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Literature / The Gentle Vultures

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First published in Super Science Fiction (December 1957 issue), by Isaac Asimov. This Science Fiction Short Story is set during the (then present-day) Cold War, postulating an alien race acting as Circling Vultures.

Hurrians, an alien species, have set a small Moon base in secret, and have been waiting for fifteen years, much longer than they ever expected. Captain Devi-en is welcoming an Arch-administrator who is investigating exactly why nuclear war hasn't happened on schedule. A couple of theories are ventured, but they need more information.

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They kidnap a random hiker and interrogate him over the course of several days. The human eats poorly and struggles against confinement, which the Hurrians interpret as the natural result of large-primate competitiveness. Frustrated at the confinement, the human berates the Hurrians for their decision to avoid contact with species until they've destroyed themselves in nuclear war instead of working to prevent war.

"The Gentle Vultures" was republished four times; Nine Tomorrows (1959), Contact (1963), Earthmen And Strangers (1966), and The Complete Stories, Volume 1 (1990).


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