Plot line

Colonists on a new world are concerned that there don't seem to be many species of plant or animal that they can digest.

They finally find one (shrimplike?), but it seems to be rare, and they are not sure if there will be enough local food available to make continuing the colony worth it.

The local aliens really want them to stay, so hunted down every last one of the human-edible species to give to the humans for a friendship feast.

The humans discovered that in one night they had eaten the one digestible local species to extinction. The local aliens thought that the loss of this species was worth it, as it would bind the colonists to them, meaning they would never leave.

Edit: I believe it was in a short story collection, and that I read it at least 10 years ago. Could be a lot older than that, though.

  • 1
    I think I read this, but I can't think of the title. A local brings a bowl of the tiny creatures to the two human scientists, who verify that they are edible and (when properly cooked) quite tasty. "These are excellent, please gather some more and we'll invite the rest of the humans down for the feast." "Sorry, that was all there were." The locals either don't grasp the idea of extinction, or don't care-- they have destroyed many species before. When the scientists get over the shock, they decide it's fitting that they should share the sin of their new neighbors. Does this sound like it?
    – Beta
    Sep 6, 2016 at 21:43
  • Yes, it does! I remember the reason for the locals being willing to send the "tiny creatures" to extinction as being slightly different, more focused on any price being worth getting the humans to stay. I think maybe the story was more spread out, too - that a feast did happen, and that they were hoping to gather some more as a long-term food supply, which is when they got the "Sorry, that was all there were" response. Do you remember any other details?
    – MikeC
    Sep 6, 2016 at 22:53

1 Answer 1


This sounds a lot like "Genji" aka "Bonding to Genji", a novelette by David Brin, which appeared in the 1992 anthology Murasaki (Robert Silverberg and Martin H. Greenberg, eds.) and the 1994 Brin collection Otherness. I haven't read it, but it was previously identified by John O. as the (accepted) answer to the question What was this story about alien food? Quoting from John's answer:

That's almost certainly a David Brin short story. All the fauna are poisonous, but they manage to find something where the poison is sequestered in specific tissues. Sort of like blowfish. They even have a sushi chef to cut away the bad parts.

The native aliens help them find the organisms, and once they finish the first taste test, the native aliens mention that that was the last one.

[. . . .]

The short story is probably "Bonding to Genji".

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