I'd like to ask if you'd be able to identify a story I read years in high school. I think it was around 1987 when I read an interesting science fiction story in a multistory novel. The novel was fairly old from it's appearance and might have been 10-20 years earlier than the time of reading thus making it's original publication date possibly prior to 1977. The story was about a group of aliens of all different kinds visiting a dead world that had(past tense) a thriving civilization and they were discussing what had happened to the world. I think they were an archeological group and were incredulous as to how fast the human species had progressed technologically. I think their different species were talking about how they took hundred of thousands of years to develop different inventions that the human species did in hundreds of years. I think it led to them questioning the progress of their own species and wondering if that was going to happen to their civilizations. I hope the information provided helps to identify the story.

Cheers Guys!


1 Answer 1


It's a standalone short story and not part of a "multi-story novel", but I think Arthur C Clarke's "Rescue Party" is probably what you're looking for. It concerns a multi-species expedition visiting an abandoned Earth only hours before the sun explodes. They eventually discover that humanity has launched a slower-than-light escape fleet, and are amazed at the rapid technological progress that this represents, since their own species typically took millions of years between the invention of radio and the invention of space travel.

The story has been very widely anthologised and collected; here is the ISFDB bibliographic entry for it.

The story can be read online in full here

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