The Unlearned

Cover image for


Published: 1954
Language: English
Wordcount: 15,923 / 53 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 74.5
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 1,197
Added to site: 2010.06.09 28098

The scientists of Rykeman III were conceded by all the galactic members to be supreme in scientific achievement. Now the Rykes were going to share their vast knowledge with the scientists of Earth. To any question they would supply an answer—for a price. And Hockley, of all Earth's scientists, was the stubborn one who wanted to weigh the answers with the costs....

Show Excerpt

re toy to the Rykes, but Hockley felt a fierce pride in its creation. Maybe that was childish. Maybe his whole feeling about the Lab was childish. Perhaps the time had come to give up childish things and take upon themselves adulthood.

But looking across the city at the concrete spire of the gammatron, he didn't believe it.

He heard the clank of metal chairs as a couple of clerks began bringing them in. Then there was the clink of glassware. He turned to see Miss Cardston stiffly indicating a spot on the library table for the glasses and the frosty bottles.

Hockley walked slowly to the table and filled one of the glasses. He raised it slowly. "It's been a short life but a merry one, gentlemen." He swallowed the contents of the glass too quickly and returned to his desk.

"You don't sound very happy about the whole thing," said Mortenson, a chemist who wore a neat, silvery mustache.

"Are you overjoyed," said Hockley, "that we are to swap the National Lab for a bottomless encyc


Average Rating of 3.5 from 2 reviews: ****
Paulo Respighi

An interesting story. Aliens with advanced science offer the Earth the answers to any scientific question. The price is steep. The only way the Earth could afford it would be to shut down all research labs and divert the money. After all, why would we need research if all we have to do is ask a question?

It's almost a philosophical story. The writing is good enough, and the characters can be told apart. Of course, everyone in the story is male.

Henry L. Ratliff

Plot bullets

  • The scientists of a certain planet are known throughout the galaxy as the best.
  • They have offered, for a price, to give that knowledge to any other planet.
  • Earth has a scientific lavatory, and that will have to shut down, if this offer is taken.
  • You don't want this to happen. You take pride in your scientific methods and practices.

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