Help identify this scifi short story about political revolution !
September 23, 2013 10:11 AM Subscribe
Can you identify this vaguely remembered long lost scifi short story? I read this story in London when I was a kid... but it may not be British, just English language: the basic plot goes something like this - the human narrator is telling an anecdote about the pitfalls of universal translator technologies. He relates the story of a lone human scientist (perhaps a biologist or an anthropologist) studying life on an alien planet. More plot details [and SPOILERS] in the extended explanation !!!!
posted by Bwithh to writing & language (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The scientist is an ardent, very left-wing revolutionary in his politics - possibly a Trotskyite. His base camp or something is nicknamed by him "The Winter Palace". Intelligent life on the planet consists of a master race of pretty flying colourful umbrella aliens and a slave race of ugly slug aliens (who do all the work and live in horrible conditions compared to the umbrellas). The scientist's universal translator translates the umbrella aliens' conversations as lordly, posh, aristocratic English; the slugs' conversations are translated as servile working class English. The scientist preaches red revolution to the slugs and leads them in overthrowing the umbrellas, who are all massacred by the slugs. The twist [SPOILER ALERT]
is that in a while, the scientist is stunned when the slugs, as they get older, all start maturing and growing up to become umbrellas.
(this story was previously mentioned by me in this thread on the blue)