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December 14th, 2010, 11:00 PM
I remember reading a post-apocalyptic science-fiction short story in school (11 or 12 years ago or so), but I can't remember any details about the author or title. It was really short, three or four pages maybe. It kind of sounds like it could have been written by Asimov (based on what little I know about him), but I haven't been able to find this story among his body of work so far.
I'm usually not much of a sci-fi enthusiast, but I'd really like to re-read this story as well as others by the same author.

The story was written from the perspective of a guy living in a tiny apartment inside a giant biosphere on an otherwise uninhabitable earth. Mankind has found a planet where regular life can be resumed, but seats in rockets taking people there were a rare commodity. Everyone left on earth lived in these "cells" and basically did nothing but work towards building more shuttles so everyone can get away from the now hostile planet.
The only goal of people's existence was to eventually find a "green card" in the mail, awarding them one of the scarce seats for the exodus. Those tickets were handed out based on the result of some kind of lottery. The protagonist's (and everyone else's) only hobby was watching the nightly rocket take-offs hauling those who got lucky to the newly colonized planet on TV.

One night, the protagonist notices that the rocket take-offs are staged, they just repeat the same clip of a single take-off over and over again.

Bear in mind that I might well have gotten some of the details wrong, I only read it once and that was over a decade ago. Thanks in advance for any input!

December 15th, 2010, 09:56 AM
It shares themes with The Penultimate Truth, Dick was a bit of a recycler, could it be a short story by him?

It also has shades of The unteleported Man (I'm cribbing here, not really sure).

Any clue what they're doing with the winners of the lottery? That might help others identify it.

December 15th, 2010, 11:25 AM
Thanks for your reply!

IIRC, the story never got into the fate of those who left. I believe the story ended after the protagonist discovers that it's all a big sham.

December 16th, 2010, 04:07 PM
Mmm, it sounds a bit like something from the Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, a collection of short stories. If it's not in that one it may be in another of his (many) collections as it does sound 'Bradbury-esque'.

January 8th, 2011, 11:26 PM
I don't know about the lottery theme, but fictitious launches for eager emigres are are key to "The Marching Morons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Marching_Morons)"