Tuesday, July 20, 2010

John W Campbell, Jr's "Forgetfulness" (as by Don A Stuart) (novelette, first contact): Technological progress involves forgetting old knowledge

Quote from short story Forgetfulness by John W Campbell, Jr
I wonder if van Vogt's fantastic story, "The Monster", was inspired by this? Both involve advanced aliens visiting earth, & trying to bully a single apparantly harmless & unarmed man, & ... getting surprised. van Vogt's version is by far the better of the two; that was the story that made me notice van Vogt.

Story summary.

A pioneering 100-strong alien expedition has arrived on earth ("Rhth", to aliens) from Pareeth. Millions of years ago, their distant animal ancestors were uplifted by humans, & perhaps they've come to pay homage to their benefactors.

What they find here are abandoned cities, a tiny village with virtually no technology, & what remains of the human race apparently living a primitive existence off land.

Aliens are respectful, for old times sake, & a bit arrogant too. Seun, a very humble man, shows them around the dead city, but humanity seems to have forgotten much of the technology that made this city tick.

Aliens go back home. Only to return with a colonizing expedition that has instructions to move the remnants of humanity off to some sort of reservation & use only minimal force, in case of resistance, because of its past glory.

Aliens are in for a shock, when they threaten to use this minimal force...

Collected in.

  1. Raymond J Healy & J Francis McComas (Eds)' "Adventures in Time and Space".

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, June 1937.
Rating: A.
Related: Stories of John Campbell (as by Don A Stuart); fiction from 1930s.


Larry said...

Hi there, where is the link to download the story?

Tinkoo said...

A 1937 story ought to be online, but I don't have its link & Google doesn't show any on first page.

I normally put "(..., free)" in title where the post contains a link.

Anonymous said...

http://arthursbookshelf.com/sci-fi/campbell/Forgetfulness-h.html Enjoy!