So someone mentioned a story in chat, and I can't find it on the google. Does anyone know the name of this story?

It also reminds me of a sci-fi story where a scientist gets stranded on a primitive planet. He waits a few thousand years in a time machine to see no progress whatsoever. He teaches them the Archimedes' screw and waits another few hundred years just to discover a world that formed all of its technological progress and even an entire religion about Archimedes' screw. It ends with total annihilation.

  • If someone mentioned in chat why can't you just ask them?
    – Adamant
    May 10, 2016 at 21:11
  • @Jonah He didn't know. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    – Sidney
    May 11, 2016 at 0:27
  • Was it on SFF-Chat?
    – Möoz
    Nov 13, 2017 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


A very long shot, based only on the Archimedes screw bit:

The Spacetime Pit, by Stephen Baxter and Eric Brown, published on Interzone, #107 May 1996

The story is about Katerina Wake, a pilot of a planetary survey ship whose shuttle crashes on a planet inhabited by a primitive race of silicon based, frog-like alien farmers.

Trying to get back to the orbiting mothership, she tries to advance the technology of the aliens, starting with the aforementioned Archimedes screw. and then goes back to her stasis pod to wait for further developments.

After some centuries of little progress, she makes a threat of killing the aliens unless they buils a rocket that takes her to her orbiting ship.

After another century or so, she finds a war-torn but technologically advanced world, that instead of the requested rocket has built nuclear missiles to destroy the mothership.

The resulting explosion destroys all the life in the planet, and the pilot tries to seed life on the barren planet (unsuccesfully).

About finding the story online, "F'han Lha" is a pretty specific search term. Also, being able to read Spanish helps a lot.

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