This is a story I read in the 90s. Probably a short story in an anthology, though I have an idea it was more detailed than most so it might have been a novella.

A father and son team were exploring under polar ice on Earth. The son was about 14 but had finished his education, thanks to a small, implanted computer that augmented his brain.

They discovered the preserved body of a humanoid alien. Its hands had double palms with fingers all the way around the edges. A small robot darted up to them, plugged into the boy's implant, and managed to communicate to him what they'd found.

The alien was one of a race that had lived on Venus in the distant past. They were not natural explorers but had travelled to Earth to escape extreme climate change. They settled where they landed but failed to recognise that the planet was entering an ice age, so instead of heading towards the equator they tried to wait out the worsening winters until they all died.

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    What length was this? Novel, novella, short story? If the latter, did you read it in a magazine or an anthology?
    – DavidW
    Nov 29, 2022 at 15:59
  • @DavidW Good point, I've edited the question. Nov 30, 2022 at 8:38
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    I'm pretty sure I've read this. At least the story I read also had father+son explorers, where son had microchip encyclopaedia in his head, and they found a mummified alien body. I'm afraid I don't recall any identifying details, but I can add a little more. It was a short story in a book. I read it earlier, say 1980 +/- one year in the UK. I recall editorial comment saying that since the chip provided facts education now took form of experiences, which is why they were exploring. And I think the alien's eyes had vertical not horizontal eyelids.
    – user23087
    Dec 1, 2022 at 3:17
  • @user23087 That fits. I remember the father explaining that school was a bit like the place the son went to learn to get the most out of his computer - which suggests he didn't know what a school was. Since school was just a bit of social history at this point, the chip's makers might have decided to leave it out. Dec 1, 2022 at 10:35

1 Answer 1


Possibly "The Thing Under the Glacier" • (1963) • short story by Brian W. Aldiss in "Blast Off: S.F. for Boys" • anthology by Harry Harrison 1969

My notes say 'alien and robot found underneath Antarctic ice' which sounds like the one.

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    I agree that this is it. The story is available in the collection "In Time To Come" at the internet archive here archive.org/details/intimetocome0000unse It contains all the elements in the question. 4X, the hands: i.imgur.com/xsGxB5X.png Jan 6, 2023 at 14:50
  • Thanks, both. Google books has it in another anthology, and among its limited excerpts are the question about school, the little scuttling robot, climate change on Venus, and the same quote about the palms. Also it refers to the computer as a "miniputer" which fits my recollection. Jan 6, 2023 at 15:18
  • sophisticated concept of a brain implant augmenting intelligence in 1963. i wonder if this is the first such story with this idea?
    – releseabe
    Jan 6, 2023 at 16:09

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