Author: Ivan Yefremov
Original language: Russian
Publisher: Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1961
The crew of a spaceship encounters an alien ship in deep space. Speculation ensues about whether the other crew might be hostile. Comparisons are made to American SF writer Murray Leinster’s story, “First Contact“, in which an elaborate protocol is developed to prevent the aliens from following the Terrans home and destroying them, or vice versa. The premise of Leinster’s story is debunked, in part by pointing out that in order for a planet’s civilization to become space-faring, they would need to be at peace among themselves and presumably have organized themselves into a planet-wide classless society, a point Yefremov had made earlier in his novel Andromeda. Thus the aliens must necessarily be peaceful.