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The Stoker and the Stars

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Author: Algirdas Jonas Budrys (John A. Sentry)
Published: 1959
Language: English
Wordcount: 5,431 / 22 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 90
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 1,671
Added to site: 2007.10.13 18497

When you've had your ears pinned back in a bowknot, it's sometimes hard to remember that an intelligent people has no respect for a whipped enemy... but does for a fairly beaten enemy.

Show Excerpt

. The Jeks had been giving us light machinery lately--probably we'd get two or three more loads, and then they'd begin giving us something else.

But I found that this trip wasn't quite the same. I found myself looking at the factor's post, and I realized for the first time that the Lud hadn't built it. It was a leftover from the old colonial human government. And the city on the horizon--men had built it; the touch of our architecture was on every building. I wondered why it had never occurred to me that this was so. It made the landfall different from all the others, somehow. It gave a new face to the entire planet.

* * * * *

Mac and I and some of the other crewmen went down on the field to handle the unloading. Jeks on self-propelled cargo lifts jockeyed among us, scooping up the loads as we unhooked the slings, bringing cases of machinery from their own ship. They sat atop their vehicles, lean and aloof, dashing in, whirling, shooting across the field to their ship and back like wild h

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 5 from 2 reviews: *****
Sardo Weems

Good story by Budrys. After an interstellar war (which Earth lost), contact with other stars is limited to trade. When a commercial freighter finds out what their new engine room mechanic used to be, they expect trouble with their old enemies. They get something else.

Nice characterizations all around, interesting plot twist.


An elegant little story from a modern master.



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Brian Blose
Brian Blose is a software developer and army veteran who enjoys reading and writing fiction that contains flawed heroes, unreliable narrators and moral dilemmas. His book, The Participants, is no exception and had readers glued to the story until the very last page. As our author of the day, Blose chats about the Heinsenberg uncertainty principle, how TV shows from the 90s inspired this book and gives us some behind-the-scenes insights in the creation of The Participants.
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