I'm trying to find a short sci-fi story that I read some 40 years ago (in the early to mid 70's). Earth had been isolated with some force field as Humans were regarded as too dangerous/uncivilized by the galactic civilization, but something had happened and Humans were potentially needed to help.. The story was about earth being checked out to see if Humans were now safe enough or it would be even more risk to let them loose. The story ends with the force field being released and Earths moon being taken along by the Humans so that they would have something to remind them of home...

That's what I vaguely recall. Any pointers would be most appreciated.

  • This sounds awfully like the spin series of books but the dates don't match.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 13:20
  • It could be the same book. If the OP confirms that the answer is "With Friends Like These" (by Alan Dean Foster) then I'll vote to close.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 14:54
  • NOT the story you want, but CS Lewis's "Out of the Silent Planet" has the theme of the earth being isolated to contain evil. Hence its "silence". Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 9:24

2 Answers 2


That's "With Friends Like These..." by Alan D. Foster. A very nice soap opera short, a little hyperbole of course. Best scene where the guy falls down the hole.

  • 2
    Do you have story details that show why it matches the question? Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 14:43
  • 1
    "With Friends Like These" is a collection of short stories by Alan Dean Foster. The main story is about a galactic civilization under threat by an aggressive species who decide to crack the forcefield around Earth as Humans were calculated as winning any war, given time. The aliens land and find a single family. One alien sees the son wander off and follows him, only to discover a ship of the enemy landing. When the enemies abuse the boy, the boy shows machine-augmented powers. The local mammals also talk. The force shield is cracked, and Humans follow in their own space ship - Earth.
    – jhpace1
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 14:42

JhPace1 is correct, it is a short story by Alan Dean Foster, in the book With Friends Like These. At the end when the humans go off to help the aliens fight their enemy, giant thrusters are revealed on the Earth's surface, turning the Earth itself into a giant spaceship, and they take the moon along with them because "obviously you get attached to something like that," was the observation from one of the aliens.

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