I read this short story a few years ago but I cannot remember the title or author. It was about a human scientist on another planet who was studying the native flora and fauna, trying to find something edible for humans. Does anyone know the title of this story?

  • 3
    More details would REALLY help this question.. Can you remember anything else? Even the cover of the book, character names/descriptions, whatever, could help.
    – K-H-W
    Jul 8, 2012 at 4:32
  • I have to agree with Keith, BTW, this particular theme (trying to find edible bits on an alien world) comes up again and again. Jul 8, 2012 at 17:40
  • Wow. Someone still hasn't marked this a duplicate of a newer question so that they can siphon upvotes away from my correct answer and to their cheating, copied-from-mine answer yet. What's up with that? Been nearly 5 years.
    – John O
    Aug 15, 2017 at 16:06

2 Answers 2


That's almost certainly a David Brin short story. All the fauna are poisonous, but they manage to find something where the poison is sequestered in specific tissues. Sort of like blowfish. They even have a sushi chef to cut away the bad parts.

The native aliens help them find the organisms, and once they finish the first taste test, the native aliens mention that that was the last one.

Don't know the name of it though.


The short story is probably "Bonding to Genji". Originally in a novel called Murasaki which was a collaborative effort with other authors, Brin's chapter was later included in an anthology titled Otherness.


Yes, more details would help, one story this brought to mind was "Thanksgiving Day" which was published in 2009 in Analog and recently on the EscapePod podcast.


Kev’s stomach curled around emptiness, embracing it as a constant reminder that the colony’s Earth food was almost gone. Another three months, four at the outside. Then what? How will we die?

He bent down to look into the nearest cage. “Maybe you’ll tell us why the food here is poisonous,” he said to one of the rats inside. It rolled its dull eyes listlessly toward him. Rust-brown clumps matted its fur, and the metallic odor of dried blood hung in the air.

Is that how I’ll go, clutching helplessly at alien dirt, coughing up blood? His gut clenched tighter.

“They are not going to tell you anything,” Ahmet said from across the toxicology lab.

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