Jack Finney. Of Missing Persons. (Good Housekeeping, March 1955)

Read in Judith Merril’s The Year’s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy, 1956.

A young bank-teller, lonely in New York, yearns for a different life. He gets a tip-off in a bar : a travel agent who can get you a one-way ticket to somewhere very different and very special. It’s one-way and a one-off chance.

He finds the agent and the brochure offers a vista of an entirely different way of life, truly a new start in a new world. He marvels at the opportunity, and breathlessly takes the ticket.

However, as the journey unfolds he begins to suspect he has been taken for a rube. He backs out, only to realise, moments later, that he has truly missed the one-off chance of a lifetime.

It’s a well-told story, and Finney builds up the protagonist as a three-dimensional character, leaving you sharing his bitter disappointment in the final paragraphs.

One Response to Jack Finney. Of Missing Persons. (Good Housekeeping, March 1955)

  1. Victoria Sheridan August 10, 2019 at 1:32 am #

    I read this story as a young teenager in the 60’s. It caught my imagination and became part of my mental landscape. It still feels true to me. It is a story of faith, or of faith and skepticism. Hold onto faith.

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