My wife read a book decades ago where the most feared and vicious alien race in the galaxy is a race that looks kind of like a teddybear. They arrive, and start to descend upon earth to conquer it...with their muskets, cannons and dirigibles. I think it's the US Air Force that intercepts them with fighter jets and, needless to say, blows them away. Other races show up to see what has these 'teddybears' so terrified...figuring if Earthling can terrify the t-bears, then maybe they can help defeat the "scourge of the universe" (which is the t-bears, as they have gunpowder and nobody else has anything even close to that). However, space travel is apparently 'simple' and the alien races are stunned that Earthlings haven't figured it out.

Anybody know what story I'm talking about? I'd like to read it.


This is almost certainly "The Road Not Taken" by Harry Turtledove.

Part of the plot summary from Wikipedia:

The story is told through limited third person point of view, with most of the story concerning a single Roxolani captain. During a routine journey of conquest, they happen upon Earth. The Roxolani anticipate a simple and rewarding campaign, as they can detect no use of gravity manipulation, the cornerstone of their civilization. Humanity is awed by the invaders, as the maneuverability granted by that technology suggests the rest of their civilization is equally impressive. But as they begin their assault, things take a turn for the absurd—the Roxolani attack with matchlock weapons and black powder explosives. Humans retaliate with automatic weapons and missiles. The battle is short, and most of the invaders are killed. A few are captured alive.

The story is available at https://eyeofmidas.com/scifi/Turtledove_RoadNotTaken.pdf

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    @Marakai I'm glad it helped you! I found out about this story on this site, too. It's a good read. – Null Jun 21 '16 at 3:19
  • BINGO! I've been searching for....*two decades* for that story! :) Thank you thank you, THANK YOU! – Paul L. Ming Jun 21 '16 at 5:14
  • @PaulL.Ming Happy to help! Please click the check mark icon to the left of my answer to accept it. This will help us track which questions have been successfully answered (and you receive 2 reputation points for doing so). I encourage you to explore the site and take a look at the help center to learn how the site works. Once again, welcome to the site! – Null Jun 21 '16 at 5:26
  • @PaulL.Ming You can accept the answer by clicking on the check mark next to it. – user14111 Jun 21 '16 at 7:12

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