Judas in Sci Fi

When it comes to science fiction, there’s nothing better than the old stuff, in my opinion. It has a difference spirit about it. Often writers demonstrate how well read they were by making references to great literature, poetry, and even Scripture. The stories are better and contain fun and thought provoking surprises.

Recently I read a collection of 16 science fiction stories by Robert F. Young in a book published in the mid 1960’s called The Worlds of Robert F. Young. Various science fiction magazines carried the stories in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Almost none of those magazines exists today.

One story near the end of Young’s collection is called “A Drink of Darkness.” An alcoholic named Chris meets a gaunt man who takes him to a back alley bar and buys him a drink. The drink renders Chris unconscious. When he comes to, he and the gaunt man are walking down a corridor lit by stars, heading toward a shining mountain. On either side of the corridor are doors where Chris revisits moments from his past.

When they reach the mountain, Chris asks the gaunt man what this is all about. The man assures him he’s not Mr. Death, as Chris has been thinking all along. He says Chris knows him well, which he denies. But soon enough the story will reveal how well we all know him.

The man tells him he has the opportunity to relive a pivotal moment of his life, and if he does it differently and correctly, his life will be extended.

Chris chooses the key moment that sent him further into alcoholism and away from his family. He has no memory of the corridor of stars or the gaunt man, but he sees the gaunt man at a crucial point in time. Thinking he’s confronted by a vision of Mr. Death, he empties the whiskey bottle that tempted him. Things are different for him now. We assume all will be better for Chris.

Then we, the reader, see the gaunt man resolve once again to try his hand at changing his own crucial moment. He has tried it thousands of times before without success. He finds himself in a temple with the high priest who hands him a leather bag containing 30 pieces of silver. He agrees to point out the One they’re looking for by giving Him a kiss.

Matthew 26:14-16–Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

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