Can anyone offer any help with this..? I read it at school around 1976 but cannot remember the title nor the author. Thank you in advance!

A lone astronaut called - I think- Steve is stranded on a distant planet when his ship runs low on fuel.

His only companion is - again I think - a parrot. The fuel his ship uses is a filament or wire which is kept on a spool.

On exploring the locale he has landed in he discovers a huge building half-buried in a mountainside. He enters the building and discovers it is a museum filled with thousands of glass cases containing preserved specimens of various life forms as well as machines.

There is a robot curator that does repairs and, as the astronaut finds out, prepares cases for new exhibits.

On analysing the wire in one of the machines he discovers that is suitable as fuel for his ship so he winds a length of it onto his ships spool and leaves the planet just ahead of the robot collecting him and his parrot as museum exhibits...

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    Hello Steven, and welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy. Good first question. If the answer below is indeed what you were looking for, be sure to tick the checkmark next to it to accept it. This shows other users that the question has been answered and rewards the answerer as well.
    – SQB
    Mar 2, 2017 at 11:17

1 Answer 1


Hobbyist by Eric Frank Russell. 1947. His name is Steve and his companion is a macaw named Laura. I have it in this collection: Astounding Tales of Space and Time

"Publication: Astounding Tales of Space and Time", The Internet Speculative Fiction Database

Here is a list of other books that contain this story:

"Title: Hobbyist", The Internet Speculative Fiction Database

Within ten minutes he'd found a great coil of the coppery metal, a huge ovoid, intricately wound, lying beside a disassembled machine... ...His hands were trembling slightly but his hawklike face was firm, phlegmatic as he carefully threaded the wire's end through the automatic injector and into the feed hole of the Kingston-Kanes.

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    The story is available at the Internet Archive.
    – user14111
    Mar 2, 2017 at 10:51
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    Ah McGillicuddy, it comes back to me now!
    – RoyC
    Mar 2, 2017 at 15:56
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    actually, the cases do not contain "preserved specimens". the place is not a museum, but a workshop...
    – ths
    Mar 2, 2017 at 16:02
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    That's the one! I'm afraid that I was relying on a one-off memory from forty or so years back so I hope I'm forgiven for any misleading details in my description. Mar 3, 2017 at 11:39
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    If you had a perfect memory, we wouldn't have had the pleasure of helping you :-)
    – Frock
    Mar 19, 2017 at 10:11

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