I only remember a few points from the story. It basically concerns two groups of aliens interacting with people of earth. The first called "Tobys", as they were being small and weak, and were being demeaned and treated condescendingly by a group of humans who belonged to some organization that was called "HFP". I don't remember what that stood for. The second group is, I believe, not actually on earth but is controlling the Tobys and the HFP-ers, who thus act against earths best interests.

Our hero discovers the HFP group and moves against them, enlisting the help of the Tobys' by simply calling them by their real names, then endearing them to him.

A few lines/plot points I remember:

  1. The hero discovers another anti-HFP sympathizer, who is injured. He helps the injured man, acting against orders of an HFP agent (security?). As the security guy approaches to discipline the hero, the injured man says something like "you don't know me, you are just one HFP-er helping another, got it?". When the security guard chastises the hero "don't you have anything better to do?", the hero replies "Better than helping an HFP brother?", thus putting the security guard in his place.

  2. The hero discovers that the Tobys (and maybe the HFP-ers) are actually under the control of a being they called Urias (or something like that). The line I remember is "Now, Urias is a great being, but he isn't God". They are directed by earpieces which constantly brainwash everyone; something about the super-powerful will of Urias being transmitted through the earpieces.

  3. There is a scene in which the hero needs to go into town, but knows he is being followed by the security guy. Being a local inhabitant, he is aware of a specific parking spot in a local parking garage, which is located on a tight (blind?) corner, in which it is easy to get into but almost impossible to get out of. For that reason, the spot is never used by locals, thus guaranteeing is is available for the hero. Meantime, the security guard is hopelessly stuck in traffic as there are no other spots to park and traffic backs up behind him. Now our hero can escape being watched and act freely.

That's really all I can recall.

  • Hi, welcome to the site. Was this a short story? If so, did you read it in an anthology or a magazine? Jan 1, 2023 at 2:12

1 Answer 1


This is the short novel The Running Man by J. Hunter Holly. It was published in 1963 so it fits with the time you remember reading it.

The HFP organisation is Heralds for Peace. On the first page the protagonist Jeff Munro is driving along and sees a sign:

As he rounded a gentle curve, a sign popped up before him. Yellow green, and red, it blasted at his vision with its message: “HFP is on the march! Join and save the world!” From that sign on, the trees along the road were dotted with slogans or the initials, HFP, Heralds for Peace.

“Join and save the world,” Jeff grumbled. “Rather, don’t join and save the world. Save it from the fanatics.”

The aliens are not called Tobys. However one of the aliens is called Toby:

There was nothing creepy about Toby. Toby wasn’t human, but he wasn’t totally inhuman either. Even so, standing in the room, surrounded by the figures, hearing the tinny voice that had no known home, and being constantly droned upon by the hum of the giant machines, he felt a strange nausea surging in his stomach. He didn’t belong here. He didn’t like it here.

The other aliens are the Masters. They are telepathic and control Toby's people, and they are trying to gain control over humans.

“Yes, but the Masters weren’t content. Would you be content with such hands and feet—slow, awkward and having to be shown every step of every thing you wanted done? The Masters’ search wasn’t over. Next, they led the Tobys to their home world and directed them in fabricating and setting up powerful transmitters that could send the telepathic powers of the Masters farther into space, searching for intelligence to equal their own. They found earth, and while our intelligence doesn’t equal theirs by any means, we are so far better than the Tobys that they had to have us. So the Tobys set up receivers and boosters on our Moon. Then, after careful investigation, they made contact. I was one of the first. I admit, they chose me for my selfishness, my greed, if you like. But it has paid off, and will pay off even more.”

(actually this character - an HFP member called Jeff does refer to Toby's people as Tobys)

And finally the being is indeed called Urias. When Jeff is talking to an HFP member called Cory he is told:

Sure. Why not? Somebody’s got to do it. But—” he looked over his shoulder at the rest of them and lowered his voice—"as to the other—God telling me, I mean—no, I don’t think it’s God. These others do. They still believe it. But like I said, I’ve been listening now for five years and I’ve got it figured out. I don’t hear God at all. What I hear is a—well, what you might call an ethereal being. Know what that is? An ethereal being who lives outside earth’s atmosphere and is concerned with us down here, and takes the time to direct us toward peace and happiness. I call him Urias. Now Urias is a great being, I don’t want to give the impression he’s not, but he’s not God.”

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