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Earthmen Bearing Gifts, by Fredric Brown EARTHMEN BEARING GIFTS FREDERIC BROWN Earthmen Bearing Gifts, by Fredric Brown The Project Gutenberg EBook of Earthmen Bearing Gifts, by Fredric Brown This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Earthmen Bearing Gifts Author: Fredric Brown Release Date: September 4, 2008 [EBook #26521] Language: English Character set encoding: ASCII *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK EARTHMEN BEARING GIFTS *** Produced by Greg Weeks, David Wilson and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net + + Transcriber's note. This story was published in Galaxy magazine, June 1960. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence Earthmen Bearing Gifts, by Fredric Brown that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed. Mars had gifts to offer and Earth had much in return— if delivery could be arranged! EARTHMEN BEARING GIFTS By FREDRIC BROWN [Illustration] Illustrated by CARTER Dhar Ry sat alone in his room, meditating. From outside the door he caught a thought wave equivalent to a knock, and, glancing at the door, he willed it to slide open. It opened. "Enter, my friend," he said. He could have projected the idea telepathically; but with only two persons present, speech was more polite. Ejon Khee entered. "You are up late tonight, my leader," he said. "Yes, Khee. Within an hour the Earth rocket is due to land, and I wish to see it. Yes, I know, it will land a thousand miles away, if their calculations are correct. Beyond the horizon. But if it lands even twice that far the flash of the atomic explosion should be visible. And I have waited long for first contact. For even though no Earthman will be on that rocket, it will still be first contact— for them. Of course our telepath teams have been reading their thoughts for many centuries, but— this will be the first physical contact between Mars and Earth." Khee made himself comfortable on one of the low chairs. "True," he said. "I have not followed recent reports too closely, though. Why are they using an atomic warhead? I know they suppose our planet is uninhabited, but still-" "They will watch the flash through their lunar telescopes and get a— what do they call it?— a spectroscopic analysis. That will tell them more than they know now (or think they know; much of it is erroneous) about the atmosphere of our planet and the composition of its surface. It is— call it a sighting shot, Khee. They'll be here in person within a few oppositions. And then—" Mars was holding out, waiting for Earth to come. What was left of Mars, that is; this one small city of about nine hundred beings. The civilization of Mars was older than that of Earth, but it was a dying one. This was what remained of it: one city, nine hundred people. They were waiting for Earth to make contact, for a selfish reason and for an unselfish one. Martian civilization had developed in a quite different direction from that of Earth. It had developed no important knowledge of the physical sciences, no technology. But it had developed social sciences to the point where there had not been a single crime, let alone a war, on Mars for fifty thousand years. And it had developed fully the parapsychological sciences of the mind, which Earth was just beginning to discover. Mars could teach Earth much. How to avoid crime and war to begin with. Beyond those simple things lay telepathy, telekinesis, empathy.... Earthmen Bearing Gifts, by Fredric Brown 3 And Earth would, Mars hoped, teach them something even more valuable to Mars: how, by science and technology— which it was too late for Mars to develop now, even if they had the type of minds which would enable them to develop these things— to restore and rehabilitate a dying planet, so that an otherwise dying race might live and multiply again. Each planet would gain greatly, and neither would lose. And tonight was the night when Earth would make its first sighting shot. Its next shot, a rocket containing Earthmen, or at least an Earthman, would be at the next opposition, two Earth years, or roughly four Martian years, hence. The Martians knew this, because their teams of telepaths were able to catch at least some of the thoughts of Earthmen, enough to know their plans. Unfortunately, at that distance, the connection was one-way. Mars could not ask Earth to hurry its program. Or tell Earth scientists the facts about Mars' composition and atmosphere which would have made this preliminary shot unnecessary. Tonight Ry, the leader (as nearly as the Martian word can be translated), and Khee, his administrative assistant and closest friend, sat and meditated together until the time was near. Then they drank a toast to the future— in a beverage based on menthol, which had the same effect on Martians as alcohol on Earthmen— and climbed to the roof of the building in which they had been sitting. They watched toward the north, where the rocket should land. The stars shone brilliantly and unwinkingly through the atmosphere. In Observatory No. 1 on Earth's moon, Rog Everett, his eye at the eyepiece of the spotter scope, said triumphantly, "Thar she blew, Willie. And now, as soon as the films are developed, we'll know the score on that old planet Mars." He straightened up— there'd be no more to see now— and he and Willie Sanger shook hands solemnly. It was an historical occasion. "Hope it didn't kill anybody. Any Martians, that is. Rog, did it hit dead center in Syrtis Major?" "Near as matters. I'd say it was maybe a thousand miles off, to the south. And that's damn close on a fifty-million-mile shot. Willie, do you really think there are any Martians?" Willie thought a second and then said, "No." He was right. -FREDRIC BROWN [Illustration] End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Earthmen Bearing Gifts, by Fredric Brown *** END OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK EARTHMEN BEARING GIFTS *** ***** This file should be named 26521.txt or 26521.zip ***** This and all associated files of various formats will be found in: http://www.gutenberg.Org/2/6/5/2/26521/ Produced by Greg Weeks, David Wilson and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net Updated editions will replace the previous one— the old editions will be renamed. 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This article is about the science fiction and mystery writer. For others named Fred Brown, see Fred Brown (disambiguation).

Fredric Brown (October 29, 1906 – March 11, 1972[1]) was an American science fiction and mystery writer.[2] He is known for his use of humor and for his mastery of the "short short" form—stories of 1 to 3 pages, often with ingenious plotting devices and surprise endings. Humor and a somewhat postmodern outlook carried over into his novels as well. One of his stories, "Arena", is officially credited for an adaptation as an episode of the American television seriesStar Trek.

According to his wife, Fredric Brown hated to write. So he did everything he could to avoid it—he'd play his flute, challenge a friend to a game of chess, or tease Ming Tah, his Siamese cat. If Brown had trouble working out a certain story, he would hop on a long bus trip and just sit and think and plot for days on end.

When Brown finally returned home and sat himself in front of the typewriter, magic happened. Mystery, Science Fiction, short fantasy, black comedy-and sometimes, all of the above. That's what makes Brown's work so much fun.

"There are no rules. You can write a story, if you wish, with no conflict, no suspense, no beginning, middle or end. Of course, you have to be regarded as a genius to get away with it, and that's the hardest part -- convincing everybody you're a genius."

-- Fredric Brown

Works[edit]

Brown was born in Cincinnati.[1][3] He began to sell mystery short stories to American magazines from 1936.[3] His first science fiction story, "Not Yet the End", was published in the Winter 1941 issue of the magazine Captain Future.[4][2]

His science fiction novel What Mad Universe (1949) is a parody of pulp SF story conventions. Martians, Go Home (1955) is both a broad farce and a satire on human frailties as seen through the eyes of a billion jeering, invulnerable Martians who arrive not to conquer the world but to drive it crazy.

The Lights in the Sky Are Stars (1952) tells the story of an aging astronaut who is trying to get his beloved space program back on track after Congress has cut off the funds for it.

The short story "Arena" was used as the basis for the episode of the same name in the original series of Star Trek.[2] It was also adapted in 1973 for issue 4 of Marvel Comics' Worlds Unknown.

Brown's first mystery novel, The Fabulous Clipjoint, won the Edgar Award for outstanding first mystery novel.[3] It began a series starring Ed and Ambrose Hunter, and depicts how a young man gradually ripens into a detective under the tutelage of his uncle, an ex–private eye now working as a carnival concessionaire.[3]

Many of his books make use of the threat of the supernatural or occult before the "straight" explanation at the end. For example, "Night of the Jabberwock" is a humorous narrative of an extraordinary day in the life of a small-town newspaper editor.[citation needed]

The Screaming Mimi (which became a 1958 movie starring Anita Ekberg and Gypsy Rose Lee, and directed by Gerd Oswald, who also directed the "Fun and Games" episode of The Outer Limits, the plot of which was similar to Brown's short story "Arena"), and The Far Cry are noir suspense novels reminiscent of the work of Cornell Woolrich. The Lenient Beast experiments multiple first-person viewpoints, among them a gentle, deeply religious serial killer, and examines racial tensions between whites and Latinos in the US state of Arizona. Here Comes a Candle is told in straight narrative sections alternating with a radio script, a screenplay, a sportscast, a teleplay, a stage play, and a newspaper article.

Popularity and influence[edit]

His short story "Arena" was voted by Science Fiction Writers of America as one of the top 20 SF stories written before 1965. His 1945 short story "The Waveries"[5] was described by Philip K. Dick as "what may be the most significant—startlingly so—story SF has yet produced."[citation needed] The opening of "Knock" is a complete two-sentence short-short story in itself.

Science fiction and fantasy writer Neil Gaiman has also expressed fondness for Brown's work,[citation needed] having his novel Here Comes A Candle narrated by the character Rose Walker in the collection The Kindly Ones of The Sandman.[6]

Brown was one of three dedicatees of Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land (the other two being Robert Cornog and Philip José Farmer).[7]

In his non-fiction book Danse Macabre (1981), a survey of the horror genre since 1950, writer Stephen King includes an appendix of "roughly one hundred" influential books of the period: Fredric Brown's short-story collection Nightmares and Geezenstacks is included, and is, moreover, asterisked as being among those select works King regards as "particularly important."

Brown's short story "Naturally" was adapted into Geometria, a short film by director Guillermo del Toro. Another short story, "The Last Martian", was adapted into "Human Interest Story", an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

A teaser clip for the third season of Amazon's adaptation of Philip K. Dick's The Man In The High Castle has Oberstgruppenführer Smith remarking, when told of the possibility of travel between worlds, that "this is like something out of Fredric Brown," implying that Brown's work is known in the German-occupied areas of the former United States.[8]

Bibliography[edit]

Main article: Fredric Brown bibliography

Sources[edit]

  • Seabrook, Jack (1993). Martians and Misplaced Clues: The Life and Work of Fredric Brown. Bowling Green University Popular Press. ISBN 978-0-87972-591-4. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Cover of the 1954 paperback edition
  1. ^ abItalian short bio at Tuttascuola.net
  2. ^ abcD. J. McReynolds, "The Short Fiction of Fredric Brown" in Frank N. Magill, (ed.) Survey of Science Fiction Literature, Vol. 4. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem Press, 1979. (pp. 1954-1957). ISBN 9780893561949
  3. ^ abcdIntroduction to Rogue in Space, Italian edition,Urania Collezione n. 135, by Giuseppe Lippi
  4. ^Bibliography page at isfdb.org
  5. ^"The Waveries synopsis". Jennre. July 2, 2012. 
  6. ^Gaiman, Neil (1985). The Sandman: The Kindly Ones: 10. pp. 21–22. 
  7. ^"Heinlein's Dedications". Nitrosyncretic.com. 
  8. ^"The Man in the High Castle Season 3 - Exclusive: New York Comic Con Sneak Peek" on YouTube