Author: Algis Budrys
Original language: English
Publisher: Royal Publications, Inc., 1956
From Robert Silverberg’s “Earthmen and Strangers” anthology, 1966:
When we meet the aliens, how will we communicate with them? A standard piece of s-f equipment is generally offered as the answer: the “thought-converter.” Most writers are content to haul the thought-converter from the closet, put it on their characters’ heads, and let the conversation commence. One of the special features of this story is the care with which its author has depicted the communication problems that will be cropping up even when the handy thought-converter is available. He examines a deeper problem, too: how, when we drop down from the heavens to visit the inhabitants of other worlds, can we keep them from thinking of us as gods?
Algis Budrys, who has the general dimensions of an outstanding fullback and the story-telling ability of a master, was born in Lithuania in the decade before the outbreak of the Second World War and has spent most of his life in the United States. Since 1952 s-f readers have relished scores of his short stories and such thoughtful, searching novels as