Some responses to Omelas

“one does not simply walk away from Omelas” (—Frumiosa, in a comment at The Toast)

In 2021, I posted a blog post linking to a few Omelas-related stories. Over time, I encountered more such stories; eventually I decided to turn the list into a page that I can update over time.

There’ve been many many nonfiction articles about Omelas, but the pieces that I’m linking to here are all presented as fiction. This is not a complete list; I know of at least two stories that I’ve left off of this list, for various reasons. That said, I don’t endorse everything that the listed works say.

Content warnings for many horrible things being done to kids and adults. (Even one of the story titles listed below includes violent imagery.)

“The Ones Who Pickaback Away from Omelets,” by Ruth Berman
I know nothing about this other than that it was published in Space and Time in 1982.
After We Walked Away,” by Erica L Satifka
Two of the people who walked away try to live in the mundane world. Published in Apex in 2016.
“The Ones Who Know Where They Are Going,” by Sarah Pinsker
I haven’t read this one. Published in Asimov’s in March, 2017.
Multiple brief takes on Omelas, by Moriwen
No longer available in its original Tumblr location; link is to a Wayback Machine archived version. Published in January, 2018.
A House by the Sea,” by P. H. Lee
What happens to the Omelas child when they get older? “Would you believe me if I told you that they all live together in a house by the sea?” Published in Uncanny’s Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction issue, in September, 2018.
The Ones Who Stay and Fight,” by N. K. Jemisin
Originally published in How Long ’Til Black Future Month?, in November, 2018. (…This story is not to be confused with the Omelas response piece with nearly the same title that was written by W.S. in 2016, which I’m not including in this list.)
The Ones Who Don’t Walk Away,” by Sean Vivier
About some of the people who stay. Published in Daily Science Fiction in August, 2020.
And the Ones Who Walk In,” by Sarah Avery
Some people might want to go toward Omelas instead of away from it. Published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies in December, 2020.
My First and Last Proclamation as the Child Freed and Crowned Queen of Omelas,” by Palimrya
A poem, published in Prismatica in February, 2021.
Omelas Revisited: A Dystopian Fantasy Novella,” by C. S. Johnson
I haven’t read this one. It was originally published in three installments (with titles like “The Ones Who See” and “The Ones Who Fight”) in a trilogy of anthologies in 2020, then reprinted as a full novella in June, 2021.
The Ones Who Take The Train To Omelas,” by John Holbo
Posted in November, 2021 (I think). Also: Omelas travel posters. (Holbo also provides a page of notes talking about the underpinnings of what he was trying to do here.)
The Ones Who Walk Away from the Ones Who Walk Away,” by David Gerrold
An expedition sets out for the fabled ruined city. Published in Asimov’s in November, 2021. Linked-to version is paywalled.
“Lift Us Where Suffering Cannot Reach,” Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, season 1, episode 6
A Trek adaptation of Omelas. Aired in June, 2022.
The Odyssey Problem,” by Chris Willrich
What happens when a starship from the Federated Cultural Republic rescues the child from the Room. Published in Clarkesworld in June, 2022.
Walkin’ Away from Omelas,” lyrics by Benjamin Newman
Posted in May, 2023. To the tune of “Walkin’ Away from Caroline,” by Dave Carter.
The Ones Who Come Back to Heal,” by Cynthia Gómez
After Omelas changes, healers attempt to heal the child. Published in Strange Horizons in July, 2023.
Why Don’t We Just Kill the Kid in the Omelas Hole,” by Isabel J. Kim
Published in Clarkesworld in 2024.
“The Ones Who Walked Away,” by Beth Kinderman
A song, not yet published as far as I can tell (as of 2024). “I will not cede this city to the ones who look the other way / by walking with the ones who walked away.”