Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fredric Brown's "The Star Mouse" (novelette, humor): When "Mitkey" mouse represented earth during first contact with aliens!

Quote from short story titled The Star Mouse by Fredric BrownThis is my fourth or fifth story by Brown - many of them first rate. Time to look for "Best of Fredric Brown", assuming such a book exists.

Story summary.

When Herr Professor Oberburger, "formerly of Vienna & Heidelberg" & now of Connecticut, built & sent the first rocketship to moon - with "Mitkey" mouse as a passenger, little did he suspect the ship will intersect the trajectory of a hidden alien world! Mitkey, of course, is named in honor of the "original Mitkey Mouse, by Valt Dissney."

You see, unknown to humans, there is "the 3/8-mile asteroid Prxl" that "frequently comes within a mere hundred thousand miles" of earth. It's inhabited by an elder race of tiny telepathic half-inch beings. Prxlians will pick the ship up with a tractor beam.

Mitkey will spend 15 months there. He'll be uplifted to human level of intelligence - so he can interpret the things he'd seen on earth, & brief aliens about the state of human civilization. Intelligence uplift has one caveat, though: contact with electricity is harmful to uplift.

He will be finally returned near the place of launch on earth - with two gifts: human-like speech, & designs of a machine that can uplift other mice. Aliens are hoping earth won't be a threat to them longer if it has two warring species at similar intelligence levels.

Some adventures of Mitkey on earth, & he's making a proposal to Herr Professor. Rename Australia as "Moustralia", & leave it to upliftd mice. In return, mice will help humans get rid of rats everywhere.

Professor is skeptical but promises to represent mice. Oh, and Prof had caged Mitkey's "vife" too - creatively named Minnie. Open cage with electric fencing. As Mitkey rushes to meet her, & touches electric fence... Gone is the uplift - he's back to being a normal mouse, & Australians get to keep their land!

Collected in.

  1. Raymond J Healy & J Francis McComas (Eds)' "Adventures in Time and Space".

See also.

  1. Murray Leinster's "Propagandist": First contact between humans & aliens is cordial rather than hostile because aliens can capture a pet dog first, & probe his mind with their machines, & learn enough about humans to inspire confidence in contact.

Fact sheet.

First published: Planet Stories, Spring 1942.
Rating: A.
Related: Stories of Fredric Brown; uplift stories; first contact stories (partial annotated list).


Krishnan said...

Googled this link

Krishnan said...

Yet another collection of Fredric Brown

Tinkoo said...

Thanks, Krishnan. I'll check them out.