils Munch
    Jan 4, 2012 at 13:27
  • 1
    DS9 did an episode on this premise Jan 31, 2012 at 16:19
  • And of course, there's the "Bundy curse": youtube.com/…
    – Guillochon
    May 24, 2012 at 11:46
  • The alternating streaks of good and bad luck are reminiscent of Michael Fessier's "The Man in the Black Hat" but not the attempted suicide. I'm pretty sure that's not the story we're looking for.
    – user14111
    Jul 22, 2015 at 7:13

2 Answers 2


Spider Robinson's Callahan's Place stories have a recurring character similar to this. His nickname is the Lucky Duck, though the luck tends to happen to the people around him.

  • I looked at the wikipedia page, but it doesn't really match my recollections of the story. I remember the setting as a normal world, where the only thing out of the ordinary was the streaks of good/bad luck of the main character. Thanks though! Maybe I should check out these novels regardless :).
    – jqno
    Dec 29, 2011 at 18:37
  • you totally should, those books are so much fun!!
    – abcooper
    Jan 4, 2012 at 2:41
  • It's not the Duck; he never tries to commit suicide, and is only a side character (or, arguable, part of the ensemble cast for several of the novels) -- it's still a good series to read, though.
    – K-H-W
    Mar 25, 2012 at 2:08

This sounds quite similar to a Spanish film called Intacto / Intact in which luck is treated as a commodity that can be stolen.
They could be linked in some way?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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