Nobody at the Interstellar Space School had ever heard of Earth so naturally they treated Smith with contempt—or was it an innate fear?...
Smith said that he could appreciate them very well indeed, especially since, except for a few minor structural differences, they looked like women of Earth. It was a mistake, and the muscles in Jorak's cheeks began to twitch.
"I say they look exquisite, you say they look like women of Earth. Which is it, Earthsmith? Not both, surely--a contradiction in terms. I believe you're trying to provoke me."
Smith sighed. He wanted no trouble--they had spent a year with him on Earth, indoctrinating that. He was to be a paragon at the school, as Earth's first student there, he had to be a paragon--even if he turned out to be more awkward in this situation than the farmer on Earth everyone had called Rube.
"I think I will go to sleep," Smith said.
"Why, don't you men of Earth ever eat, Smith?"
Smith said yes, they ate, but he wasn't very hungry now. As a matter of fact, he was ravenously hungry, but he did not relish the idea of going to some public eating place either
The first Earthling applies to an interstellar university at a time when Earth had withdrawn contact with its former colonies and become a backwater. He struggles with rules, social customs, instruction, personalities--pretty much every aspect of his education.
Smith and the woman Geria are good characters who play off each other well, and the enemy Jorak is detestable.
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