Discussion:
Aliens have immortal souls – but humans do not
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g***@virginmedia.com
2018-03-01 10:23:01 UTC
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I remember this as the very dismal conclusion in a short story where humans have kidnapped superior aliens to solve the mysteries about them.

I forget both title and author. Does anyone know?
Bill Dugan
2018-03-01 15:20:26 UTC
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Post by g***@virginmedia.com
I remember this as the very dismal conclusion in a short story where humans have kidnapped superior aliens to solve the mysteries about them.
I forget both title and author. Does anyone know?
I think I've seen one by Poul Anderson that fits that, but I don't
recall the title.
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-03-01 15:12:30 UTC
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Post by g***@virginmedia.com
I remember this as the very dismal conclusion in a short story where
humans have kidnapped superior aliens to solve the mysteries about them.
I forget both title and author. Does anyone know?
I can think of two possibilities. One is Piper's "Oomphel in the
Sky," in which aliens have formed cargo cults around human tech,
and are convinced by a human that humans lack something the
aliens have, namely, souls.

And another in which the aliens have instantaneous trans-galactic
teleportation, in which they are destroyed at one end and
reconstituted at the other, and the human says, "But this is
wonderful! You're demonstrating that we have immortal souls!"
And the alien says sadly, "You don't." That was in _Analog_
sometime in the seventies, I think, can't recall title or author.
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Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
Butch Malahide
2018-03-01 16:43:32 UTC
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Post by Dorothy J Heydt
I can think of two possibilities. One is Piper's "Oomphel in the
Sky," in which aliens have formed cargo cults around human tech,
and are convinced by a human that humans lack something the
aliens have, namely, souls.
And another in which the aliens have instantaneous trans-galactic
teleportation, in which they are destroyed at one end and
reconstituted at the other, and the human says, "But this is
wonderful! You're demonstrating that we have immortal souls!"
And the alien says sadly, "You don't." That was in _Analog_
sometime in the seventies, I think, can't recall title or author.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
"You don't" is the punch line of "The Martyr" by Poul Anderson,
but it was in F&SF, not Analog.
Dorothy J Heydt
2018-03-01 19:58:46 UTC
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Post by Butch Malahide
Post by Dorothy J Heydt
I can think of two possibilities. One is Piper's "Oomphel in the
Sky," in which aliens have formed cargo cults around human tech,
and are convinced by a human that humans lack something the
aliens have, namely, souls.
And another in which the aliens have instantaneous trans-galactic
teleportation, in which they are destroyed at one end and
reconstituted at the other, and the human says, "But this is
wonderful! You're demonstrating that we have immortal souls!"
And the alien says sadly, "You don't." That was in _Analog_
sometime in the seventies, I think, can't recall title or author.
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
"You don't" is the punch line of "The Martyr" by Poul Anderson,
but it was in F&SF, not Analog.
I sit corrected; it's online, I scrolled to the last couple
paragraphs, and that's the one.

https://www.bundy223.net/~andyb/prose/martyr.html
--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2018-03-01 17:03:32 UTC
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Post by Dorothy J Heydt
Post by g***@virginmedia.com
I remember this as the very dismal conclusion in a short story where
humans have kidnapped superior aliens to solve the mysteries about them.
I forget both title and author. Does anyone know?
I can think of two possibilities. One is Piper's "Oomphel in the
Sky," in which aliens have formed cargo cults around human tech,
and are convinced by a human that humans lack something the
aliens have, namely, souls.
And another in which the aliens have instantaneous trans-galactic
teleportation, in which they are destroyed at one end and
reconstituted at the other, and the human says, "But this is
wonderful! You're demonstrating that we have immortal souls!"
And the alien says sadly, "You don't." That was in _Analog_
sometime in the seventies, I think, can't recall title or author.
Sounds like a different one, but Analog also had a whole series of
stories addressing the teleportation/soul thing around that timeframe.

Hmm... Apparently "Ray Brown" and the "Reformed Sufi" setting.
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James Nicoll
2018-03-01 15:44:02 UTC
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Post by g***@virginmedia.com
I remember this as the very dismal conclusion in a short story where
humans have kidnapped superior aliens to solve the mysteries about them.
I forget both title and author. Does anyone know?
I remember the author -- Poul Anderson -- but not the title.
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My Dreamwidth at https://james-davis-nicoll.dreamwidth.org/
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Butch Malahide
2018-03-01 16:41:07 UTC
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Post by g***@virginmedia.com
I remember this as the very dismal conclusion in a short story where humans have kidnapped superior aliens to solve the mysteries about them.
I forget both title and author. Does anyone know?
"The Martyr" by Poul Anderson.

https://archive.org/details/Fantasy_Science_Fiction_v018n03_1960-03_PDF
-dsr-
2018-03-01 16:08:30 UTC
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Post by g***@virginmedia.com
I remember this as the very dismal conclusion in a short story where humans have kidnapped superior aliens to solve the mysteries about them.
I forget both title and author. Does anyone know?
Not what you are looking for, but the Idirans in Banks' Culture universe
are naturally immortal (barring war, disease, accident) and so believe that
they have immortal souls. Of course, nothing that is not immortal could
possibly have an immortal soul, so they are tools, pets or vermin.

-dsr-
g***@virginmedia.com
2018-03-02 08:59:00 UTC
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Thanks, Dorothy J Heydt, that's the one.

And thanks to the others who had parts of the answer.

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