I'm sure about the songs from under the sand.
November 19, 2009 7:23 AM   Subscribe

Again with the "identify this short story."

Science fiction story I read at least ten years ago, in which the consciousness -- but not the body -- of a twentieth/twenty-first-century man is revived far into the future by -- I think -- aliens (or possibly our distant descendants). Told if not in the first person then at least from the point of view of the revived consciousness. They interview him for research purposes but he proves difficult or antagonistic or something, so they eventually just shut his sensory inputs off and leave him to go mad. By the end he is hallucinating that he is on a beach while songs are being chanted to him from beneath the green sands.
posted by ricochet biscuit to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Is it actually a computer simulation? There's an antagonistic guy who teaches him to fish in the simulation/hallucination, and at some point a monkey is killed after he leaves the beach and goes into the jungle?

If no one else answers I know I have it at home.
posted by cobaltnine at 8:13 AM on November 19, 2009

Response by poster: I don't recall it as such, but it has been a while. My recollection is that it is purely his disembodied consciousness, and I think this consciousness rebels at being used as a research tool, which leads to his questioners shutting off the sensory inputs.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:24 AM on November 19, 2009

I can remember reading this (or something very much like it) The guy was (I think) deep frozen but the aliens only revive him so far so they can talk to him but leaving him blind and unable to move. He knows the location of some hidden super-weapons (or something) and he realises that the aliens want this information (they try and trick it out of him). When he refuses to tell them they shut off the input... at first he's frightened to death in the dark but, as you said, hallucinates being on a beach at the end.

I thought for some reason it may have been Ray Bradbury - I've tried doing some googling but nothing comes up.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:25 AM on November 19, 2009

Response by poster: Yeah, that is sounding right.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:28 AM on November 19, 2009

I know I've read this too, and it's driving me crazy that I can't remember where. I thought it might be in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame but after scanning the titles, nothing is ringing a bell.
posted by beandip at 10:40 AM on November 19, 2009

I want to say Gene Wolfe, but I might be confusing this with another story.
posted by Artw at 10:41 AM on November 19, 2009

I've read this story to, and I'm almost sure that it was collected in an anthology that set 1 science fiction story on each planet in our solar system (this story being the one set on Earth). I am NOT talking about Asimov's Solar System Anthology, but I'll have to go home to look at the title.
posted by muddgirl at 11:17 AM on November 19, 2009

I was thinking of Tomorrow's Worlds and this story is apparently not part of that collection. I can't think of which other short story collections I've read recently!
posted by muddgirl at 11:34 AM on November 19, 2009

Best answer: I'm almost certain that this is Go Starless in the Night by Roger Zelazny.
posted by speicus at 12:54 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: That's it... you can read it on this shonky Russian web site

Weirdly a bit back I'd asked here about the origin of a short story that turned out I'd read in the same Zelzany collection as Night
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:59 PM on November 19, 2009

Response by poster: That's the one! Spasiba.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:22 PM on November 19, 2009

Great story. I love that the identity of the interrogators is never revealed, and the last paragraph is haunting.
posted by speicus at 2:34 PM on November 19, 2009

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