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For A Single Yesterday by George R. R. Martin

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"…For a Single Yesterday" is a 1975 science fiction novelette by George R. R. Martin. It is about a musician in a post-apocalyptic commune who uses a powerful drug to re-live the past.

He’s A Great Writer

You are probably familiar with George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I have only read the first one, A Game of Thrones, but I was absolutely blown away by the author’s mastery of story telling. Honestly, he makes most other authors sound like grade school kids. So it was with great anticipation that I dove into this story looking for the same awesome style I became accustomed to in his books – I was not disappointed, and I don’t think you will be either!

Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell

A guitar player, by Curtis Gregory Perry, CC 2.0 license

Keith is a man who has bad luck. He happened to be visiting a commune during the “Blast” – a sort of nuclear holocaust which wasted the rest of the world – and now he is effectively stuck there for the rest of his life. Sure, life is hard, and lonely and pretty much crappy but at least he has his Chronine – a drug which allows him to re-live the past in extraordinary detail – and that makes it bearable. But when a group of former military men show up and try to make life better for everyone they decide that the Chronine could be put to much better use. But could it really? Check out this groovy tale, man, and like decide for yourself.

My Two Cents…

  • I really enjoyed the idea of Chronine – a drug which allows one to not only remember the past but re-live it in a very detailed manner. How cool would that be!
  • The dichotomy between Keith, the commune’s bard, and Winters, the former military leader, was awesome and worked very well.
  • The setting was excellent. There was just something delightfully ironic about a surviving “hippy” commune that took care of post-war survivors.

Interesting Tidbits:

  • Page Count: 16
  • Word Count: 9,821
  • Did you know that George R. R. Martin worked as a story editor for Twilight Zone in the 80’s? Yep. You can learn more about this excellent writer at his web site.
  • Special thanks to Free SF Reader for recommending this great story.

Where You Can Find …For a Single Yesterday:

  • This novelette first appeared in the October 1975 edition of Epoch.
  • You can read a free online version of "…For a Single Yesterday" at the LightSpeed magazine web site.
  • This story is also included in George R. R. Martin’s short story collection Songs the Dead Men Sing.

Craving More Science Fiction Short Stories?

If you liked "…For a Single Yesterday" then you might also enjoy The First Men by Howard Fast – about a group of gifted children, raised in a controlled environment, who evolve into super humans.

2 thoughts to “For A Single Yesterday by George R. R. Martin”

  1. I couldn’t resist reading a story about taking a trip into your memories! This was a great read, although I was disappointed that I didn’t get to experience any of the memories with Keith. But wow, what a great ending!

  2. Cin,

    Yes, I’m afraid if that drug was real I just may be an addict! A very cool idea! And it was too bad that we didn’t get to see Keith’s memories, I’m sure they were very interesting!

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