Jerome Bixby's The Man from Earth
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Author note: Book is based on the motion picture The Man from Earth by Jerome Bixby
After history professor John Oldman unexpectedly resigns from the University, his startled colleagues impulsively invite themselves to his home, pressing him for an explanation. But they re shocked to hear his reason for premature retirement: John claims he must move on because he is immortal, and cannot stay in one place for more than ten years without his secret being discovered. Tempers rise and emotions flow as John s fellow professors attempt to poke holes in his story, but it soon becomes clear that his tale is as impossible to disprove as it is to verify. What starts out as a friendly gathering soon builds to an unexpected and shattering climax.
Acclaimed science fiction writer Jerome Bixby writer of the original Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, originally conceived this story back in the early 1960 s. It would come to be his last great work.
photograph, but it’s packed. EDITH. I won’t make the obvious nasty crack about more unwashed cavemen. JOHN. Actually bathing was the style until the Middle Ages, when the church said removing God’s dirt was sinful. So they got sewn into their underwear in October and peeled out of it in April. EDITH. You say you just happened. I don’t believe that. If your story’s true, why did God allow you to happen? (Art’s expression says: “Ask him.”) DAN. That raises an interesting
words.) JOHN (cont’d) C’mon, Will – (JOHN continues chest compression, then starts mouth to mouth.) (SANDY returns. Watches from the doorway, crying, as JOHN continues futilely, pumping, counting, breathing…) (And then, at last …JOHN gives up. Caresses Gruber’s brow.) JOHN (cont’d) Willy… (JOHN is on the verge of tears …finally, after all these years, a new experience. Not a good feeling.) (SANDY raises her head to gasp in air. Crying. As she lowers her head,
fortune to our friend and colleague, John Oldman. May he find undeserved bliss, wherever he goes. Skoal! (They drink.) (Moment of silence. Now what?) ART. Well, John, we’re all sorry to see you go. Truly. Now what do we do with the rest of the afternoon? HARRY. Anyone got a good topic? (DAN has been looking over the bow again. Now he spots something in one of the boxes nearby.) DAN. Like this, maybe. (DAN takes the item from the box, turns it over in his hand.
I can’t give you forever. SANDY. How long is forever? Who ever really has it? My parents split up before I was born! Mom’s next marriage lasted a whole three years. And then there’s illness and death and acts of God. (off John’s silence) No one knows how long they have. Or how little. (takes his hand) I love you. And I’ll take whatever you can give. JOHN. (soft – blunt) Like ten years? (After a few moments, they cross back to the house.) (As JOHN and SANDY enter: HARRY waiting
truck.) (DAN is staring at JOHN.) DAN. You’re donating it? Everything? JOHN. I’ll get more. EDITH. Do you always travel this light? JOHN. Only way to move. (A brief silence, as all realize just how completely JOHN is severing his ties. Nothing to weigh him down. Finally:) GRUBER. (to JOHN) You’ve talked a good deal about your extraordinary amount of living. What do you think of dying, John? Do you fear death? JOHN. Who wouldn’t? GRUBER. How did