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Publisher's Summary

A dilemma in the Nebula! Two spaceships meet in deep space. How do they establish trust, not only between their two crews, but also between their home worlds? A classic puzzle. The only way to warn home would be to return, and how do you know you were not being followed? Trade would be desirable, but how can you base an exchange of knowledge on unfounded trust? What then is the solution to this stalemate of technological equals, other than to utterly destroy the alien ship, who's defensive capabilities are unknown?
Public Domain (P)2009 CoolBeat Audiobooks

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  • Niels J. Rasmussen
  • 25-05-2014

One of the Best Sci-Fi Short Stories I Have Read

Any additional comments?

The premise in this short story is simple, yet unique (especially for its genre).

The story itself is just a simple, straightforward dilemma. But the consequences of choices made by the characters involved hold with them possible world-ending connotations.
Well written, narrated & produced.

Condensed versions of this story have appeared in best-of sci-fi collections and magazines, but this is the original, full story. Another take on this story was also produced for the 1950s sci-fi radio series "Dimension X". (Check it out! Great episode.)

Check this one out if you call yourself a fan of science fiction.

9.5 / 10

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • A Davies
  • 19-03-2015

Big theories, sparse plot

Is there anything you would change about this book?

First Contact has an excellent premise, but unfortunately doesn't deliver. The publisher's summary itself reads like 90% of the book - it asks some fascinating questions, but then proceeds to analyze them endlessly - at the expense of plot. As a result, the story is robbed of the tension it deserves, and at times I couldn't help feeling I was listening to 90-minute essay ("Murray Leinster's Theories On First Contact") rather than a book.

Would you ever listen to anything by Murray Leinster again?

For better balanced sci-fi by the same author, I'd definitely recommend The Hate Disease or This World Is Taboo, which combine ethical dilemmas with fleshed-out characters and a sense of pace.

Which character – as performed by Skip Mahaffey – was your favorite?

Skip Mahaffey's portrayal of the Earth ship's gruff Skipper is great.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 16-06-2019

A story that captures the post war era

The ending was a bit abrupt, but perfectly captures the era this book was written in.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joel D Offenberg
  • 23-08-2010

A Classic

The plot is simple: A spaceship from Earth is studying a nebula, when it encounters an alien spacecraft. Does either side trust the other to go home peacefully? When and how is it possible for two completely alien species to establish trust, especially when a wrong guess could lead to annihilation of the whole race?

The author, Murray Leinster, has written some of the most interesting and thought-provoking science fiction of the middle part of the 20th Century, and this---published in 1945---is one of his best. Leinster is credit with coining the term "first contact" to refer to an initial meeting with an alien species and with providing the first example of a universal translator in this story.

I'm less excited by Skip Mahaffey's reading. It is competent, but doesn't add anything to the experience.

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