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Blind Alley

written by Isaac Asimov

published in 1945

A short story
No. 4
in the
Empire Novels series

Set in the Foundation universe


Cover Notes

The few remaining members of an intelligent non-human alien race have been removed from their dying planet and transferred to a human-occupied planet Cepheus-18 (hence their name, Cepheids). The planet is intended to be utilised as a combination zoo, laboratory, and reservation for the creatures, and they are being studied, without too much success, by a scientific group that regards them as little more than experimental animals. The race is in danger of dying out.

The Civilian Supervisor, a career Imperial administrator, sincerely attempts to help the creatures using his deep knowledge of how the Imperial bureaucracy works to manipulate events. By submitting reports and encouraging others to submit reports, he manages to have a fleet of huge spaceships deliver a bulky cargo for the benefit of the Cepheids. Suspecting they can read his thoughts, he goes through his actual plan in his mind in their presence. It works. They commandeer the ships, whose holds are large enough to carry them all, and depart the galaxy to find a new world of their own, an outcome that official policy had forbidden. However, the supervisor has protected himself from any blame associated with the disaster by his masterful documentation.

Publication History

Publication history in print

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