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Garth and the Visitor

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Author: Joseph Wesley (L.J. Stecher)
Published: 1958
Language: English
Wordcount: 4,769 / 21 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 83.5
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 1,129
Added to site: 2010.04.12 27317

If you could ask them, you might be greatly surprised—some tabus very urgently want to be broken!

Show Excerpt

alk, Garth realized what a tremendous task it must have been for one crippled man to repair landing damages. The houses must have been flattened and the trees shattered during the landing. But with thousands of years in which to work, even an injured man obviously could do much. At least, thought the boy compassionately, it must have given the old man something to do.

"How sorry he must have been," murmured Garth with sudden insight, "when the job was finally done."

* * * * *

Wandering through the museum, they came at last to a room filled with small hand tools.

"I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like them," said Garth.

"Those are weapons," answered The Visitor. "They are missile-throwing short-range weapons, and they are in tip-top working order. You just have to point the end with the hole in it at anything you want to kill, and pull that little lever there on the bottom. And quite a mess of things they can make, too, let me tell you."

"They seem very inef

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 2.7 from 3 reviews: ***
JoJo Biggins

Another interesting concept ruined by a quick and unsatisfying ending.

Sardo Weems

The ancient, final survivor of a colonization ship is interviewed by an alien for a high school newspaper. The aliens must be very different from humans if they actually listen to the advice of a visitor in the running of their planet.


This early Sci-Fi story explores the concept of the "Turing Test", Alan Turing's (the first person to write a computer program) definition of whether a computer can be considered sentient. He opined that if you were brought into a different room from the computer out of direct contact except for speech, it could be considered to have sentience if your discourse with it failed to identify it as "not human".

To what extent could such a sentient computer communicate with and modify the development of a young humanoid alien race, and could it itself be sufficiently "human" to age, and be weary of the process. Could it ask the very race it guided, and which worships it as a deity, for an end to it's own existance?



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Andrew Updegrove
When Andrew Updegrove isn't writing or predicting the next cyber-disaster, he's likely to be roaming the back country of the American southwest in his Jeep, scouting out settings for his next book. More than thirty years of experience as an attorney representing technology companies also serves as a great source of inspiration. As our Author of the Day, Updegrove chats about his journey as an author, reveals how some of the scenarios described in his books actually came true and talks about cybersecurity and how vulnerable we are.
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