I have read a science fiction years ago. About aliens selecting humans on Earth and people trying hard to fit in their criterias in order to be the "chosen ones" and go away with the aliens.

But they don't know that aliens actually want to select them in order to exploit them for food consumption.

I might have messed up the plot a little, as I'm hardly remembering it. It might have been written by C. S. Lewis or Arthur C. Clarke or any other author similar to these.

Do you have guys have any clues what this book might be called?

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    To Serve Man! is a very old trope in scifi
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 9:00

1 Answer 1


It might well be Damon Knight's 1950 short story "To Serve Man". It fits the time frame of Lewis and Clarke (pun intended).

The synopsis, from Wikipedia (abbreviated):

The story opens at a special session of the UN where three alien emissaries are testifying that the purpose of their mission to Earth is to bring humans "the peace and plenty which we ourselves enjoy, and which we have in the past brought to other races throughout the galaxy". The aliens soon supply Earth with cheap unlimited power, boundless supplies of food, etc. As a further token of friendship, they allow humans to visit their home planet via ten-year "exchange groups".

The narrator has trusted the emissaries from the time of their arrival, but his friend Grigori is certain that the aliens have an ulterior motive. He takes a job at the alien embassy to learn their language. This affords him access to an alien dictionary, and he later steals an alien book, hoping to translate it.

The two determine that the book's title is How to Serve Man. Two weeks later, the narrator returns from a trip to find Grigori distraught, having discovered to his horror that the title is a double entendre. Grigori has translated the first paragraph of the book and has determined that it is not a treatise on serving humanity, but a cookbook.

  • 2
    If it is the right answer, remember to accept it. :-) Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 9:14
  • 7
    And as an aside, I have just discovered what The Simpsons was riffing off in the original Treehouse of Horror!
    – Tom W
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 13:45
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    One of the most famous episodes of The Twilight Zone is also based on this book. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Serve_Man_(The_Twilight_Zone) Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 14:41
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    Quite a coincidence that that ambiguity is present in both English and the alien language. Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 17:26
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    @Acccumulation, it worked in Spanish as well, which is amazing - double entendres are tough to translations. (I originally read it translated as “El hombre: como servirlo” but I’ve also seen it as “Como servir al hombre” - either works well) Commented Mar 2, 2019 at 3:31

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