There was a science-fiction story or book where an alien lands on one of the moons of Saturn or Jupiter with its damaged spaceship. The alien is extremely intelligent, powerful and has a long, long lifespan. It’s able to search our solar system and notices our planet at a time when Homo Sapiens have just arrived on the scene.

The alien then uses his power to guide humans (unwittingly) through their history over the millions of years ultimately to the point where they acquire space travel and can make a visit to the moon that the alien is on with its damaged ship. The sole purpose of all this - and of all human history- is to allow the alien to eventually get and take a piece of circuitry from the earth-ship and use it in the alien’s ship for repairs that will allow the alien to continue on its journey.

My first thought was that this was a story from Kurt Vonnegut but that’s the only lead I have and I could be wrong. I would say the book or story was written somewhere in the 60’s, the 70s or 80s.


1 Answer 1


You're right, it is Vonnegut, specifically The Sirens of Titan (1959). Quoting from the plot summary on Wikipedia:

Salo, the Tralfamadorian explorer, is a robot built millennia earlier to carry a message to a distant galaxy. His spacecraft is powered by the Universal Will to Become or UWTB, the "prime mover" which makes matter and organization wish to appear out of nothingness. [...] A small component on Salo's spacecraft breaks and strands him here in the Solar System for over 200 millennia. He requests help from Tralfamadore, and his fellow Tralfamadorians respond by manipulating human history so that primitive humans evolve and create a civilization in order to produce the replacement part.

  • 1
    Cool! Thank God for Vonnegut (RIP)!
    – tale852150
    Jul 31, 2021 at 3:12

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