Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Judith Merril's "Exile from Space" (novelette, first contact, free): Human girl, raised by aliens, returns home

A very well done story, though with a familiar trope: lone, nearly human looking, alien stranded on earth. One of the better known stories of the kind is Murray Leinster's "The Strange Case of John Kingman".

Story summary.

Strictly speaking, it's not a first contact story; it's about the adventures of a human girl who's returned to earth for the first time since she was taken away by aliens as a baby. And raised lovingly by them. Aliens who'd accidentally killed her parents.

It's also commentary on our society - by using the device of seeing it through the girl with alien outlook. Sometimes quite humorous.

And there is a love story too. She falling in love with a normal man here, & their ambiguous happy ending.


  1. On typical drivers on a crowded road: "You'd think anybody who could build an automobile—let alone an atom bomb--could drive one easily enough. Especially with a lifetime to learn in. Maybe they just like to live dangerously."
  2. "a true metropolitan area" "means--on Earth--that it is dirtier, more crowded, far less pleasant to look at or live in, and a great deal more convenient and efficient to do business in."
  3. "when dealing with humans, one must always allow for waste time."
  4. Her problem with contraceptives: "The idea of pursuing a course of action whose sole motivation was the procreative urge, and simultaneously to decide by an act of will to refuse to procreate."

Fact sheet.

First published: Fantastic Universe, November 1956.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg, Manybooks, Feedbooks.
Rating: A.
Related: Stories of Judith Merril; First contact fiction; Fiction from 1950s.