I'm looking for a plot line (it should be a short story) that depicts Earth population (or their close descendants) establishing contact with another intelligent life form deep into space.

After careful studying of DNA samples and language / communication symbols they then realize that the civilization in question is also from Earth but that they departed very long ago and travelled throughout the galaxy in the completely opposite direction so that they are now meeting practically at the point of the circle opposite to Earth. There might have been some anatomical differences as well.

As far as I can remember, the story concludes shortly after that.

This should be a work of a well-known SF author, so I'm hoping for a quick response (if time didn't corrupt my memory too much).

I don't think it was part of an anthology, but it's entirely possible it was in a magazine.

As for the timeline, I've read it about 2-3 years ago, but since I have a passion for older SF works it might not be of much use.

Edit: Not sure if this could help but for what it's worth, it might be contained in this list.

  • Do you remember when you read it? Do you have any recollection of names, genders, races, nationality, etc? Did you read it in a magazine or part of an anthology? Even tiny details could help someone find this.
    – phantom42
    Feb 11, 2014 at 14:07
  • If I was sure of anything else I would have added it to the question. Unfortunately I think any further guesses I would make would do more harm then good. (Edit: I've added a few bits to the question, thanks). Feb 11, 2014 at 14:22
  • Sounds a bit like The City and the Stars by Clarke.
    – SQB
    Feb 11, 2014 at 14:59
  • Sadly but that's not it, though it bears a few similarities. Thanks anyway. Feb 11, 2014 at 18:00
  • @Richard Concerning the revision, although the spoiler tags are not needed, they can certainly enhance the experience of reading for someone that is interested in the story plot line enough to actualy read it. And thanks for tidying. Feb 11, 2014 at 20:12

1 Answer 1


That's "Final Encounter" by Harry Harrison. I have a copy in Galactic Empires Vol.2 edited by Brian Aldiss, but it's been collected elsewhere as well.

(I remembered having read it, but had no idea where, so I Googled on "ring species" galaxy, which turned up a relevant discussion.)

(If they were a long way from home but not actually on the far side of the galaxy, then it might instead be "Starfog" by Poul Anderson. But I think "Final Encounter" is the likelier one.)

  • Yeap, it's "Final Encounter", I've just verified it (strange coincidence that I had the exact magazine - no. 41 on the list above - within reach). Thanks a bunch! Feb 11, 2014 at 18:46
  • Oh, and nice work with the "ring species", wouldn't come up with that in a million years (well actually I only tried for like ah hour :) Feb 11, 2014 at 18:49

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