In the story I'm trying to find, aliens are passing by, notice earth, make contact, and inform us that the sun will go nova in a decade or so. The ship doesn't have the resources to evacuate enough of us. They have FTL tech, but it doesn't scale beyond small ships.

The aliens have three eyes, and a bizarrely complicated language (so learning English is trivial for them). They never invented video or copying tech because the images are so lame by their standard. They're bemused by our copying equipment and consider us handicapped. But they let us copy their tech info, then sadly go their way knowing we're doomed.

In fact, our "limited" binocular perspective and language let us find an approach they missed, and by the time the same ship returns to its home we've not only built FTL but scaled up their tech and moved the entire earth-moon system there.

I think the title is "A Matter of Perspective", but I have no idea of the author. Searching for that title gets countless hits for Star Trek and various poetry; searching for three-eyed aliens gets countless Toy Story hits.

What is the author and title of this story?

  • One of these, perhaps? isfdb.org/cgi-bin/…
    – Valorum
    Jun 12, 2021 at 16:36
  • Hmm. It's not 'A Matter of Perspective' by Edward M. Lerner, nor is it 'A Matter of Perspective' by S. J. Byrne
    – Valorum
    Jun 12, 2021 at 16:39
  • Pretty sure it's not any of those, but thanks for the pointer to that database -- highly useful! I think it was written in the 70s or 80s (I didn't check the ones in the list that are much more recent).
    – TextGeek
    Jun 12, 2021 at 16:45
  • 2
    This question deserves extra points for correct use of a hyphen. Jun 13, 2021 at 16:55

1 Answer 1


This is "Natural Advantage" by Lester del Rey.

It ends

"We moved Earth, the Sun and the planets out to a safe place almost two years ago."

This nice cover by Richard Corben shows the tri-ocular aliens.

enter image description here

(image from isfdb.org)

  • 3
    The Sun? That sun that's about to go nova? YOU TOOK IT WITH YOU??? Jun 14, 2021 at 10:32
  • 1
    @Eight-BitGuru the actual problem was that an anti-matter cloud was on course to hit the Solar System. Jun 14, 2021 at 12:52

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