I read this in my primary school reading book in the '80s, I believe the author name was English but I'm not sure. The story goes something like this:

An employee of some sort of galactic federation shows up to its boss to mention that people on Earth have finally harnessed atomic energy.

The boss, a tall alien, is happy and proceeds to write down "Terra, coordinates X, Y, Z" in a big list of space faring civilizations, then asks when should they expect these new people to show up.

The employee, embarrassed, admits that while earthlings have mastered atomic bombs, they have not mastered space travel.

The boss is appalled by the fact that someone may consider using atomic bombs on their own planet, and proceeds to strike out the line he had just added, for the first time in history.

  • 1
    I can't remember the title, but I think the alien annotates the list with something like "too stupid".
    – sueelleker
    Commented May 25 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


That is Silly Asses by Isaac Asimov, first published in 1958. It is also the answer to this earlier question.

The story is pretty much as you described it, and not much longer. As the boss strikes out the Earth entry, he mutters "Silly asses" to himself.

  • indeed it is thanks! I had tried finding an earlier question but failed, it's fun to notice how I forgot the punch line but the author person who asked about it did not.
    – riffraff
    Commented May 27 at 7:02

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