Monday, November 8, 2010

Algis Budrys' "The Stoker and the Stars" (as by John A Sentry) (short story, post-war, free): Familiarity breeds trust

Illustration by van Dongen accompanying the original publication in Astounding Science Fiction magazine of short story The Stoker and the Stars by Algis Budrys
When the war-like man first started going out to stars, he went out to conquer. He was smashed as a fly by gentler but far more powerful aliens. After surrender, man was allowed to keep Sol, & to do minor trading with some aliens in some nearby star-systems.

This is the story of an unnamed human war veteran, one of the few war survivors, seen through the eyes of a colleague. One fine day, he signed up for a dull & risky job on the spaceship Serenus at a Martian landing field - Serenus was then on its way to Alpha Centauri on a trading trip.

He jumped ship during trading, & signed up as crew with the aliens. Since then, he's been jumping ships all over galaxy, going farther & farther on all sorts of alien ships. One lone harmless man just wandering around. Effect of his wanderings on the attitudes of aliens towards mankind has, however, been remarkable...

See also.

  1. Robert Heinlein's "The Green Hills of Earth" (download old radio adaptation): One of the less interesting but rather famous stories of Heinlein, with the hero behaving within the spaceship in ways very similar to one in this story.

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, February 1959.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg, Manybooks, Feedbooks.
Download audio from LibriVox.
Rating: A.
Among the stories from Analog/Astounding issues edited by John W Campbell, Jr.
Related: Stories of Algis Budrys.