I am looking for the title of a short story where a space craft is made up of various creatures from around the universe.

If I remember correctly the skin of the craft is made of creatures. the computer is just a giant brain. The engine creature suffers some form of malfunction and a nearby suitable replacement is located which happens to be a human. Although not as good as the original the human will suffice. At first he is reluctant but then discovers he loves it. I think they call propelling the craft as "pushing".

I hope somebody can help. I had this book many years ago and I don't know what I have done with it.


1 Answer 1


Specialist by Robert Sheckley.

Plot description from wikipedia (which agrees with what I remember of this story)

A galactic deep-space cargo ship is blown off course by a photon storm. When the crew recover, they don't know their location in space and one of their members, known as Pusher, is dead. The Crew comprises varied members of vastly different intelligent races, all in close mental rapport known as the Cooperation, and serving specialized functions; they are known as Engine, Thinker, Eye etc. But without a Pusher, they cannot accelerate to ftl speeds. They manage to locate a planet known to be rich in primitive Pushers, Earth. They try to communicate with a man they find, but he is so violent and resistant that they are forced to bring him on board the ship to try to reason with him. Gradually, the man begins to realize the nature of the Crew and the pleasure to be found as a part of the mental Cooperation. He agrees to join the crew. Hesitantly at first, he tries to Push and finally learns how it is done. The ship speeds away at eight times the speed of light and accelerating.

It appears in quite a lot of anthologies (see isfdb)


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