Please help me find this depressing sci-fi short story.
October 3, 2011 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Please help me find this depressing sci-fi short story.

I don't remember where I saw this story, it may have even been through Mefi. I cannot remember the title or author, and google has been of no help.

It involves the following details:

- takes place in a lab testing environment where people are the test subjects
- the people are fitted up to a pack that administers drugs that make them feel certain emotions
- the story revolves around the testing of a drug that simulates true love
- the story involves the use of a drug that makes people feel so depressed and hopeless that they will suicide by any means possible
- the story ends with the main character getting a massive dose of the depressive drug and, I think, killing himself by repeatedly slamming his head against the corner of a desk

I'm going to use this story as a discussion piece for the biochemical basis for emotions. Can anyone help me find it?
posted by robot-hugs to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know that one, but if you are interested in a less-depressing (and excellent) exploration of the same concept, Greg Egan's Reasons to be Cheerful is brilliant.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:53 AM on October 3, 2011

I know the story you're talking about. It's definitely by George Saunders, and might have been in a recent issue of the New Yorker.
posted by neroli at 9:04 AM on October 3, 2011

Escape from Spiderhead, the New Yorker, December 2010
posted by nonane at 9:09 AM on October 3, 2011 [6 favorites]

I also remember the story, the test subjects were convicted felons (though the crimes were dubious) and the researchers deliberately terminated some of the subjects instead of others to test the "love" drug and the authenticity of the feelings it produced. And now it's killing me that I don't remember the title.
posted by lydhre at 9:09 AM on October 3, 2011

Here it is: "Escape from Spiderhead"
posted by neroli at 9:09 AM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

That's it! Thanks everyone, you're my favourite!
posted by robot-hugs at 9:42 AM on October 3, 2011

16 minutes for 2 correct answers. well done.
posted by theora55 at 3:15 PM on October 3, 2011

yeeeeg that was creeptastic. brr.
posted by bitterkitten at 4:22 PM on October 3, 2011

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