Short Story #63: The Slizzers by Jerome Bixby

Title:  The Slizzlers

Author:  Jerome Bixby


Science Fiction Stories - 1953 Magazine Cover
This first-person point of view story is told through "Jerome" who warns readers that Slizzers are everywhere and they look just like humans.  He warns that the Slizzers aren't the traditional monsters but that people need to be concerned about people that are regularly overtly nice to them because that Slizzers feed off the positive feelings in humans.  He retells the story of his visit to his friend, Joe.  He regularly plays cards with Joe and several others and usually walks away winning substantially but also feeling exhausted.  As the two begin playing cards, Jerome (or "Jerry") hits a winning streak and unexpectedly Jerome's eyes become enormous and Jerry is unable to move.  Joe's other friends arrive and see that he's started earlier.  There's not too much concern and they make Jerry forget what he saw while they play cards and let Jerry win--all the while feeding off his positive emotions.  Towards the end of the game, Jerry admits to feeling deja vu and Joe jokingly offers up the theory that make deja vu is the feeling of having one's mind wiped after monsters had been feeding on his emotions.  The game ends and they go home.  What follows is a series of letters between Jerry, Fred (his agent), and a publisher.  In the letters, Jerry offers up the idea for a story that describes exactly what happens to him and Fred (who was at the cards game and is a monster) dismisses it but Jerry forges ahead to get it published.  However, he explains he has to somehow figured out how the fictional Jerry is able to remember it all and then he decides that Joe didn't do a great job of wiping him clean and it was made worse with Joe's joke about the monsters.  The story ends with Jerry explaining that the end of the story he is writing should end in mid-sentence to imply the monsters finally got to him (and the story proceeds to end in mid-sentence).  


I definitely like Bixby's work.  He is a crafty fellow.  This story has a great meta-fictional element to it that I liked.  Bixby delivers the story all wrapped up with answers given almost as soon as they are asked.  The use of the "real world" Jerome Bixby coupled with the follow up letters and the ending explained as it was happened are well executed.  I think I'm going to have to read more of his work.

Short Story #63 out of 365
Rating: 5 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  3/1/2014
Source:  I purchased the short story for free on Amazon Kindle.  You can also find it on Project Gutenberg.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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