6

This is a tricky one.

I remember reading this story about an astronaut being stranded on Mars, most likely an explorer. There were no colonies on the planet. He was alone. He wandered around and found some sort of installation, which lead him into an underground complex.

I remember him walking on the bottom of a canal on Mars and finding something which looks like a manhole. This was the entrance.

There, he met an alien. Turns out there were a few aliens living on Mars. Not native, but there to observe events in the solar system.

The alien looked a bit like a human female, so lets call her "she". She couldn't let him return to Earth after discovering her species' existence, yet she pitied the poor guy. They became friends and he learned her language, began reading the books she brought and learning about her species.

She ended up taking him onto a spaceship back to her home planet. The guy found himself in a tricky spot: the only human around in an alien civilization. They were benevolent but... what use did they have for him?

...And of course, the inevitable happened: they went on a romance... and it ended badly, due to the guy not being able to stomach the extraterrestrial's mating customs. I think she died, but I'm not sure to remember correctly.

I read this around year 2000-2005, and it was most likely a novella, not a full-length novel. The ending is tragic.

Sorry about the lack of information here, this is all I remember, but I'd really like to find this story, so if you have any idea... thanks.

  • Take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and edit any more details. – Edlothiad May 31 '17 at 22:42
5

I guess this is the short story "My Sister's Brother" by Philip José Farmer, originally published in Strange Relations in 1960, and subsequently collected in many anthologies (possibly with different degrees of editing and revision).

...about an astronaut being stranded on Mars, most likely an explorer. There were no colonies on the planet. He was alone. He wandered around and found some sort of installation, which lead him into an underground complex.

The story is about an adult human male solo Earth researcher, perhaps an archaeologist or ecologist, exploring the ecology of a hive of vaguely insectoid creatures residing amidst and below the remains of a dead Martian civilization.

There, he met an alien. Turns out there were a few aliens living on Mars. Not native, but there to observe events in the solar system.

The alien looked a bit like a human female, so lets call her "she".

During the exploration, the researcher encounters a solo humanoid alien that appears somewhat female and somewhat asexual (in the biological sense, rather than the orientation). The human genders the being "she," and they develop a cautious coexistence… perhaps one that develops towards the start of a friendship. "She" is likewise engaged in research in the same terrain.

If the remainder of your question is about "My Sister's Brother" then you seem to have the order of events a bit scrambled. In the story:

A kind of intimacy develops between the two on Mars, and there is a moment where perhaps something like a kiss is about to happen. As "she" leans forward something serpentine or vermiform springs from her mouth and both scares and disgusts him, and he crushes it. Things go downhill, and he blacks out as more of her kind appear and implement a lock down as the crisis closes.

At the end of the story he is being penned (with implications that this detention will be permanent), but one of his erstwhile friend's fellow beings comes with the ability to speak English and explain to him (a) the nature of their (unisex) reproductive cycle, (b) that he had killed his friend's child in front of them in a moment when they were expecting intimacy, and (c) their species regarded this as indicative of humanity's penchant for needless violence.

  • Thank you so much! Yes, that's exactly it. I just ordered the book. – peufeu Jun 2 '17 at 11:15

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