305X: Man Uses PC to Compensate for Memory Loss – Ultimately Both Die in Suicide Pact

I read a short story in the late 1970’s or early 80’s. I think it was in a collection of award winners – maybe science fiction, and may have come from Scholastic or similar program. It is not Living Will.

A man is faced with progressive memory loss (Alzheimer’s?). He programs a personal computer to help him cope with his declining mental condition and keep up appearances of normality so that he can continue to live independently.

All scenes take place in the room the computer is in and are from its perspective. It talks the man through getting dressed and ready each day, then waits for him to return home and pieces together his day based on the contents of his pockets.

It monitors the progression of his deterioration and eventually concludes he is no longer able to function safely on his own. It initiates a euthanasia protocol per its programming and then begins deleting its files – apparently because its only purpose was to take care of the man and he is gone.

I remember it as not so much a science fiction story, but a tragic love story.

305G: …turns out, he shouldn’t have

I read a YA fantasy or sci fi book in the mid to late 70s. I was 10 to 13 years old. I checked the book out at the same time as Enchantress of the Stars. The protagonist was a young boy or teen who thought his world was unfair. One of the rules was that no one was to drink stream water. The world was ruled by judges. The protagonist thought this was an unfair system. He drank the water, turns out he shouldn’t have. Also, because he questioned authority (spoiler alert) he became a judge. Thanks!

I believe the authors last name began with an A or B. I reread it a few times as a kid and seem to remember finding it before Baum (I read all of his Oz books), alphabetically.

304T: Making things weigh less

I’m looking for a juvenile science fiction book I read in the early 1970s. I must have been about 11 or 12 years old. I borrowed it from the public library. It was about a teenager (or youngster) who discovered a mysterious method of making things weigh less, have less mass. In the process of making things weigh less he was able to harness the seemingly limitless energy to power things like an automobile. Pretty vague, but that’s all I can remember.

303N: Rowing through the air, as spirits, in a “spirit canoe”

In 1980, I read a book whose story details I recall only dimly. I do not recall the title.

Two children travel far from home to another place. I forget the purpose or motive for their journey. I believe it may have been a brother and a sister.

At one point during their long journey, they sleep in a friend / ally / friendly stranger’s houseboat (or boat or water-home of some kind.) The young girl (I think) listens to the water lapping up under the floor as she is going to sleep.

Near the end of the book, they encounter a civilization which had at some point stopped living in the world and now existed in a spirit form. The memory I recall when reading about this encounter, is that an individual (s) of this culture were rowing by them, or above them, as if rowing through the air, as spirits, in a “spirit canoe.”

The mood of their encounter with this race of spirit people was haunting, nostalgic, and a sense of loss or grief for the children. As a ten year old, I was moved somewhat sorrowfully when the children learned of or interacted with these spirits.

302J: Alien had Answers, but Earthlings treated him like an animal…until he became one

The short story was in an 8th grade English reader (adopted by Uintah school district in the 1980s).  It was light blue and white.

The short story came from the section in the reader that was something like strangers in a strange land.

It was an excerpt from a science fiction writer (famous, I believe) so the short story might have come from a novel.  I have spent hours sifting through science fiction novels trying to come up with this story.  I found The Thing…but, I believe I’m going to have to find the reader itself.  Hence, I’m asking you.

The story line is:  An alien crash lands on earth.  Earthlings find him.  He is walking on two feet, but he looks different than them.  They struggle accepting him because of his looks.  *there is a painting picture in the book itself of an alien trying to talk with people and the people look mob-like angry*

The alien explains to them that his people have advanced technology and that he would share it with them.  At one point, he even tried to tell them that he had the answers to the universe and God.  The Earthlings laugh at him, shun him, and tell him he is an animal.

Eventually, the Earthlings put him in a cage.  They continually call him an animal.  He tries talking to them until he finally gives up and becomes quiet.  He sees the other animals in cages and watches the interaction between animals and humans.  Somewhere I remember them using the word creature.

In the end, the cage door is left open and the alien (like an animal) runs away into the forest …”running on all fours.”  I’m pretty sure I’m quoting this correctly as I remember it being a powerful key statement.

I remember this science fiction story being in a section with pioneer and moving west stories.  It seemed oddly placed until you read and realized it was placed there to take a next step in cognitive thinking and applying it to the future.

Thank you for helping me with this.  I want to use it to teach through the story the idea of intolerance vs. tolerance and what can happen if we don’t treat someone with respect.  It definitely a story that made one think.

301E: He looks in a mirror and discovers he’s no longer human

This is a science fiction book I read in high school, circa 1986 or 1987, it had already been around since maybe the 50’s or 60’s? It’s about an astronaut or maybe an explorer who I think is stranded or left on an alien planet that he is meant to explore or get ready for humans? He stumbles in to a residence and is grateful because he’s close to death, but quickly discovers everything there is not fit for humans so he really isn’t saved like he hoped. He persists. Time goes by. He uses his knowledge and training to adapt the environment to his human needs. He starts to thrive. He’s accomplishing his mission. He gets ready to contact his group. He discovers a mirror. He looks in to it. He’s no longer human. His environment and its systems didn’t adapt to his needs, he adapted to it. WHAT IS THE NAME OF THIS BOOK?

300L: Crystal Dawn (Solved)

In the late 1970s or early 80s I bought what seemed to be a straight-to-paperback science fiction novel in a Safeway grocery store in Honolulu Hawaii. The events of the novel take place in a futuristic society, technologically advanced to the point where people can be reanimated from death but it is very expensive. The novel was about the seedy underbelly of the society, particularly the industry of prostitution wherein the john could murder the prostitute as long as he paid for her reanimation. The bad guy was one of these johns who was terribly sadistic and his evil nature was graphically shown.

It was ultimately a noirish exploitative nasty piece of torture porn complicated by the technologies of reanimation.

But it was also a mainstream Mass Market paperback about three quarters of an inch thick sold in a major grocery chain.

It may be a false memory but I feel like it was called Crystal Dawn or something like that and showed a recumbent nearly nude female with a giant circular crystal blooming behind her. I see the book is predominantly blue.

At the time I got the feeling the Crystal Dawn name and the picture were both somehow exploiting the popularity of the movie of Logan’s Run, which involved crystals in people’s hands.

It was a very good novel and I felt it was written pseudonominally by an accomplished perhaps even famous science-fiction writer who did not want to be associated with the highly transgressive plot and scenes. I have always wondered who the audience possibly could have been for this book and it was probably aimed at the Gor crowd but it was far too transgressive.

I am unsure of the exact time that I purchased the novel but I can say that The Empire Strikes Back was still in the theaters and it was summer.

I am a big collector of books that I read when I was young and this is the one book I can find no evidence that it even existed. Hopefully it was not a dream because if it was I am in need of therapy.

Good luck and thank you.

300E: Sleep by day and live by night

The book I am looking for is a series. I grew up in Australia and while I cannot be sure, I think the author was Australian (possibly even female). The story is about three children or young teenagers. They live in the future where the world is too hot by day for anyone to be active, so they now sleep by day and live by night. The children have to go beyond their village or camp for some reason and they end up crossing vast land in search of something. I believe there were three books in the series, although it may have been more. I remember thinking it was interesting that everyone lived by night, with the light of the fire. The elders were respected. It was almost as though humans had to resort to the way of life before modern civilization. I think they have found a lost city on their adventure.

I have been trying for a really long time to find this book series. Any help would be greatly appreciated.