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The story was about a man who crashed on an uninhabited planet and was wandering around for a few years looking for another crashed spaceship to use its parts to repair his spaceship. He had a small alien creature sitting on his shoulder with whom he talked about Earth and how he wants to return home.

Now the twist part - a spaceship passing by noticed him and landed on this planet. The pilot told the protagonist that he actually was stuck on this planet for decades, the spaceship he was looking for crashed on a different planet, there is no alien creature on his shoulder — he was imagining it, the Earth is no more, and people now live on Mars (?). At the end, the man shot the pilot and continued wandering around and talking to the imaginary alien creature.

I think title might have been something like "Blue/Green Planet" (referring to Earth.)

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  • Hi, welcome to the site. Just to be clear, is this a novel or a short story you're looking for here? You've tagged this question with the 'books' tag, but only use the term 'story' in the title and the body of the question. Jun 26, 2022 at 22:48
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    Sorry, I wasn't sure which tag to pick. I think it was probably a short story, but I don't remember for sure. Jun 26, 2022 at 22:51

1 Answer 1

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This is Fredric Brown's Something Green.

Here's a blog post about the story.

The story was about a man who crashed on a uninhabited planet and was wandering around for few years looking for another crashed spaceship to use it's parts to repair his spaceship. He had a small alien creature sitting on his shoulder with who he talked about Earth and how he wants to return home.

He said, “Here we go, Dorothy. All set?”

The little five-limbed creature that rested on his shoulder didn't answer, but then it never did. It couldn't talk, but it was something to talk to. It was company. In size and weight it felt amazingly like a hand resting on his shoulder.

He'd had Dorothy for -- how long? At a guess, four years. He'd been here about five, as nearly as he could reckon it, and it had been about a year before he'd found her. Anyway, he assumed that Dorothy was of the gentler sex, if for no better reason than the gentle way she rested on his shoulder, like a woman's hand.

McGary chuckled softly. “Did you see that, Dorothy? That was green, the one color you don't have on this bloody red planet of yours. The most beautiful color in the universe, Dorothy. Green! And I know where there's a world that's mostly green, and we're going to get there, you and I. Sure we are. It's the world I came from, and it's the most beautiful place there is, Dorothy. You'll love it.”

Pilot told the protagonist that he actually was stuck on this planet for decades, the spaceship he was looking for crashed on a different planet, there is no alien creature on his shoulder he was imagining it, the Earth is no more and people now live on Mars (?). At the end man shot the pilot and continued wandering around and talking to the imaginary alien creature.

You've done wonderfully for thirty years, McGarry. You can thank God for the fact that you believed Marley's spacer crashed on Kruger III; it was Kruger IV. You'd have never found it here, but the search, as you say, kept you -- reasonably sane.” He paused a moment. His voice was gentle when he spoke again. “There isn't anything on your shoulder, McGarry. This Dorothy is a figment of your imagination. But don't worry about it; that particular delusion has probably kept you from cracking up completely.”

Lieutenant Archer was shaking his head slowly. Not back to Earth, old-timer. To Mars if you wish, the beautiful brown and yellow hills of Mars. Or, if you don't mind heat, to purple Venus. But not to Earth, McGarry. Nobody lives there anymore.”

The war with the Arcturians, twenty years ago. They struck first, and got Earth. We got them, we won, we exterminated them, but Earth was gone before we started. I'm sorry, but you'll have to settle for somewhere else.

McGarry's sol-gun came out of its holster. McGarry shot him, and Lieutenant Archer wasn't there anymore. McGarry stood up and walked to the little spacer. He aimed the sol-gun at it and pulled the trigger. Part of the spacer was gone. Half a dozen shots and it was completely gone. Little atoms that has been the spacer and little atoms that had been Lieutenant Archer of the Space Patrol may have danced in the air, but they were invisible.

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