Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Bertram Chandler's "Chance Encounter" (short story, first contact, free): Even friendly encounter with aliens can be deadly

Quote from short story titled Chance Encounter by A Bertram ChandlerNot among the better stories of Chandler, but with an ending I've not seen before. Science part is generally flimsy, but it's not a boring story.

Story summary.

People living at the edge of human worlds in galaxy ("Rim Worlds") are feeling neglected alienated & from earth. So they've chartered a galactic survey ship of their own to look for aliens they can trade in their immediate vicinity!

Of course, this survey ship encounters aliens on its mission. Not an alien world, but some kind of trading ship in open space. These aliens are pretty much hominid, including in their thought processes & general physiology.

Contact is no problem, given that both sides have good telepaths - male on human side, female on alien side. And these two are already in love!

In this atmosphere of cordiality, they agree to exchange gifts. Not in either ships, but in the intervening space. The two telepath lovers will physically meet there . But this meeting will turn out to be very violent, & show the absolute physical impossibility of the two sides ever getting in contact.

Fact sheet.

First published: New Worlds, March 1959.
Rating: A
Download full text.
This story is part of author's John Grimes' series.
Related: Stories of A Bertram Chandler.