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The Silk and the Song

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Published: 1956
Language: English
Wordcount: 10,113 / 29 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 86.6
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 2,114
Added to site: 2008.01.18 19778

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

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4.4 from 5 reviews: *****
Dai Alanye

A fine, pointed tale which should have a sequel somewhere. Guess I'll search for Fontenay.

Paulo Respighi

A good story spoiled by typos. Set on a planet where the natives have enslaved the humans and use them as mounts or beasts of burden, one slave escapes his master and finds an enclave of free humans. The plot to free the rest of the humans finishes up the story.

The author uses creative spelling for the planet's inhabitants and vegetation, and that, mixed with a huge number of typos makes reading the story a bit of a chore.


Excellent short story of space exploration gone horribly wrong.

-Alan D Hopewell

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...."

John Spavin

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.



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