Author: Arthur Clarke
Original language: English
Publisher: Quinn Publishing Company, Inc., Buffalo, NY, 1958
Also published as
From Robert Silverberg’s “Earthmen and Strangers” anthology, 1966:
Arthur C. Clarke is a true citizen of the world. Where he is at any given moment only his travel agent is likely to know: perhaps in New York conferring with his publishers, perhaps excavating sunken treasure off the coast of Ceylon, perhaps supervising the filming of a movie in London, perhaps studying the cored formations of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, perhaps watching a rocket blasting moonward from Cape Kennedy. He was born in England, but he is at home on any continent, and probably will be found sightseeing on Mars and Venus as soon as commercial service to those ports of call is inaugurated.
As an acknowledged master of science fiction, Clarke’s presence in any anthology is almost mandatory. He works within the great tradition of H. G. Wells, combining literary artistry with scientific accuracy to create stories of stirring wonder and breathtaking provocativeness. Here Clarke offers a fitting epilogue for this collection of stories of alien life: a glimpse of a life-form so incredibly strange that we poor mortals can barely begin to comprehend its nature.