Ask the guy who is pretty good at SF Story Identification

Yep, that’s the one. I never would have known it just by seeing that title.

The last few paragraphs:


The many-legged Consul greeted Willis Kaw when he returned. He turned over and looked up at the Consul and saw the bright green sky above. “Welcome back, Plydo,” the Consul said.

He looked very sad.

Plydo, who had been Willis Kaw on a faraway world, got to his feet and looked around. Home.

But he could not keep silent and enjoy the moment. He had to know. “Consul, please…tell me…what did I do that was so terrible?”

“Terrible!” The Consul seemed stunned. “We owe you nothing but honor, your grace. Your name is valued above all others.” There was deep reverence in his words.

“Then why was I condemned to live in anguish on that other world? Why was I sent away to exist in torment?”

The Consul shook his hairy head, and his mane billowed in the warm breeze. “No, your grace, no! Anguish is what we suffer. Torment is all we know. Only a few, only a very few honored and loved among all the races of the universe can go to that world. Life there is sweet compared to what passes for life everywhere else. You are still disoriented. It will all come back to you. You will remember. And you will understand.”

And Plydo, who had been, in a better part of his almost eternal life of pain, Willis Kaw, did remember. As time passed, he recalled all the eternities of sadness that had been born in him, and he knew that they had given him the only gift of joy permitted to the races of beings who lived in the far galaxies. The gift of a few precious years on a world where anguish was so much less than that known everywhere else.

He remembered the rain, and the sleep, and the feel of beach sand beneath his feet, and ocean rolling in to whisper its eternal song, and on just such nights as those he had despised on Earth, he slept and dreamed good dreams.

Of life as Willis Kaw, life on the pleasure planet.

Glad to help

Me, neither.

And now I have a StackExchange account.

Ok, here’s one I remember from a few decades ago. This short story involves people turning into things like werewolves and such, and one guy (a terrible person) turns into a vampire (or a were-vampire?), with powers and everything.

The twist ending is that he winds up trapped alone on a small moon, which has no resources, and is perpetually in darkness, which means he is alone, immortal, hungry, and has no way to end his suffering.

I remember that. I don’t remember the title, but it was part of the collection Thumbprints by Dave Hutchinson, who was a teenager when it was published.

For some reason the ISFDB doesn’t list the individual story titles.

The device in The Forge of God isn’t a black hole; it is much more ingenious than that.

That one definitely got the right answer at the time: The Doomsday Effect.

Hm, that collection isn’t ringing a bell, but it’s been so long I may have just forgotten.

Here’s another story I just thought of

Extremely realistic Scifi novel written in the 1980s about what a World War 3 in space would look like between the Soviet Union and NATO. Lots of descriptions of cosmonauts with low velocity guns in space and blinding gadgets.

The Third World War: August 1985, and its sequel The Third World War: The Untold Story, are (or were) near-future speculative political/military novels by Sir John Hackett, and they included a Soviet satellite attack on a US Space Shuttle; the commander of the Shuttle was blinded, as I recall. There were no cosmonauts involved, though.

Interesting never heard of that before, but the novel I was thinking of had full blown space warfare.

Are you thinking of Dale Brown’s Silver Tower? Most of the action was earthbound, but there were a couple of Soviet assaults on the eponymous US space station.

No, I would recognize Dale Browns name since I used to listen to a lot of his stuff but not that.

I listened to it in the early 00s on Audiobook CDs.

Okay, here’s another story that I remember in the book.

A boy discovers an ability to cut a deck of cards and always get the ace 100% of the time.
When he becomes an adult, he uses this ability to make a fortune at a casino, playing some newly invented game where this ability is a winning move.
Travelling on a submersible vessel, it breaks down. Rescue is coming, but there are six people on board with only enough air for five. One must die to save the others.
They decide to cut cards to select the victim. High card loses.

Sound familiar?

Wait is that newly invented game Blackjack?

Are you thinking of The Descent of Anansi ( Steven Barnes and Larry Niven, 1982)?

Hard orbital mechanics, mono-crystal nanowire and some space-based combat between mercenaries and the crew of the Anansi and their orbital manufacturing facility.

I decided to look up a list of Sci-Fi books I written a while back and found EON by Greg Bear and a Wikipedia description seems about the right direction since it takes place in 2005 and the start is about a space war between NATO and the Soviets.

Read in 80s or 90s, guy with a time belt, back to medieval era, fight with guys in tavern or maybe outside, loses belt, and lying there or maybe buried as time speeds up due to separation from belt. Years passing quickly, I think, and his visual perception is shifting through the electromagnetic spectrum. Eventually has belt again, and it’s rather rotted/verdigris/rusted.

I put enough effort into looking this up now and then over the years that my memories have very much boiled down to those facts above, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s really a couple of stories conflated or a story very much improved by imperfect memory. What a strange drive it is for me to want badly to identify all of my half-lost early memories.

Ah, I thought it might be Eon. There are a couple of other books in that series; Eternity and Legacy, both quite different but with intriguing ideas.

Well, The Man Who Folded Himself has a time belt, but basically none of your other details…

Yes, I read that last year and it was indeed quite different…