Tuesday, June 11, 2013

William Tenn's "Time in Advance" (novelette, free): 50% discount on pre-murder conviction!

One of the illustrations by Dick Francis accompanying the original publication in Galaxy magazine of short story Time in Advance by William Tenn. Image shows the videophone with the protagonists ex-wife making a confession on display screen.I'd recently read a story from Astounding, August 1958 (British ed) where I liked the concept: Stanley Mullen's "Fool Killer". Looks like that was an imitation of this excellent original.

Story summary.

On this future earth, you get a 50% discount on a murder sentence, provided you seek conviction before committing the murder! 7 years on deadly prison planets. You can, of course, change your mind part way through the sentence & return without prejudice, but then you forfeit the served sentence. But on successful completion of the sentence, you've earned the right to murder one human being!

One such precriminal, just returned after serving the pre-murder sentence, will actually get some completely unexpected enlightenment...

Collected in.

  1.  William Tenn's "Time in Advance".

Fact sheet.

First published: Galaxy, August 1956.
Note: I'd read this in an anthology, but scans of the issue where this story originally appeared is online.
Rating: A.
Related: Stories of William Tenn.