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Can You Name This Story? (Part 25)

Jonathan C. has a challenge for our readers with 2 story descriptions looking for titles.

Do any of you out there know the title to these stories?

Both are short stories I read as a teenager back in the early 1970s so the stories must be older than that.

Story 1 – A man lives his life in a disjointed way (a little bit like _Slaughter House 5_ or _The Time Travelers Wife_) but what he can do is to keep a diary, and so as the story progresses he changes his future. He then meets a woman who he discovers also lives her life in a jumbled time-line way. Together they manipulate their own timelines. The final lines of the story have the two as newly born babies in cots next to each other and both reach out to each other.

Story 2 – A man boards a metro underground railway train to find the end of the rail line. The journey goes on and on, and on, and then he finds he is approaching the stop from where he left but coming from the other direction. (The implication being that the world is one big city.)

Can you name these stories?

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

6 Comments on Can You Name This Story? (Part 25)

  1. The second story is “Concentration City” by J.G. Ballard, one of my favorites.

  2. The first one might be by FM Busby.

  3. The second story is brilliant – never read it, but just found out that it HAVE IT in an collection of Ballard’s best short stories!!! (I’m going to read it right now!!)


    On a related note, the theme of the global subway system was also used by Walter Jon Williams in Metropolitan in the 80s or 90s. I almost voted for it, but I read the post again and noticed that Jonathan read it in the early 70s. Interesting, though – was Williams directly inspired by Ballard?

  4. From the Internet Speculative Fiction Data Base

    Title: If This Is Winnetka, You Must Be Judy
    Author: F. M. Busby
    Year: 1974

    And there’s a list of publications.

  5. No, I doubt it is that Busby, which is online for sale as a screenplay idea and doesn’t have that ending.

    Check the stories listed here:


    Thank you Paul, Ian, Fabio, Dan and Gary,


    First, the good news.  It looks like the 2nd one is  “Concentration City” by J.G. Ballard and I am hugely thankful for your help with this.

    Alas the first story still remains a mystery but the timecon.htm list is interesting.

    My reason for asking about the first one (the planet-wide city is that a similar story has just appeared in an anthology of Danish SF (which I’ll be reviewing on <a href=””>SF2 Concatenation’s</a> autumnal edition this September.  Of course there is nothing wrong with giving a good trope more than one airing.




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