Looking for sci-fi short story re challenge of driving on high-speed roads as rite of passage

PhoebeAnn

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Trying to find a sci-fi short story I remember from childhood, ca. 1955-59, written in English. It centered on high-speed roads and the life-and-death challenge in driving on them. It was apparently required (either legally or socially) of young men approaching adulthood to make at least one trip on the roads as a rite of passage. It was OK to kill other drivers through your own skill and aggressiveness, and the famous drivers were well-known and feared. As our hero approached legal driving age, his family worried, but off he went. He ultimately faced the baddest driver out there, and killed him by maneuvering his vehicle so as to be able to fry his opponent with the jet exhaust from his car (my recollection is this was as much luck as skill). This of course made HIM the baddest guy out there, and you see how it changed him. The next day, as his family wondered if he was going to take transit to school (or wherever he was going), he said "No, I'm driving." ... end of story.

Alsmost certainly in paperback, probably a collection, no clue about authorship. I'll be going through whatever of my SciFi collection has survived the many moves since 1959, and if I find it I'll let you know.
 

dannymcg

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There's one by Harlan Ellison titled "(something) scenic route" that has a similar theme to your memories.

Also an Alan Dean Foster story "Why Johnny can't speed"

I don't think either of them is a full match, I need to think on this because it strikes a chord
 

Talos

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Damn. I can't recall the name, but I might have it in my collection. If it's the one I'm thinking of, it's a short story. A man's son is killed while driving on the Freeway. In this world/story, it's a free for all. Mad Max type setup where anything goes. Anyway, the man's son is killed and he goes to his garage and takes out his car (which is virtually a tank) and he goes forth to find his son's killer.
 

PaulMmn

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Damn. I can't recall the name, but I might have it in my collection. If it's the one I'm thinking of, it's a short story. A man's son is killed while driving on the Freeway. In this world/story, it's a free for all. Mad Max type setup where anything goes. Anyway, the man's son is killed and he goes to his garage and takes out his car (which is virtually a tank) and he goes forth to find his son's killer.
IIRC, the last line is "Drive offensively." Alan Dean Foster’s story “Why Johnny Can’t Speed”.
 

PhoebeAnn

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Nope, that's not it. I just re-read my initial post, and I don't think I can add anything to it. Still looking, not finding.
 

dannymcg

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Faint memories of a short story titled 'A day on Death Highway' but I can't dredge up more than that
 

PhoebeAnn

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Not 'A Day on Death Highway". Found a Redditt post from someone 4 years ago, who was looking for the same story, I'm pretty sure. Tried to contact the OP, but I couldn't pursue since I don't do Redditt.
 

dannymcg

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The Speeders by Arthur Toft?
I saw a mention of it somewhere online, tbh I couldn't find much about it ..

"written in 1970's, teens driving fast, dystopian future, fatalities"
 

PhoebeAnn

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One reviewer said 'Arthur Tofte's "The Speeders" proposes an interesting form of punishment, of the "grant their wishes to destroy them" variety...'
Another: 'In "The Speeders," Arthur Tofte gives us a new twist on joyriding that seemed very futuristic when I first read it -- daredevils who hack the controls of self-driving cars and go racing through traffic at deadly speeds.'
Neither of these rang any bells for me.
 
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