And Then There Were NoneSubmitted by dwalters on Thu, 07/24/2014 - 18:47
And Then There Were None is a short excerpt from the novel The Great Explosion written by deceased British author Eric Frank Russel in 1951 and first published in the long running Astounding Science Fiction periodicals. It has been shared here once before by user WalterKavenaugh in late 2012. I thought it deserved a fresh post - as it is a rather entertaining story.
For a moment, picture in your mind a crew of military astronauts from Earth landing on a planet that turns out to be populated with peaceful anarchists. What happens? Well, you'll just have to read it yourself.
[The ambassador] went silent as the ship closed in and the planet’s day-side face rapidly expanded. Then followed the usual circling and photographing. A lot of villages and small towns were to be seen, also cultivated areas of large extent. It was obvious that this planet—while by no means fully exploited—was in the hands of colonists who were energetic and numerically strong.
Relieved that life was full, abundant and apparently free from alien disease. Grayder brought the ship down onto the first hard-standing he saw. Its enormous mass landed feather-like on a long, low hump amid well-tended fields. Again all the ports became filled with faces as everyone had a look at the new world.
The midway airlock opened, the gangway went down. As before, exit was made in strict order of precedence starting with the Ambassador and finishing with Sergeant Major Bidworthy. Grouping near the bottom of the gangway they spent the first few moments absorbing sunshine and fresh air.
His Excellency scuffled the thick turf under his feet, plucked a blade of it grunting as he stooped. He was so constructed that the effort came close to an athletic feat and gave him a crick in the belly.
‘Earth-type grass. See that, Captain? Is it just a coincidence or did they bring seed with them?’
‘Could be either. Several grassy worlds are known. And almost all colonists went away loaded with seeds.’
‘It’s another touch of home, anyway. I think I’m going to like this place.’ The Ambassador gazed into the distance, doing it with pride of ownership. ‘Looks like there’s someone working over there. He’s using a little motor-cultivator with a pair of fat wheels. They can’t be very backward, it seems.
User dabooda's comment below:
"And Then There Were None" is just the last third of a really fine novel, The Great Explosion, by Eric Frank Russell. You can download the whole book for free, here, in several formats. It's one of the best anarchist novels around, one of my all-time favorites.