9

Sometime in the '60s I read a story which was the first person account of an expedition sent to explore earth which failed because the aliens were the size of ladybirds. It sounds a bit like Nicholas Fisks' "The Boy, the Dog and the Spaceship" in Edmund Blishen's Science Fiction Stories, but was definitely written at least in part in the first person from the point of view of the alien. It was rather poignant as the expedition started out in great excitement and anticipation only to end in the casual destruction of the spaceship and all its crew. Any ideas?

In this story, the aliens arrive in a spaceship that resembles a wasps' nest in structure and people just imagine that they are insects. The narrator is one of the aliens and writes quite poignantly of the death of their home planet and of his excitement at being picked as part of the exploratory party to the most beautiful blue and white planet. They have what they think are devastating personal defence weapons, but when humans pick them up, they simply think they have been stung.

  • Were the aliens crystalline and they they end up shattering when people scream? If it's the story I'm thinking of, they get freaked out because their craft has been moved into a building & they don't understand why the sun is rectangular. There's also a dissection of a ¿cat? where they describe it as a bag of tubes. – Guegeh Morat Apr 21 '16 at 18:03
5

Is it "Pictures don't lie" by Katherine MacLean?

In the story earth is in contact with arriving aliens for a while, around the airfield whey they should land reporters and scientists wait in anticipation. No one pays attention to the fact, that the rain created puddles on the concrete... but the aliens are late. Finally they send a frantic message:

Radar shows no buildings or civilization near. The atmosphere around us registers as thick as glue. Tremendous gas pressure, low gravity, no light at all. You didn't describe it like this. Where are you, Joe? This isn't some kind of trick, is it? .... Where is the landing port? Where are you?.... A half circle of cliffs around the horizon.
A wide muddy lake swarming with swimming things.
Huge, strange white foliage all around the ship and incredibly huge,pulpy monsters attacking and
eating each other on all sides....

Yes, the aliens are microscopic and they've landed in a puddle.

  • This also was my first thought – user22478 Jan 10 '16 at 20:45
  • 1
    I've read also a story where slightly bigger aliens land in a glass and they believe to be trapped by a forcefield. They die when someone pours hot tea to the container. – Yasskier Jan 10 '16 at 21:13
  • 1
    Thanks for these, but I don't think that's the one. In this story, the aliens arrive in a spaceship that resembles a wasps' nest in structure and people just imagine that they are insects. The narrator is one of the aliens and writes quite poignantly of the death of their home planet and of his excitement at being picked as part of the exploratory party to the most beautiful blue and white planet. They have what they think are devastating personal defence weapons, but when humans pick them up, they simply think they have been stung. I – Hugh Jan 12 '16 at 12:24
5

This is Meteor by John Wyndham. I read it in The Seeds of Time, but it appeared in many more anthologies, see ISFDB.

Sometime in the '60s I read a story which was the first person account of an expedition sent to explore earth

Not all of it is from Onns' viewpoint, in fact the story starts and ends from the point of the family on whose land it crashed.

which failed because the aliens were the size of ladybirds.

... under a quarter of an inch long. Its body seemed to be an almost perfect hemisphere with the flat side below and the round top surface coloured pink ...

definitely written at least in part in the first person from the point of view of the alien. It was rather poignant as the expedition started out in great excitement and anticipation

Yes. From Onns' journal:

As an introduction to the notes which I intend to keep, I can scarcely do better than give the gist of the address given to us on the day preceding our departure from Forta by His Excellence Cottafts (...)
“ ... Forta, our world, is becoming senile, but we are not. We are like spirits that are still young, trapped in a failing body. (...)
Go forth then. Go in wisdom, kindliness, peace and truth.
And our prayers will go out with you into the mysteries of space... ”

only to end in the casual destruction of the spaceship and all its crew.

“ Well, they scratched their heads about the best way to tackle it, and decided in the end to cut it in half and see what. ”
(..)
Graham hurried back with the spray in his hand. He cast around and discovered several hundreds of the little pink objects crawling towards the wall of the outhouse. He pumped a cloud of insecticide over them and watched while they slowed, waved feeble legs, and then lay still. He sprayed the locality a little more, to make sure.

They have what they think are devastating personal defence weapons, but when humans pick them up, they simply think they have been stung.

That would be the fire-rod. They do manage to kill a cat with it though, so it is more formidable than it looks.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.