Eric Frank Russell's "Postscript" aka "P.S." (short story, philosophy, free): How appearances affect our perception
Story summary.Dr Malcolm Harrison, now 77, had made a pen-pal 65 years ago with Gaily (aka Vandashanda), a "girl" who's a native of the far away world Reba. They've been good friends ever since, & still exchange letters.
One fine day, Doc accidentally stumbles into Jim Corlett, a much younger acquaintance in Space Service who'd recently returned from 17 years in space. Among the gossip exchanged is Jim's 2 days stop at Reba, & his repulsive reaction to its intelligent smelly native fungi! He even has brought back a picture of 6 natives - among them one Vandashanda!
How should the Doc be affected by the revelation that his long time friend "Gaily" is not a woman but smelly fungus?
Fact sheet.First published: Science-Fiction Plus, October 1953.
Download full text as part of the scans of the magazine it originally appeared in.
Related: Stories of Eric Frank Russell (annotated & ranked list); Tuesday Classics.