Keep Out

Cover image for


Author: Fredric Brown
Published: 1954
Language: English
Wordcount: 2,427 / 14 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 48.1
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 2,287
Added to site: 2009.06.18 24456

With no more room left on Earth, and with Mars hanging up there empty of life, somebody hit on the plan of starting a colony on the Red Planet. It meant changing the habits and physical structure of the immigrants, but that worked out fine. In fact, every possible factor was covered--except one of the flaws of human nature....

Show Excerpt

the secret of it. Adaptine, they called it first; then it got shortened to daptine. It let us adapt.

They explained it all to us when we were ten years old; I guess they thought we were too young to understand before then, although we knew a lot of it already. They told us just after we landed on Mars.

"You're home, children," the Head Teacher told us after we had gone into the glassite dome they'd built for us there. And he told us there'd be a special lecture for us that evening, an important one that we must all attend.

And that evening he told us the whole story and the whys and wherefores. He stood up before us. He had to wear a heated space suit and helmet, of course, because the temperature in the dome was comfortable for us but already freezing cold for him and the air was already too thin for him to breathe. His voice came to us by radio from inside his helmet.

"Children," he said, "you are home. This is Mars, the planet on which you will spend the r


Average Rating of 3.3 from 4 reviews: ****
JoJo Biggins

An interesting premise, but the ending is so abrupt that there's little enjoyment in the reading. Earthmen are transformed into Martians, who then turn on other Earthmen. End of story.

Sardo Weems

I enjoyed this story despite its brush with Lysenkoism, and the need of a magic chemical to allow aquired traits to be genetically transferred. It was tense and well-written. Worth a read.


This one will take only five minutes of your time, but will entertain nonetheless. Quick and to the point, with a twist at the end, "Keep Out" is jsut the thing if you're on the go and need a momentary sci-fi fix. It's not great sci-fi, but it'll do.


Like so many sci fi stories around this length, it is so short that readers can't really be disapointed. It is not as though you must invest a great deal of time to read it.

And also like other stories of this length it puts forth an entertaining premise and an interesting twist and then its over.

Another fun, short, bite-sized read to be found here.

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