I read this in HS in the '80s. Story told from the point of view of inhabitants of a planet, which we assume are humans, as invaders come attacking. Late, or near the end of the story it is revealed to the reader that it is the humans that are the attackers... possibly by revealing NASA logo on their suits? I thought it was a Ray Bradbury story, but can't find it.


2 Answers 2


I was originally going to suggest "Sentry" (1954) by Fredric Brown, but looking at the ISFDb page it doesn't look nearly as likely as the other one Fuzzy Boots suggested, "The Hunters" (1952) by Walt Shelton.

"The Hunters" was anthologized in the much-reprinted classic Fifty Short Science Fiction Tales (1962) which had a dozen editions before 1980.

The story follows a man Lon and his wife Jeni as they flee from invaders from space. They lived in a city, but were able to fly west into the wilderness when it was attacked. They made a cabin in the woods, but a ship of the invaders lands and they flee as they are hunted. At the end of the story we find out the invaders are from Earth:

Lon stared back, taking in every strange detail. It was his first close look at one of these invaders from the planet called Earth, which was third from the sun and had one moon.

The story was originally published in Startling Stories, March 1952, and you can read it at the Internet Archive.

  • THAT'S IT!!! The Hunters! As soon as I heard the names Lon and Jeni, it sparked. Thank you so much! My 12 year old daughter has been waiting for me to figure this out so she can read it!
    – Rick
    May 14 at 1:52

There are a number of stories with similar plots. An episode of The Twilight Zone, for example.

However, I think the story you read was probably Youth, by Isaac Asimov.

The humans aren't attacking, they are on a diplomatic mission. But the twist where the protagonists are aliens and the strangers are humans is the same.

Slim is a boy whose astronomer father is visiting the country estate of an important industrialist. The industrialist's son, Red, has found two strange animals, and he enlists Slim in a plan to turn the animals into a circus act. The astronomer, meanwhile, tells the industrialist that he has been in contact with space aliens who want to open up their world to interstellar trade. Their world needs help, the astronomer says; for ever since the atomic wars that destroyed their old civilization, their world has been regressing. Unless something is done, their civilization may face total collapse.

When they do not hear from the aliens, the astronomer and the industrialist go out looking for them. They find a small crashed spaceship with a number of tiny dead aliens in it, and the astronomer is convinced that the aliens all died in the crash. When he hears Red admit to the industrialist that he has been keeping two animals in a cage in a barn, he realizes that the "animals" are actually two surviving aliens. When the industrialist learns that the aliens allowed themselves to be captured and caged rather than harm the two youngsters, he is favorably impressed and agrees to help the aliens begin trading with his people. The two aliens succeed in repairing their spaceship and set out for their world: Earth.

The last line is something to the effect of Red sadly waving goodbye with 50-foot tentacles.

  • I also immediately thought of the twilight zone episode
    – chiliNUT
    May 15 at 3:05

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