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Vital Ingredient

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Published: 1952
Language: English
Wordcount: 3,994 / 19 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 58.1
LoC Category: PZ
Downloads: 1,001
Added to site: 2009.11.17 25825

It is man's most precious possession—no living thing can exist without it. But when they gave it to Orville, it killed him. For the answer, read 1/M.

Show Excerpt

But as far as I can see we've forgotten nothing, have we, Toolls?"

"Nothing," Toolls answered. "No--we forgot nothing."

* * * * *

But Toolls was wrong. They had forgotten one thing. A minor detail, relatively....

On Toolls' world his race, in the course of its evolution, had adjusted itself to its own particular environment. Logically, the final result was that they evolved into beings best able to survive in that environment. As such their food--a "heavy," highly concentrated food--was ideally suited to supply the needs of their "heavy," tremendously avid organisms.

Orville Pollnow had no such food available. His body--no larger than before--had an Earth mass of one hundred and eighty thousand pounds. One hundred and eighty thousand pounds--the weight of twelve hundred average sized men--of fiercely burning, intense virility. Even continuous eating--of his own world's food--could not supply the demands of that body.

Twenty-four hours after the aliens left, Pollnow wa

Reader Reviews

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

In repairing a human they damaged during capture, the aliens fixed him to their standards. Mildly amusing interstellar screw-up. At the end of the story I was unable to determine what the vital ingredient was.


Okay sci-fi short story about aliens who try to restore health to a human they have inadvertently injured. Not really remarkable in any way, just an amusing read.



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