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And All the Earth a Grave

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Author: Carroll M. Capps (C.C. MacApp)
Published: 1963
Language: English
Wordcount: 3,566 / 18 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 53.7
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 5,827
Added to site: 2007.10.23 18660

There's nothing wrong with dying--it just hasn't ever had the proper sales pitch!

Show Excerpt

n them. He carried them (they were the budget for the coming fiscal year) into his office, staggering a little on the way, and dropped dazedly into his chair. They showed the budget for his own department as exactly one hundred times what he'd been expecting. That is to say, fifty times what he'd put in for.

When the initial shock began to wear off, his face assumed an expression of intense thought. In about five minutes he leaped from his chair, dashed out of the office with a shouted syllable or two for his secretary, and got his car out of the parking lot. At home, he tossed clothes into a travelling bag and barged toward the door, giving his wife a quick kiss and an equally quick explanation. He didn't bother to call the airport. He meant to be on the next plane east, and no nonsense about it....

* * * * *

With one thing and another, the economy hadn't been exactly in overdrive that year, and predictions for the Christmas season were gloomy. Early retail figures bore them out. Gift buying dribbled along feebly until Thanksgivin

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4.2 from 5 reviews: *****
Henry L. Ratliff

(1963) Humor (Satire) / Sci-fi (Tech gone wrong) / Short story (Magazine)

From 'Galaxy Science Fiction' December 1963.

R: * * * *

Plot bullets

  • A computer goes wacky and gives a coffin manufacturer an unlimited advertising budget.

  • The advertising is powerful and everyone must have a coffin.

  • The coffins become a desired destination, not just a final one.

Sardo Weems

The advertising division of a coffin manufacturer finds that a computer glitch increased its budget 100 times. Rather than correct the error, they spend the money, resulting in the end of an economic downturn, boom times for the U.S., the collapse of political systems all over the world, and the end of human life on Earth. The hint of beastiality at the end is a pleasing addition.

A great satire on advertising and business. Recommended.


Short and amusing, even if highly improbable. Had a Vonnegut-like feel to it.


I think it was good. It was unusal, people die happily, or so it would seem. It is a crazy story involving coffins, sales, and well, it is short. You can give it a read. It is kind of fun and interesting.


An interestingly twisted idea. Seems to take a satirical view on how we are so easily persuaded to think how advirtisers want us to think and how it is so easy to get caught in mass hysteria.



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