This (they?) would have been in a major magazine like Analog or Asimov’s, I think. Though it’s possible I read it in an anthology collection.

The alien planet had humanoid beings that were fur covered and had a highly developed sense of smell.

One nice touch to indicate the future setting is that mohawk hair and rock&roll music was associated with his grandmother’s time.

The aliens were about 100 or 200 years behind us, like mid 20th century. But individuals had no trouble catching up when given access to advanced materials and lab equipment.

One story's plot concerned a substance that the locals would have been able to smell, and humans don’t have scent-proof containers for smuggling, so it had to be a local bringing it.

Another had a human telling his girlfriend troubles to an alien professor who is incognito as an airport worker, and they share drinks made from pharmacy grade methonal and distilled water so it would be safe for both.

A woman figures out that the (alien) hotel staff has been replaced by grad students studying her, by watching a sport on TV (a cooperative thing called bag drag) and noting their lack of interest.


Could this be Touchdown, Touchdown, Rah, Rah, Rah! By W. R. Thompson, originally published in Analog Science Fiction?

Notably the game is "bagdrag" rather than "bag drag"

“A human player,” Zelk said. The dean of Vrekle University sniffed thoughtfully as she read the papers Ray Bennett had put on her desk. Ray thought she looked puzzled; her dark muzzle had grown more wrinkled than before. “Coming to Kya, this student’s main desire is to play bagdrag?”

“It’s not his only reason for coming here,” Ray told her. “Richard Faber is majoring in education. He wants to extend his studies to include some nonhuman educational techniques.”

“Yes, his letter mentions that.” The dean stood up and walked over to her office window. It was late summer on this part of Kya, and a warm breeze brought a scent like cinnamon through the glassless window. Ray enjoyed it, although he knew it had a greater impact on Dean Zelk; the kya had an exquisite sense of smell. “Representing him, what can you tell me about him?” she asked, as she idly stroked at the thick fur on one forearm.

“He’s just finished his second year at Colorado State,” Ray said. “His scholastic record is good. He’s a star football player. I guess he wants to branch out into new sports.”

You can read the full story online here. Given how few of the other details match, it's possible that it's another story in the same series or that you've conflated this story with another one.

  • Hmm. Surprisingly few of the details you've described in your question fit the story above. Are you sure you've not conflated two different stories?
    – Valorum
    Nov 25 '16 at 22:00
  • That’s not the story I recall. But I’m guessing it’s a later story set in the same series. Assuming it’s by the same author, the bibliography is not broken down by series and none of the titles are suggestive. I can’t find any summary or diecussion via Google.
    – JDługosz
    Nov 26 '16 at 21:35
  • @JDługosz - Hence why I imagined that you'd conflated two stories.
    – Valorum
    Nov 27 '16 at 0:00
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    @JDługosz: the ISFDB entry doesn't list it, but I found another source that lists Touchdown Touchdown as part of his "Kya" series, including "Maverick," "Varmint," "Outlaw," "Lost In Translation," and "Roundup". Nov 27 '16 at 2:14
  • 1
    @JDługosz The author's ISFDB entry DOES list the Kya stories as a series, just way above novels/short stories so it's easy to miss, and again, apparently the list leaves out some Kya stories that are just listed in the "short stories" section. As for an answer, nah, I only heard of this through Valorum's answer in the first place, and I still haven't been able to find which stories have the specific elements you remember, so I'd say he deserves first crack at refining the answer. I'm just providing some additional help. Nov 27 '16 at 13:18

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