Sunday, March 25, 2012

Eric Frank Russell's "I Am Nothing" (novelette): Ruthless dictator has a change of heart

There is a well known name in Indian history - Ashok. He lived a couple of centuries AD, was a ruthless warrior, & is today remembered as the ultimate pacifist - a change of heart that is said to have happened when he saw the ruins of one of his battles. He's supposed to be the man who first publicized Buddhism at a large enough scale. The official stamp of the government of India is a symbol taken from one of his monuments.

This is a similar story - a ruthless dictator who has never known love, & has destroyed a lot of communities & lives to his ambition, meets a distraught little girl, the only survivor of a village destroyed by his troops. And we witness may be the beginnings of a change of heart...


  1. "Only the strong knew there is but one cause of war. All the other multitudinous reasons recorded in the history books were not real reasons at all. They were nothing but plausible pretexts. There was but one root cause that persisted right back to the days of the jungle. When two monkeys want the same banana, that is war."
  2. "The feared are respected and that is proper and decent.

    If one can have nothing more."


  1. I was wondering if the author modeled the dictator after an alternate wishful image of Hitler? Or was there an Ashok-like emperor in European history too?

Collected in.

  1. Eric Frank Russell's "Somewhere a Voice".
  2. "Major Ingredients" (ed Rick Katze). 

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, July 1952.
Rating: B.
Among the stories edited by John Campbell for Astounding/Analog.
Related: Stories of Eric Frank Russell.