Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Harry Harrison's "The Streets of Ashkalon" aka "An Alien Agony" aka "The Streets of Askelon" (short story, religion, free): Religion creates sinners!

Color illustration of short story titled The Streets of Ashkalon aka An Alien Agony by Harry Harrison, from a Greek translationAmong the better stories I've seen so far from Harrison.

Readers familiar with Christianity will likely see nuances I could not see.

Story summary.

John Garth is a human trader who has been for the past year living among intelligent alien aborigines, amphibians called Weskers - the only human on this "Wesker's World". Then, one fine day, a Christian missionary arrives - one Father Mark of the Missionary Society of Brothers.

So we see the willing students that these aliens are torn between rational John & fanatic Mark. Since the aliens are intelligent & have learnt scientific method from John, they decide to give Mark's teachings an empirical test: he gets the Jesus Christ treatment on a cross! And now aliens are awaiting his resurrection...


  1. "In Trader Garth's books there is the universe which we have not seen, & it goes on without God, for he is mentioned nowhere... In Father Mark's books He is everywhere & nothing can go without Him. One of these must be right & the other must be wrong."
  2. "Nothing created God, since He is the Creator. He always was ..."

    "If He always was in existence - why cannot the universe have always been in existence? Without having had a Creator?"
  3. "Have faith, that is all you need. Just believe."

    "How can we believe without proof?"


  1. Wikipedia has this to say on the "The Streets of Ashkalon" title of this story: 'Its name is a reference to a passage from the Biblical 2 Samuel 1:20, which says "...proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon..." In the original context it was a part of a story in which Hebrews were instructed to try to keep the defeat of a couple of their war heroes from their enemies' knowledge'.

See also.

  1. Couple of illustrations for this story.

Collected in.

  1. Isaac Asimov & Martin H Greenberg (Eds)' "Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 24 (1962)".

Fact sheet.

First published: New Worlds Science Fiction, September 1962.
Rating: A.
Download full text from Shortcovers.
Credits: Shortcovers download link is via Free SF Reader; I haven't read this online version, however. Some of the bibliographic information here comes from ISFDB.
Related: Stories of Harry Harrison.