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Cross-posted from Reddit's /r/tipofmytongue.

So I mentioned a certain short story I read years ago on /r/Showerthoughts and a lot of people want me to find it for them, but I have no idea who wrote it. When I was a kid I read tons of sci-fi anthologies, so I'm not sure about the author. It could be someone well known, like Aldiss or Clarke or Wyndham, but most likely it was someone a little less known.

Here's what I remember:

The story was really simple and short - people were finding dead fish (or maybe some other aquatic creatures) dead relatively far from the lake where they lived (in a forest, I think). It was always young strong male specimens, and they found some simple "suits" made of weed or something which they figured were something akin to a spaceship for them. That was the whole point - these aquatic creature were sending explorers on land the same way we send astronauts.

What I can't remember perfectly:

I think the story takes place on Earth, but it could have been an alien planet. I'm not sure. The whole story may be presented as a dialogue of two characters. I'm 95% sure it was just a short story, not a part of a larger narrative. If it was a part of a novel, I'd remember it, as I haven't read nearly as many novels as I did short story anthologies.

So, if any of that rings any bells, I would be grateful if you could point me in the right direction.

From later in the comments:

One more thing - I'm fairly certain it was not a new book when I read it, so it has to have been written in the 90's at the latest, but most likely 80's or earlier.... Definitely a book, and it was translated into Czech. No idea what the original language could have been.

Does this ring any bells for anybody?

  • Thanks for declaring this as a cross-post, nothing worse than plagiarism. Good luck. The only caveat is, how do we know for certain that we have the right answer? – Möoz Jul 31 '17 at 3:21
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    Thanks. The story is vaguely familiar to me as well, but all of the details I remember are already corroborated here (aside from the fact that I would have read it in English). I would probably have guessed Ursula K. Le Guin, and another commenter thought it might be Ted Chiang. If a good candidate appears, I'll message the original poster on Reddit. – Michael Lee Jul 31 '17 at 3:24
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    It's not what you're looking for, but the most famous story about aquatic creatures exploring the land in a little "spaceship" is "Surface Tension" by James Blish. It differs from your story in that it's told from the viewpoint of the aquatic creatures, and the aquatic creatures are genetically engineered humans. – user14111 Jul 31 '17 at 4:34
  • If you're interested, you can read "Surface Tension" at the Internet Archive. It may have inspired whoever wrote the story you're asking about. – user14111 Jul 31 '17 at 4:42
  • Thanks! I think "Surface Tension" was suggested as a possibility, but the people who remembered this story (both the original poster and I) agreed that it wasn't quite right. This story wasn't quite novella length, definitely shorter than "Surface Tension." – Michael Lee Jul 31 '17 at 4:45

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