Cassandra (short story)

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Author C. J. Cherryh
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Science fiction
Published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
Publication type Periodical
Publisher Mercury Publications
Media type Print (magazine)
Publication date 1978

"Cassandra" is a science fiction short story by American science fiction and fantasy author C. J. Cherryh. It was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in October 1978, and won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1979. It was only her second published short story, after "The Dark King" (1977).


C. J. Cherryh is best known for her science fiction and fantasy novels, and the bulk of her work comprises novels. Short story writing is an activity she generally only undertakes upon request or when an idea surfaces that does not lend itself to a novel. Receiving a Hugo Award for this story therefore came as a complete surprise to Cherryh.[1]

This short story is Cherryh's modern take on the Greek mythological figure Cassandra who had the gift of prophecy.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

The gift of prescience, rather than a blessing, is a curse for Cassandra that she cannot control. She sees the future all the time and cannot turn it off. She leaves her burning apartment each morning and heads for the bombed-out coffee shop, passing charred corpses on the way. She knows it's going to happen but can do nothing about it. When the bombs do come and fire engulfs the city, her foresight actually saves her, but at what cost? She is the sole beneficiary of her misfortune in an otherwise non-functional existence.

Publication history[edit]

Date Title Language Type
October 1978 The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction English Magazine
May 1979 The 1979 Annual World's Best SF English Anthology
January 1980 Science Fiction Story Reader 13 German Anthology
May 1980 Fiction French Magazine
August 1980 Univers 1980 French Anthology
August 1980 Nebula Winners Fourteen English Anthology
October 1981 Anthologie de la littérature de Science-Fiction French Anthology
1983 Fantastyka 3(6) marzec 1983 Polish Magazine
December 1984 Wollheim's World's Best SF: Series Eight English Anthology
1984 I Premi Hugo: 1976–1983 Italian Anthology
January 1985 Science Fiction Jubiläums Band: 25 Jahre Heyne Science Fiction & Fantasy, 1960–1985 German Anthology
April 1985 The Hugo Winners, Volume 4: 1976–1979 English Anthology
January 1986 Visible Light English Collection
June 1987 The Dark Void English Anthology
June 1987 Cosmos XXI: întîmplări dintr-un univers al păcii Romanian Anthology
August 1994 The SF Collection English Anthology
July 1995 Women of Wonder, the Contemporary Years: Science Fiction by Women from the 1970s to the 1990s English Anthology
April 1998 The Unexplained: Stories of the Paranormal English Anthology
October 2000 Une histoire de la science-fiction – 3: 1958–1981: L'expansion French Anthology
February 2004 The Collected Short Fiction of C. J. Cherryh English Collection
October 2010 The Last Man Anthology: Tales of Catastrophe, Disaster, and Woe English Anthology
March 2014 Galaxy's Edge Magazine English Magazine
September 2016 Women of Futures Past English Anthology

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cherryh, C. J. (2004). "Introduction". The Collected Short Fiction of C. J. Cherryh. DAW Books. p. x. ISBN 0-7564-0217-4. 
  2. ^ "Cassandra". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  3. ^ "1979 Hugo Awards". Locus. Archived from the original on 2012-01-28. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  4. ^ "1979 Nebula Awards". Locus. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  5. ^ "1979 Locus Awards". Locus. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  6. ^ "1999 Locus All-Time Poll". Locus. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 

Cited work[edit]

External links[edit]