Fredric Brown's "Earthmen Bearing Gifts" (flash fiction, first contact, free): First contact that never happened!
Story summary.Ancient dying race of Martians is down to 900 people living in a single city. Among their unusual abilities is telepathy - they can remotely sense human minds on earth, but not powerful enough to make earthmen recognize of their existence or communicate back. They've been sensing human plans for Mars, & welcome it - seeing their own salvation in contact.
Earthmen's plans involve initially a probe in the form of a rocket equipped with a bomb. Analysis of light from this explosion will provide human scientists on earth with atmosphere & soil data. Manned landings will come later.
Not hard to imagine the results of explosion!
Fact sheet.First published: Galaxy magazine, June 1960.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg/Manybooks (via QuasarDragon).
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