I feel like this was published in the 1990s or 2000s. It featured a group of anthropologists who come to study these aliens. They seem to be lazy and quite docile, and so the anthropologists come into their town and happily integrate. The climax of the book occurs when it turns out that after the rains, all of the teenagers are gathered together and forced to stand in the elements for some long amount of time, causing most of them to die. Then they are sent out on a quest to find something "interesting" to bring back to the tribe (or possibly this happens later?). I do remembered there was a "quest"-like coming of age that happened for the aliens.

The humans are forced to take part in this winnowing, but escape, and the rest of the story is about them attempting to get back to their ship, which they'd parked on the larger continent quite a way from the alien village. This is made more difficult by being hunted by the aliens who see them as having violated the tribe's precepts.


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Could this be the short story "Seasons" by Joe Haldeman? Appears in the collection "Alien Stars" edited by Elizabeth Mitchell

I have a vague memory of a similar plot and a note in my files just says "dumb anthropologists"


My guess is Haldeman's "Seasons" as well. In some ways the odds are stacked against the anthropologists, as not only are the aliens so utterly peaceful in nature to start with, the humans are forced to completely immerse themselves in the neolithic culture of the locals and have no weapons of defense at all to hand.So the unexpected catches the anthropologists totally off guard due to their dedication not to contaminate the locals with new concepts.

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