The Repairman by Harry Harrison

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"The Repairman" is a 1958 science fiction short story by Harry Harrison. It is about an interstellar repairman who must fix an old, outdated beacon on a world full of strange aliens.

Non-Spoiler Summary

Repairman by Wonderlane, CC 2.0 License

Have you ever been in one of those jobs that you just can’t quit? Well, the protagonist of this story is in that situation – literally. So when he is assigned to fix an ancient hyper-space beacon at the edge of nowhere he doesn’t have much choice but to go and do it. His arrival at the Proxima Centauri planets, however, is a bit of a surprise – both to him and the lizard-like aliens that have built a temple around the malfunctioning beacon! Knowing that he can’t just barge in and do whatever he wants, the repairman goes to great lengths to learn about and copy the local culture so that he can fix the beacon without disrupting their lifestyle. What he doesn’t know is that they have a plan for him too. (Cue evil laugh here!)

Some Interesting Tidbits

  • Word count: 5,451 (9 pages)
  • Did you know that science fiction author Harry Harrison recently passed away on August 15, 2012? Learn more about this excellent author on his official web site.
  • Special thanks to the Classic Science Fiction group for sharing this story in one of their weekly short story group reads!

Where To Find The Repairman

  • This short story was first published in the February 1958 edition of Galaxy Science Fiction.
  • You can read "The Repairman" online at Project Gutenberg.
  • It is also included in the collection Toy Shop and Two Others.

Craving More SF Stories Like This One?

If you liked "The Repairman" then you might also enjoy “Keep Your Shape” by Robert Sheckley – about some aliens who try to invade a nuclear plant on Earth.

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