“The Streets of Ashkelon,” Harry Harrison, 1962

The Streets of Ashkelon,” Harry Harrison, 1962 – (Alternate title: “An Alien Agony”)  John Garth, a trader, lives peacefully with a “primitive” but promising alien culture called Weskers.  All is well until a Christian missionary (Father Mark of the Missionary Society of Brothers) arrives and the natives, who have learned the scientific method, demand proof of Christ’s power of resurrection.

Comments:  Themes: Religion, faith, humanism, primitive/civilized, rationality/science.  Read in The Road to Science Fiction 3: From Heinlein to Here.  “Harrison wrote the story for a Judith Merrill-edited anthology which was to contain original stories that all violated societal taboos in some way: ‘Streets’ portrayed a heroic atheist, and a naive, foolish missionary.” (Wikipedia)  American publishers wouldn’t publish it; it was finally published in Britain.  “Its name is a reference to a passage from the Biblical 2 Samuel 1:20, which says ‘…proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon…’ In the original context it was a part of a story in which Hebrews were instructed to try to keep the defeat of a couple of their war heroes from their enemies’ knowledge, so Harrison seems to have intended it in another sense.” (Wikipedia)  “Paul Di Filippo considers The Streets of Ashkelon to be a response to James Blish’s A Case of Conscience.” (Wikipedia)

Author: Wikipedia: “Harry Harrison (born Henry Maxwell Dempsey; March 12, 1925 – August 15, 2012) was an American science fiction (SF) author, best known for his character The Stainless Steel Rat and for his novel Make Room! Make Room! (1966). The latter was the rough basis for the motion picture Soylent Green (1973). Harrison was (with Brian Aldiss) the co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group.”  See also The New York Times obituary and The Guardian obituary.


About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1960-1969, culture clash, primitive/civilized, religion/soul/spirituality, the scientist. Bookmark the permalink.

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