Strange Survival in Jerome Bixby’s “It’s A Good Life”

At Weird Fiction Review, I discuss science fiction author Jerome Bixby’s 1953 short story, “It’s a Good Life.” Read the story (it’s utterly haunting), then check out my review:


But “It’s a Good Life” – the story that elevated Bixby from forgettable pulp scribbler to science fiction grand master – well, it’s different. If Bixby’s other stories began as tales told around the campfire, this one began with a cold sweat in the middle of the night. “It’s a Good Life” is a slowly building nightmare; each layer is a new realization of powerlessness and despair.

The story centers on Anthony, a psychic three-year-old who possesses the power to change the world with his thoughts. Anthony’s unfortunate family and neighbors do all they can to avoid attracting his notice. Mostly, this means living in a constant state of bland cheer, not just in word, but also in mind.