A lifetime ago, in a college Science Fiction Literature class, I read the greatest short story. Sadly, I don't recall the name of the author, nor the title of the story. But it made a significant impression on me at the time, and since--often--I've thought about the story and it's premise.
In a very brief nutshell: In the fairly distant future (at least it was fairly distant in the mid-80s; now, maybe not so much), the world has grown so overpopulated that humans are placed in a state of suspended animation for six of seven days each week. During one assigned day each week, folks awaken and go to work, carry on relationships and do all the things people do. But for only 24 hours. Then, at midnight, back to the deep sleep.
The male lead in the story, whose assigned day is a Tuesday, gets caught up in something--I forget what--and can't reach his chamber by midnight, and arrives a little late. As he is arriving, though, he sees a beautiful woman, who is a Wednesday, coming out of her suspension chamber. And he falls immediately in love. The story is about his quest to be with her, against all the odds.
(If you know the title of this story, please tell me what it is! I recall only that it was written by a Mexican author.)
I've often thought this story would make a terrific movie, and during the past 20 years I've expected some Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks rep to find it and pitch it to the big production companies.
But, I'll keep waiting. There are lots more Mission Impossible stories to tell...
I think my fascination with this short story is one of two reasons I really liked The Lake House. In the movie, Kate (Sandra Bullock) and Alex (Keanue Reeves) strike up a romantic pen-pal relationship that transcended time. Separated by nearly two calendar years (Reeves is in 2004, Bullock in 2006) the pair struggle with loneliness and sadness, and find a soul mate in the other. Communicating only through letters (which, well, magically travel through time) they develop an affection that turns--quickly--from friendly to respect to romantic.
(It reminded me a bit too much of this sort of dating, but I digress...)
During the course of their relationship information is passed between them that cement their spiritual and emotional bond, and some of the actions they take change the life-course of the pair permanently, and for the better.
Sure, it is a strange premise that is a bit hard to swallow. But if you can get past that for a few moments, you might easily get swept up in the romance and emotion of the plot. (At least that's what I'm told my Mrs. Film Geek; I just thought the time travel idea was way cool!)
The second reason I really liked this movie:
For the first time in years, Keanue Reeves acted!
And, I wasn't distracted by his stilted line delivery, or his frozen-stiff body language. I enjoyed him in the role, and was happily surprised by that.
So, check it out I suppose. Mrs. Film Geek cried a lot during the movie, while I smiled sweetly more than a couple of times. So, it must be an emotional heart-tugger.
UPDATE: My friend Jackie Lantern has solved my 20-plus year mystery. The short story is by Phillip Jose Farmer (an American, not Mexican. I must have been thrown by the middle name), and the title is The Sliced-Crossways Only-On-Tuesdays World. It's a terrific read, if you get a chance.
Jackie, thanks so much! It really has been nagging thing for me for years.