I’m looking for a short story I think was published in either Asimov’s or Analog magazine probably more than 10 years ago.

It may also have been published in one of the World’s Best Sci-Fi anthologies, by Donald A. Wollheim

It’s about aliens who are smuggling art-work off Earth by rewarding an exclusive club of humans with advanced technology in the form of luxury items.

The narrator finds out about this club when his girlfriend drops a cigarette lighter in the pool and it miraculously still works.

There is the letter “P” engraved on the lighter.

He sneaks into her house and also finds all kinds of high tech items, all with an engraving of the letter “P”

I thought the story was titled “P for Perfect” but it could be wrong.

He eventually traces the Alien headquarters to a nondescript shop on a side street in the city.

He eventually steals the girlfriend’s gig (she was going to dump him anyway) and takes her place in the club.


1 Answer 1


This is A Full Member of the Club by Bob Shaw. I have it in Wollheim's 1975 Annual World's Best SF.

It was a trivial thing — a cigarette lighter — which finally wrecked Philip Connor's peace of mind. Angela and he had been sitting at the edge of her pool...

...ornate letter P engraved in the base...

  • 1
    Good. And for those of us who don't happen to own a copy of that Wollheim anthology, the story can be found in a few other places including the July 1974 Galaxy which is available for free at the Internet Archive.
    – user14111
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 3:30

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