You may be looking for the node Life line. This node is about some old SF story.

Life-Line is Robert Heinlein's first story ever. It was written in 1939, because Heinlein needed money. Thrilling Wonder Stories ran a contest for amateur writers, with a $50 grand prize ($50 was worth a lot more in those days). Heinlein wrote this short story, and sent it off to Astounding (another SF pulp), on the theory that they would not be swamped with hundreds of amateurish stories. This turned out to be a good move, as Astounding bought the story for $70.

It's not really much of a story.

A scientist invents a machine that can predict the day any given person will die. He is denounced as a charlatan by the scientific community -- so he goes into business on his own, charging people to predict the day of their death. His machine does work, and this upsets both the scientists and the insurance industry (people keep taking out large policies just before they die), and both parties try to put him out of business.

Spoiler Warning The ending is a little bit flat -- the inventor is murdered (we don't find out who dunnit), the machine is destroyed, and we get the impression that that is that. The other scientists are not interested in such technology, so it is likely that the machine will not be re-invented any time soon. End Spoiler

I don't think this story has much to analyse -- there are two basic themes; science is dogmatic, and knowing your future is a mixed blessing at best. It's a nice read, but nothing special. It's very good for a first story, but Heinlein does a lot better later on.

You can find this story in the collections The Man Who Sold The Moon, The Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein, The Past Through Tomorrow, and Expanded Universe. It first appeared in Astounding, August 1939 issue.

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