We'll never tell. Don't ask again.
February 24, 2008 6:53 AM Subscribe
Looking for a science fiction short story I read years ago.
posted by gerryblog to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I've been Googling aimlessly for a few years now trying to recover the title of a short story I read years ago. I'm 75% confident I read this story before 1998 and 50% confident I read it before 1995.
The plotline of the story is roughly as follows: a crime scene investigator is brought in when a body is discovered in a landfill in a major metropolitan area. Before he makes much headway in his investigation, another body is discovered, then another. All of the bodies date to the same temporal layer of the landfill, a period roughly fifty years ago.
Soon there are hundreds of these bodies, maybe thousands, and they start being discovered in landfills in other cities as well. Obviously some sort of major event happened fifty-or-so years ago involving mass casualties that was never recorded in the history books or ever spoken about. I believe that at the end of the story the main character goes to his own grandmother to ask her just what happened back then, and she basically says "I'll never tell you, and neither will anyone else. Don't ask again."
There's speculation in the story, I believe, that the current inhabitants of earth may be replacements who invaded and killed off the original human race. I remember feeling at the time of reading that this is how the Holocaust might have been unremembered in a hundred years' time had Hitler won the war, but I'm not sure this connection is made explicit in the story or not
In my head, I've always thought this was an Asimov story, but I've looked through the Asimov anthologies I owned at the time and I can't find it.
Does this ring any bells?