Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Everett B Cole's "Indirection" (short story, first contact, free): A method to keep state secrets

An illustration accompanying the original appearance in Astounding Science Fiction magazine, January 1956 issue, of short story Indirection by Everett B ColeWhile there are any number of stories that tell the story of a fiction author, or movies that tell about movie makers, this is by far the most engaging I've seen of the kind: science fiction authors as agents enrolled to keep state secrets!

Story summary.

Super-advanced galactic races have had their observers forever on earth, their memories now preserved in legends. To make things more interesting, humans were among the advanced races that somehow faced a long forgotten doomsday, & fell to primitive times; but they do retain something from this ancient glory.

Now one of these alien observers, masquerading as a human scholar in a remote rural community, has his cover exposed due to a naughty native servant. So what should the aliens do to ensure humanity is prepared for an eventual contact with them...

See also.

  1. Arthur Clarke & James Blish's "Guardian Angel": Another story where humanity needs a long time preparing for contact with aliens, known so far via legends. Specifics, however, are very different.

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, January 1956.
Download full text as part of Astounding issue it appeared in.
Rating: B.
Among the stories from Astounding/Analog issues edited by John Campbell.
Related: First contact fiction; Fiction from 1950s.