In the early- to mid-nineties I bought a book that was a collection of sci-fi short stories. One story was about a man that I think had emergency/crash-landed on a planet where he was treated nicely by a group. After traveling further around the planet he ran into what looked like the exact same group but with different, possibly violent attitudes toward him. I think in the end it turns out to be some experiments he stumbled on/got thrown into.

I’ve searched a few collections online and the Isaac Asimov Collection #2 cover looks very familiar but I read plot summaries for each story and none seemed familiar.

  • Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! This question would be improved by going through the checklists here; How to ask a good story-ID question?
    – Valorum
    Sep 28, 2018 at 19:47
  • Can you confirm which Asimov collection you've already looked at?
    – Valorum
    Sep 28, 2018 at 19:47
  • 1
    Were the people he met humans/human analogues or more alien beings? Also, can you remember anything about other stories in the collection?
    – DavidW
    Sep 28, 2018 at 19:49
  • Thank y’all so much for helping . Valorum had it figured out in no time. David W thanks for helping as well but that really was all I remembered. I was very young and have never had that great of a memory to begin with. For whatever reason this story stuck with me from around age 11/12 to 38. I can’t wait to re read it! You guys are fantastic, 😊
    – Niki
    Oct 1, 2018 at 15:34
  • Oops I think “user” answered it. Either way thank you all for the efforts. This is my first time using the site
    – Niki
    Oct 1, 2018 at 15:37

1 Answer 1


"The Enchanted Forest", a novelette by Fritz Leiber, first published in Astounding Science Fiction, October 1950, available at the Internet Archive. Does any of these covers look familiar?

The director nodded. "On Magellanic 47 we're carrying on that same sort of work, not with rats, but with human beings. The cages are half-mile clearings with identical weather, terrain, plants, animals—everything identical down to the tiniest detail. The bars of the cages are the thorn trees, which our botanists developed specially for the purpose. The inmates of the cages—the human experimental animals—are identical twins—though centuplets would be closer to the right word. Identical upbringings are assured for each group by the use of robot nurses and mentors, set to perform always the same unvarying routine. These robots are removed when the members of the group are sufficiently mature for our purposes. All our observations are, of course, completely secret—and also intermittent, which had the unfortunate result of letting Elven do some serious damage before he was caught.

"Do you see the setup now? In the thorn forest in which Elven was wrecked there were approximately one hundred identical clearings set at identical intervals. Each clearing looked exactly like the other, and each contained one Sefora, one Tulya, one Alfors, and one Kors. Elven thought he was going in a circle, but actually he was going in a straight line. Each evening it was a different clearing he came to. Each night he met a new Sefora.

"Each group he encountered was identical except for one factor—the factor we were varying—and that had the effect of making it a bit more grisly for him. You see, in those groups we happened to be running an experiment to determine the causes of human behavior patterns toward strangers. We'd made slight variations in their environment and robot-education, with the result that the first group he met was submissive toward strangers; the second was violently hostile; the third as violently friendly; the fourth highly suspicious. Too bad he didn't meet the fourth group first—though, of course, they'd have been unable to manage him except that he was half mad with supernatural terror."

  • 1
    This is it! Wow incredible, my description was so vague . I’m so happy to how stumbled across this site. Thank you so much.
    – Niki
    Oct 1, 2018 at 15:28
  • It was from the the very last book cover on the link I clicked.
    – Niki
    Oct 1, 2018 at 15:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.