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The Frightened Planet by Sidney Austen

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"The Frightened Planet" is a 1948 science fiction short story by Sidney Austen. It is about a Cro-Magnon man who is taken by aliens to their home planet.

We’re Not in 1948 Anymore Toto!

This is a fun story to read, but there are some out-dated and chauvinistic ideas about how to treat women, so watch out for that. Just keep telling yourself that this is a pulp fiction story from 1948 – maybe that will help you overlook its defects.

Non-Spoiler Summary

Cro-Magnon man // Hombre de Cromañon by Dark Botxy, CC 2.0 License

Karn has been kicked out of his tribe – he was the up-and-coming male and all that. Anyway, while wandering around on his own he comes across a strange site: an alien space ship with 3 aliens! The intriguing part is that one of those aliens is a pretty female who captivates Karn. When she is threatened by a wild animal Karn steps in to save the day. Needless to say she is impressed, and the aliens end up taking Karn back to their home planet – where all their cities are under attack by a strange race of green, slimy lizard people. Karn is appalled at the lack of the aliens’ courage and defensive skills, so he plans to teach them a few things.

Some Interesting Tidbits

  • Word count: 5,435 (10 pages)
  • Did you know that the Cro-Magnon people mentioned in this story lived on Earth about 30,000 years ago? Yep. Learn more about Cro-Magnon men at Wikipedia.
  • Special thanks to Variety SF for recommending this story!

Where To Find The Frightened Planet

  • This short story was first published in the October 1948 edition of Amazing Stories.
  • You can download or read "The Frightened Planet" for free online at Project Gutenberg.

Craving More SF Stories Like This One?

If you liked "The Frightened Planet" then you may also enjoy “The Hunted Heroes” by Robert Silverberg – about a team of uranium miners who are captured by a madman on Mars.

2 thoughts to “The Frightened Planet by Sidney Austen”

  1. If you know any feminist archaeologists, I highly recommend sending them this story. The resulting explosion is good for hours of laughs.

  2. hey Rusty .. the terrible fear of our age.. to be politically correct everywhere .. even you make due apologies “some out-dated and chauvinistic ideas about how to treat women”

    One should not be so afraid to say out loud. It is a man’s privilege and responsibility to lead. Everyone .. Men and Women both are happier that way.

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