For years I've been searching for this story - maybe someone knows the author/title. In this dystopian future, people save up money to be connected to electrical experience-inducing machines for the rest of their lives. It is their goal. The protagonist, through (I believe) some quirk, gets either enough money or lucks into being hooked up, thereby effectively entering a nirvana-like artificially-created environment for years. The startling thing to me was the description of the connection process, whereby the subject's skin on their hands and feet was flayed to enable the nerve-endings to be permanently 'glued' to the electrical bar (for their hands) and plate (for their feet). I read this story in the early 80's I think, but it could be a bit later.
September 24th, 2011, 08:08 PM
Hey, key details that might have sped the successful identification of the story I was looking for (http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?p=661150). Definitely the same one... Spectator Sport.
October 7th, 2011, 03:08 PM
Rainswept - thank you! I ordered an old copy of Groff Conklin's 'Omnibus of Science Fiction' and the story is in there. Strangely, I thought it was much much longer, but it's only about 5 pages. Thanks for filling in the details that I had forgotten for 30 years. This story pre-dates such virtual-reality ideas like those mentioned in "The Matrix" by 40 years - amazing how prescient McDonald was!
October 8th, 2011, 09:42 PM
Yes, it takes longer to explain this one than it does to read it. Short and packed with incident & ideas... just the way I like 'em. :)