Looking for title, author, and original science fiction magazine in which published--probably in 1950's--likely Analog, Astounding, or Galaxy.

Story synopsis: Human explorers in spaceship encounter and land on planet inhabited by gentle furry creatures that resemble Teddy bears.

The encounter is friendly, with humans and alien creatures spending long nights in discussion around campfire, getting to know each other.

The aliens all end up committing racial suicide rather than compete or war with the humans.

  • 1
    Part of your description reminds me of Robert Sheckley's "Warrior Race" (which you can read at Project Gutenberg but I'm pretty sure that's not the one you're looking for.
    – user14111
    May 30, 2017 at 5:04
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    Can you provide more details? What causes the conflict between the human explorers and the "friendly" natives? Do the humans want to colonize, or hunt, or extract resources, or enslave them, or what? How do they commit suicide: knives, swords, pistols, poison, drowning?
    – user14111
    May 30, 2017 at 5:07
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    Sounds a bit like "Decision at Doona", by Anne McCaffrey, except the race that committed suicide is not the same race being encountered in the book - though they are often brought up. Your short story might be backstory, or inspiration, or entirely unrelated, I just thought of it when reading your description.
    – Megha
    May 30, 2017 at 6:05
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    This sort of reminds me of the Little Fuzzy series by H. Beam Piper, but I'm not 100% sure as I'm not sure that species killed themselves off.
    – mwarren
    May 30, 2017 at 12:47
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    One might argue that in Poul Anderson and Gordon Dickson Hoka stories that the teddy bearish Hoka commit cultural suicide by abandoning their native culture for the more attractive cultures they find described in human literature,
    – infixed
    May 30, 2017 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


"What Now, Little Man?" by Mark Clifton matches a lot of the features. Human travellers, bearlike and kind aliens, night bonfires. But the relationship is not that kind - humans are made sterile by the voyage, and they basically enslave the kind aliens.

Available to read on archive.org here.

  • Good, I guess. Seeing as the main point seems to be the racial suicide, I wish you would have told us whether that point matches or not. Now I will have to go and find my copy and read the story before I can upvote your answer.
    – user14111
    Jun 1, 2017 at 9:09
  • The main point is not made clear by the author. There is no extinction in the story, but the goonies do not defend themselves against slavery and slaughter ('the only edible animal on the planet is the goonie'), but they prosper rather than die. Humans do not die but can't reproduce either - although the ones on Earth are alive and well. It /could/ be interpreted as suicide risk for either race, but it's ambiguous, hence the title.
    – Ignazio
    Jun 1, 2017 at 11:31
  • It's a good story, and maybe it's the one the OP remembers. From my hasty reading, though, it seems that the humans and aliens do not have long discussions, getting to know each other.
    – user14111
    Jun 1, 2017 at 12:35
  • True. There's a bonfire, but it's part of a torture setup. But there's also a spot for humans to contemplate the stars and try and figure out themselves. I figure it's possible to mix up the two, although I found it a very poignant story - one that's not easily confused with a story of companionship.
    – Ignazio
    Jun 1, 2017 at 13:53

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