Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fredric Brown's "Earthmen Bearing Gifts" (flash fiction, first contact, free): First contact that never happened!

A bit bizarre & extreme "irresponsible scientists" story. But among the better flash fictions by anyone.

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).
Rating: A
Related: All first contact stories/annotated list/first contact stories' feed.


wolfkahn said...

Brown's stories are always very entertaining. I think he was the first great flash fiction writer.