Friday, February 1, 2013

Poul Anderson's "The Helping Hand" (novelette, diplomacy, free)

This one might be read differently in rich vs poor countries. It's about the real nature of the so called "aid" given by rich countries to poor ones. While the term has practically vanished from India during the last 2 decades, local readers should find a lot here that strikes a cord.

This story is about a rich & powerful country wanting, altruistically, it would seem, to give "aid" for reconstruction to two poor countries that have just been through a war & are both in bad shape. One country accepts it; other doesn't. Story looks at the evolution of these two countries - which one comes out better off 50 years down the line, one that accepts the aid or the one that refuses it.

Countries involved are actually star faring empires. Earth is the rich one. Two warring parties are the alien worlds of Cundaloa & Skontar.

See also.

  1. L Sprague de Camp's "Finished" (download as part of a larger package): Another story that deals with a rich vs poor country issue that used to be an emotional one in India till 1980s, even a bit in 1990s, but is rarely heard of now - technology sanctions as a diplomatic policy tool.

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, May 1950.
Read online at BookReader, or download full text as part of the scans of Astounding (British ed), June 1951.
Rating: A.
Nominated for Retro Hugo Award in 2001.
Among the stories from Astounding/Analog issues edited by John Campbell.
Related: Stories of Poul Anderson.