This story as I recall it was a short story in a compilation book of the 1980/1990s. The plot has a Martian cruise ship suffering a disaster in space. Only a handful of people get into a lifeboat and it is damaged enough they cannot get to Mars. They crash land somewhere in Europe at the time of the Neanderthals.

Using firearms and weapons they had on the ship they fight off the Neanderthals who in the story are not friendly at all. I do not recall why Mars never comes to the rescue but as the story progresses they have children and one by one the original people die off. And of course their children are the basis for the Cro Magnons.

I have been racking my brain for the title of the story or the title of the book it was in. Guess either my PTSD from Desert Storm is fogging my memory or maybe it's fading due to age. I know sooner or later I'll get the name of it. Thanks for the assist in any case.

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    what about this story en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giants_series . The Cerian survivors ask to be transported down onto Earth but the gravitational stresses of the lunar arrival throws their civilization back to the stone age and, to survive, they are forced to wipe out the native Neanderthals before attempting to rebuild.
    – Bigben59
    Oct 26, 2013 at 9:01
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    To answer the question about rescue - the civilization on Mars was strapped to build the first ship, which was a colonization attempt, not a cruise. It was their last chance, and when it mostly failed, they could build no more.
    – Oldcat
    Jul 31, 2014 at 1:03

1 Answer 1


This is Genesis (1951) by H. Beam Piper, part of his 'Paratime' series. Your timing suggests you found it in Isaac Asimov's Neanderthals.

Here is the text of the story at Project Gutenberg.

  • That is exactly the story and the book. Thank you.
    – Jack
    Oct 26, 2013 at 20:29

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