st take your father's advice, and don't break this one's wind."
The next few months were misery to Alan. He had the physical qualities Snuk liked in a mount, and Snuk rode him more frequently than any of his other saddle men.
Snuk liked to ride fast, and he ran Alan unmercifully. They would return at the end of a hot afternoon, Alan bathed in sweat and so tired his limbs trembled uncontrollably.
Besides, Snuk was an uncompromising master with more than a touch of cruelty in his make-up. He would whip Alan savagely for minor inattention, for failure to respond promptly to the reins, for speaking at all in his presence. Alan's back was soon covered with spur scars, and one eye often was half closed from a whip lash across the face.
In desperation, Alan sought the counsel of his old friend, Robb, whom he saw often now that he was in the men's field.
"There's nothing you can do," Robb said. "I just thank the Golden Star that Wiln rides me and I'll be too old for Snuk to ride whe
Excellent short story of space exploration gone horribly wrong.
I was twelve when I first read this (1968), and was first drawn to the fact that the character and I shared a name, right down to the spelling.
Also, Alan's struggles to be free moved me, and the wonder of the story itself stuck with me.
"Twinkle, twinkle, golden star
I can see you, though you're far...."
I read this short story in the mid-sixties and lost the book but never forgot the story line.
Amazing to find it again. The plot's quite simple so I won't give it away, suffice to say if you like the 50s and 60s science fiction where there's good story-telling, a beginning, a middle and an end, then take the time to read this.
It's a great little yarn that ends with the potential to spawn a 1,000-page follow-up.