Short science fiction story about ice cream?
October 16, 2007 6:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to identify a short sci-fi story about ice cream, weight loss, and aliens...

Another science fiction story identification, sorry if someone has already asked about this one before. I read the story in my sixth- or seventh-grade short story anthology. Since it's been so long I can't remember the author or the title, and it's very possible I'm remembering the actual storyline wrong too, but here goes. The protagonist of the story is still attending school (although I can't remember if it was elementary or high school) and has a younger brother. The plot centers around the sudden appearance of a chain of vendors who sell delicious ice cream, and the simultaneous appearance of a chain of booths that seem to evaporate excess fat from people. Both of these services are provided at very low prices. (If I remember right, the currency in this story was the yen.) Each time a person gets fat removed he or she is given a mark on the wrist. (At one point the protagonist muses that the marks are beginning to form a delicate bracelet.) The protagonist's younger brother has a theory that both the ice cream and the fat-removal services are provided by an alien organization. He claims that the aliens make the ice cream irresistible so that people gain weight, and then they use the harvested fat for their society's energy needs. He claims that the marks on people's wrists identify those who have used the fat-removal service too much, who need to be "culled from the flock." As far as I remember the story ends on an ambiguous note. Does this sound familiar to anyone? If not, is there an archive or search engine I could use to find this story?
posted by suimin to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like something that Daniel Pinkwater would have written.
posted by freshgroundpepper at 6:19 PM on October 16, 2007

I remember this story well, and I even saw an anthology in which it was published at the library recently. Unfortunately I'm having some difficulty remembering the title...I want to say "2040" or something like that, but that doesn't get me any good search results. ::rummages about in the Internets::
posted by fermion at 6:27 PM on October 16, 2007

Ughhh... I remember this story as well. They get blue tattoo marks. This was in the same anthology that had a short story about playing "hide and seek" with aliens, where the children would play and the adults would freak out...
posted by disillusioned at 6:33 PM on October 16, 2007

Aha! I was close: 2041: Twelve Stories About the Future By Top Science-Fiction Writers ed. Jane Yolen

I believe the story you refer to is "Lose Now, Pay Later"
posted by fermion at 6:40 PM on October 16, 2007 [3 favorites]

That's it. I remember that story, too. The book had one about turning anorexic in order to stay under the weight limit for flying, too. And one where nobody had ears and you had to buy one, and this punk girl bought a bright green one.
posted by lilac girl at 6:43 PM on October 16, 2007

Fermion got it. Brilliant.
posted by disillusioned at 6:43 PM on October 16, 2007

For sale.
posted by disillusioned at 6:48 PM on October 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Okay, someone else answered it so it's safe to chime in and say THANK YOU. Not that I'd ever heard of or read this particular story, but that Locus link reminded me of a whole load of anthologies that I read and loved when I was a kid. Amazon wishlist updated!
posted by fuzzbean at 7:55 PM on October 16, 2007

oh man, i remember reading that story when i was in seventh grade too. i always wished we had that ice cream. aliens be damned.
posted by kerning at 10:39 PM on October 16, 2007

Wow, thanks, that was so fast. I can't tell you how long that's been bugging me. I was starting to think maybe I imagined the whole story. You guys are amazing.
posted by suimin at 12:54 AM on October 17, 2007

Oh, wow, I had been wondering about that too. Although it was in an actual textbook, not the Yolen anthology...
posted by ubersturm at 2:29 AM on October 17, 2007

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