“Misbegotten Missionary,” Isaac Asimov, 1950 – (also titled “Green Patches”) A research ship investigates a report from a colony on Saybrook’s planet that all life on the planet is part of a unified consciousness, of “organized life.” The colonists had reported that the lifeform was able to induce pregnancy in female lifeforms and all new offspring were born with green patches of fur instead of eyes. When the research ship lands it recklessly destroys a mile of life and the planet retaliates. It specially breeds part of itself to resemble a bit of wiring and steals aboard the ship with the intent of reaching Earth and converting all life to its form. However, the wire that it impersonates is part of the airlock doors and it is destroyed upon landing.
Comments: Interesting for its depiction of a fragment of life separated from its whole, feeling its first tinges of fear, and a loss of sanity. Damon Knight in In Search of Wonder states that the story “…poses a difficult problem, develops it with skill, and solves it, regrettably, by accident; what disappoints me more in the story, which might have been a great one, is that it also suggests a very delicate problem of values, and not only does not solve it — I’ll admit this would be too much to ask — but leaves it entirely out of account.”
Author: Wikipedia: “Isaac Asimov…(January 2, 1920 – April 6, 1992) was a Russian American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards…Asimov is widely considered a master of hard science fiction and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, he was considered one of the ‘Big Three’ science fiction writers during his lifetime.”