Light of other days

Plot Summary

The narrator is touring north-west Scotland with his wife Selina; their relationship is in trouble, and news of her pregnancy has made it worse. Their holiday, intended to improve the situation, has not been a success. Travelling through a remote area they find a place that sells panes of slow glass. This is glass that light takes a long time to pass through, even years, so that a pane of this glass shows a scene from the past. People buy slow glass that has been placed in picturesque scenery so that later they can enjoy the view in their homes or workplaces. The best quality slow glass is priced by its "thickness", corresponding to the number of years of scenic view contained within it. The narrator thinks that an extravagant idea like buying slow glass might set right his relationship with Selina.

Reception

"Light of Other Days" was shortlisted for the Nebula Award for Best Short Story in 1966, and for the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1967.

Calling the story a classic, Algis Budrys said that it "tends to make people weep".

Included in this book:

the tale of the dueling neurosurgeons