I am searching for a story, probably a short, probably published in a periodical in the mid-1980s. A citified culture is in conflict with a hunter-gatherer culture nearby their territory. At one point there is anxiety in the city because one of the primitives has been killed in a skirmish outside the city gates and they worry that the conflict will accelerate. An urban man who knows someting about the primitive culture solves the problem by going out alone with the corpse and burying it with the primitives' complex rites, knowing that he would be observed by scouts.

The urban man is integrated into their society somehow. There is a scene where he and some primitives look at the stars and play a sky-mapping astronomical game which quickly becomes too advanced for the urbanite to participate in.

The only other info I have about this is that its author lectured at a Chicago convention sometime in the mid-80s on the theme of academe's threat to sci fi, keep it in the gutter where it belongs, etc. Thank you for any help.

  • Was the story set on another planet or on earth? In the far future or the prehistoric past? Was the city's technological level bronze-age or iron-age or what?
    – user14111
    Apr 12, 2017 at 6:18
  • I recall a similar story being published in Analog around this time. Aug 18, 2020 at 15:02


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