Saturday, October 13, 2012

Eric Frank Russell's "Brute Farce" (short story, diplomacy, humor, free): Meet a lateral thinker...

One of the illustrations by van Dongen accompanying the republication in Astounding Science Fiction magazine, British Edition, May 1958, of short story Brute Farce by Eric Frank Russell. Image shows the smart alec diplomat in the story wearing his supposedly ridiculous hat.
In my book, this is among the better stories of Russell. And apparently never reprinted. May be my tastes are different from most editors?

This is the kind of story Russell is best known for: a lone smart alec vs a less witful universe.

Story summary.

In a galactic Union of many species & worlds, two particular ones - Drenes & Salamards - have been corroding the atmosphere by their constant bickering & minor fights, both driven by ambitious, unscrupulous & corrupt leaders.

Sebastian Snodgrass is an unconventional diplomat assigned by Terra to solve the problem. Very funny story.

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, February 1958.
Download full text as part of the scans of Astounding (British edition), May 1958.
Rating: A.
Among the stories from Astounding/Analog issues edited by John Campbell.
Related: Stories of Eric Frank Russell (annotated & ranked list).