I read this story in the 70s; is about an astronaut running from the law, he crash landed in a "deserted" planet and got badly injured, to the point that he cannot move at all.

Then this small creatures appear and tend to him, learning from him and developing a culture around him.

Later on more humans discover the planet and the creatures and find a statue of the man build by them.

I think Futurama did a sketch about it.

What's the name of the story?

  • I remember a Simpson episode with that general story, where Lisa get miniaturized by a culture of people who grew to life in one of her science projects.
    – TLP
    Jan 27, 2013 at 8:29
  • Not any of Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat stories. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stainless_Steel_Rat Dec 16, 2013 at 18:37

2 Answers 2


That's Alan Dean Foster's "Gift of a Useless Man". The protagonist was a petty criminal named Pearson. The insect who made first contact was named Yirn, and one of the plot points was Pearson's surprise at the insects' short life span. He has only been on the asteroid for a few weeks or months, and he mistakes one of the insects for Yirn, when it is actually an insect named Yurn - Yirn's son who has taken over from Yirn because Yirn has died of old age.

  • thank you thank you, this is the one. man this thing was driving me crazy. Dec 17, 2013 at 17:39

That could perhaps be Monument by Lloyd Biggle, Jr.

  • I thought of that too, but it doesn't quite match: there's no injury, and it's not that some small creatures build up a culture around him, but that he teaches the people how to preserve their culture in the face of the coming of the galactic civilization. Jan 26, 2013 at 19:54
  • 1
    no that's not it. Then creatures are quite small, at first he thought they were ants. They also build a city around him and tend to him. Man this is driving me crazy. Jan 26, 2013 at 20:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.