Honath and his fellow arch-doubters did not believe in the Giants, and for this they were cast into Hell. And when survival depended upon unwavering faith in their beliefs, they saw that there were Giants, after all....
hat did it matter? Why should he bear witness against the young man? It would not help the others, and if Seth wanted to lie his way out of Hell, he might as well be given the chance.
The Spokesman was looking down at Seth with the identical expression of outraged disbelief which he had first bent upon Honath. "Who was it cut the blasphemies into the hardwood tree, by the house of Hosi the Lawgiver?" he demanded. "Sharp needles were at work there, and there are witnesses to say that your hands held them."
"Needles found in your house fit the furrows, Seth."
"They were not mine--or they were stolen! I demand to be freed!"
"You will be freed," the Spokesman said coldly. There was no possible doubt as to what he meant. Seth began to weep and to shout at the same time. Hands closed over his mouth again. "Mathild the Forager, your plea may be heard."
The young woman stood up hesitantly. Her fur was nearly dry now, but she was still shivering.
Blish is a terrific writer, and this is a good example of his skill with an offbeat SF tale about the spreading of the human race.
I ordinarily don't give stars since it's difficult to properly evaluate by such a crude method. In this case, however…
(1954) Sci-fi (Other world culture) / Short story (Magazine)
From 'If Worlds of Science Fiction' July 1954.
R: * * * *
A good story set on an Earthlike, but alien planet among a civilization living in the treetops. Five blasphemers are banished to the jungle floor where monsters live. They have to learn to survive.
The "humans'" culture is nicely drawn, as is the ecology of the place. The writing almost makes up for the implausible plot twist at the end.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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