Science fiction story
April 18, 2005 4:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a science fiction story.

It was about a man who crash-landed on Mars, and started to walk back. He met a bird-like alien that was being eaten by a plant that could project illusions, saved the bird-alien, and journeyed with it for a while. It was intelligent and hopped, but didn't have anything close to human thinking style, or at least the guy didn't understand the way it thought. It had a glass pistol that fired with steam pressure. They met a lot of different types of creatures, a plant again this time trying to eat the guy, a silicon pyramid creature, and a bunch of hive creatures and there was a lot of referencing to 1+1=2, for creatures that were or were not sentient. Aka, the bird was 1+1=2, or sentient. The pyramid thing wasn't, and neither was the plant thing. The bird was a LOT smarter than the human. They met these alien hive creatures, stole a jewel that could heal hurts and the human got rescued while the alien hopped off.

I think it's supposed to be a pretty famous story because the alien was alien, but still friendly. It was one of the first of it's type. I can remember almost all of the plot, but not the name.
posted by stoneegg21 to Writing & Language (11 answers total)
Weinbaugh's "Martian Oddysey."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:12 PM on April 18, 2005

Odyssey, of course.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:14 PM on April 18, 2005

I love the concept of an alien race not thinking at all like humans, yet still developing steam power and pistols. Isn't golden age sci fi funny sometimes?
posted by bcwinters at 4:18 PM on April 18, 2005

Looks like you got your answer already, but for future reference, rec.arts.sf.written is a really good place to ask these kinds of questions.
posted by nmiell at 4:18 PM on April 18, 2005

That's a damn good story. I think someone made it into a radio drama.
posted by NickDouglas at 4:29 PM on April 18, 2005

It's Stanley Wienbaum not Weinbaugh.

I have this story in my invaluable copy of SF Hall of Fame Vol. 1. (Seriously, everyone should have a copy of this book)
posted by vacapinta at 4:53 PM on April 18, 2005

Yes, of course it is. Why the hell would I call him Weinbaugh? That's just stupid.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:09 PM on April 18, 2005

It was one of the first of its type.

The full story online. According to the publisher's comment at Powell's, it was voted an impressive 2nd in the SF Writers of America's list that I think makes up vacapinta's book (can't wait to read that, v, thanks). Asimov's quote seems to validate your perception, stoneegg21:

Hidden in this obscure magazine, "A Martian Odyssey" had the effect on the field of an exploding grenade. With this single story, Weinbaum was instantly recognized as the world's best living science fiction writer, and at once almost every writer in the field tried to imitate him.
posted by mediareport at 6:27 PM on April 18, 2005

I heartily endorse vacapinta's endorsement of the SF Hall of Fame vol. 1, which is finally back in print.
posted by goatdog at 7:08 PM on April 18, 2005

Perfect! That's it. Thanks for the full story, I'd been hoping once I had the name I could find the story, now I don't even have to worry about that.
posted by stoneegg21 at 7:54 PM on April 18, 2005

Hee. I know it's kinda noise, but I just had to note that this afternoon a beautiful Avon paperback of "The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Vol 1" came into the used bookstore where I work.

I am a happy monkey in a kind and loving universe. For now, anyway.
posted by mediareport at 9:21 PM on April 20, 2005

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