I am almost positive this short story appeared in either Galaxy, IF, or Worlds of Tomorrow in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The MC is an alien with three(?) legs and a bell-like head with a circle of eyes around a mouth in the top of its head. The creature is disgusting - it lives in its own filth and eats its own young. One of the eyes at the top of its head is infected and rotting, so it crushes the eye directly across to even it out. Meeting a human explorer, it invites him back to its sewer of a home, where it already has a number of guests of its own species. Being the host, it offers its young to its guests as treats. The shocked human tries to stop this. The guests are so offended that they eat the MC alive. The strangest SF story I ever read.

The story did not appear in Analog; - there is no way a story as gross as this one would be published there at that time (unless my memory of when I read it is completely off). I think there was an illustration, which leaves out F&SF, which didn't have interior illustrations at the time. Publications could include Amazing and Fantastic, but my father - who bought these magazines - preferred Galaxy and If.

  • Makes me think of Aldiss' The Dark Light Years though it's almost definitely not a match.
    – DavidW
    Nov 13, 2021 at 0:12
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    Not getting to have the kids as snacks. Nov 13, 2021 at 0:41
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    It reminds me of my first wife
    – Danny Mc G
    Nov 13, 2021 at 6:26
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    My first girlfriend! To clarify: the guests eat the host. I believe there is a moral to this story, considering what was going on in Vietnam at the time. The human explorer, who has no knowledge of local customs, tries to intervene by saving the alien's young from being eaten, leading to disaster for the alien. Nov 13, 2021 at 15:10
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    I've been through the contents pages for all editions of Galaxy, If and Worlds of Tomorrow published from 1960 to 1969, and I haven't found anything that looks like your story. I can go through the magazines page by page to make absolutely sure the story isn't there, but that's a lot of work and I'm reluctant to do it unless you're absolutely sure of the date range. Dec 13, 2021 at 11:42


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