Precedent by Robert Silverberg


by Robert Silverberg

Form: Novelette

Year: 1957

ID: 904

Publication history:


In hundreds of years of space travel, and thousands of inhabited planets contacted, the explorers from Earth have never found a species as advanced technologically or culturally (so it says in the story) as humans. So it is our duty to bring advancement to the underdeveloped, but we must do it carefully and not seem overbearing or superior. After all, our generosity might not be understood for the charity it is.

The people of Leeminorr are primitive and superstitious, clearly less advanced than the humans who have landed on their world to bring them the benefits of civilization, but by a sacred long-standing rule, Earth people must abide by local laws, and face local justice if they transgress. When Lt Pickering disrespectfully sits on the temple steps to eat his lunch, he becomes the second human to face local justice on a foreign world. But the mission cammander has a plan...

Other resources:

[None on record]