It’s been one of those serendipitious days. A link on Boing Boing about a secret “cornfield” where misbehaving players inside the MMPORG Second Life get banished sent me on a search for the original story. The game makers credit the Twilight Zone, but I remembered reading a short story with the same premise as a kid in elementary school. “It’s a Good Life,” by Jerome Bixby, always scared the hell out of me, but it’s the sort of story that sticks with me to the present day.
Remembering the title of another story in the anthology, “Gonna Roll Them Bones,” I found a pointer to the anthology. Tomorrow’s Children, edited by Isaac Asimov, was full of extraordinarily creepy stories and hit me, as I was busy reading my way through the entire elementary school library, like a ton of bricks. From that point on I was hooked on science fiction, and remember being disappointed that Asimov’s own works didn’t have anywhere near the eerie resonance that these stories did. Based on the reviews in Amazon, it would appear that I’m not the only one who was warped for life by the book—and based on the prices for it on Alibris, it will be a good long time before I can get my hands on it again.