Twilight Zone 198712.jpg
Author Harry Turtledove
First Appearance Twilight Zone
Collected Kaleidoscope
Genre(s) Horror
Publication date December, 1987

"Crybaby" is a short story by Harry Turtledove, published in Twilight Zone December 1987; Kaleidoscope, Del Rey 1990 and; 3xT, Baen 2004. "Crybaby" is a psychological horror story (with no fantasy or science fiction elements), charting new father Pete Flowers' slow descent into paranoia as his colicky new born Doug erupts into fits of crying at increasingly inopportune times for Peter. Peter becomes convinced that Doug is deliberately interfering with his happiness, with a tragic result.

"Crybaby" is one of Turtledove's most effective stories. While it's clear that Peter is not in a healthy place mentally, Turtledove also provides subtle hints that perhaps Doug really is trying to make his father miserable. The story's ending further suggests this unsettling possibility, as Turtledove makes use of the horror cliché of an evil being passed to an unsuspecting victim after it's destroyed the protagonist.