I have read this short science fiction story in the early 90's and am trying to find the author and the title. I hope someone can help me based on the outline of the plot:

  • Aliens land on Earth and make contact with humans.
  • They start giving away technology that leads to dramatic technological gains.
  • One day the protagonist takes the aliens on a duck hunt.
  • Before shooting he scares ducks so he can shoot them in flight.
  • Aliens ask him why did he not shoot them while they were on the ground.
  • The protagonist responds that we humans like a challenge and shooting sitting ducks would have been too easy.
  • Aliens respond: it looks like we are just like you...

Since it has been about 25 years since I read this story and I read its Russian translation, there may be some inaccuracies, but hopefully for someone who has read this story, the plot would sound familiar.

  • 1
    Are you sure it was originally in English and got translated to Russian as opposed to being in Russian in the first place?
    – sudhanva
    Sep 19, 2018 at 3:00

1 Answer 1


This is "Punch" by Frederik Pohl.

It ends:

"We don't shoot sitting birds."

Punch gasped with delight. "Another bond between us! But now I must go to the fleet for the--hum. For the surprise."

  • Thank you! This is it! Really appreciate it.
    – Vitaliy
    Sep 19, 2018 at 4:08

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