No it's not "The Last Question" nor is it "The Last Answer" so don't bother.

I don't remember the rest if the plot if there is one, but the main part of the short story is that enlightened aliens arrive on Earth and offer to answer humanity's questions. I'm almost certain it was aliens and not a deity. I don't remember if the number of questions was limited.

Paraphrased, the question humanity asks is:

What would be the best question for us to ask?

And the answer, also paraphrased, is:

The question they just asked.

Also I appologize if this is a duplicate, Google didn't return much relevant and I'm on mobile so SE doesn't provide potential duplicates as you type.


1 Answer 1


The reverse (aliens asking humanity a question) appears in a block quotation at the start of chapter two of "The Alien IQ Test", by Clifford A. Pickover, the quotation is attributed to Clifford A. Pickover as well.

The quote is:

If an alien comes to you and asks, "What is the most important question we can ask humanity and what is the best possible answer you can give?,", the safest reply is, "You have just asked the most important question you can ask humanity, and I'm giving you the best possible answer."

I also thought that I had read that phrase in a short story, but I'm pretty sure I have never read anything by Pickover.

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