Im looking for a short story appearing in either Asimov's or Analog magazine. A friend used to give me old issues after he read them. The short story I'm looking for was in an issue around 1997 or 1998 and had to do with an alien race attacking the earth. Turns out that faster than light travel is astoundingly easy to accomplish with most of known universe having already discovered it. Most of these civilizations have been conquered by a race whose technology still utilizes flintlock type weapons and whose spacecraft are nothing more than riveted iron shells with oil lanterns and hay-stuffed mattresses. Thinking that humans will be no challenge to them they attack...and are soundly destroyed. Being oblivious to any alien life and believing themselves unable to explore space, technology developed at a different rate for humanity than the rest of the universe. The defeated aliens are taken prisoner and are horrified by the knowledge that human beings...along with their terrible weaponry...now possess their FTL abilities for space travel. I hope this is enough to go on to find this story. I thought it was a brilliant piece and have been searching for it for years. It's maddening to remember such a great concept for the story...but not be able to track it down. Any help would be appreciated


2 Answers 2


Sounds like Harry Turtledove's "The Road Not Taken," which was published --among other places-- in his book of short stories called "Kaleidoscope."


Harry Turtledove's "The Road Not Taken".

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    Why Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 2:26
  • Terse. Verbose answers preferred.
    – user14111
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 3:05

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