Blind Alley

Blind Alley
"Blind Alley"
Author Isaac Asimov
Country United States
Language English
Series Empire Series
Genre(s) Science fiction short story
Published in Astounding Science Fiction
Publication type Periodical
Publisher Street & Smith
Media type Print (Magazine, Hardback & Paperback)
Publication date March 1945
Preceded by "Pebble in the Sky"
Followed by "Prelude to Foundation"

"Blind Alley" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It was first published in the March 1945 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, and later included in the collection The Early Asimov (1972).

Although the story postulates a race of intelligent non-humans, it is set in the Foundation universe, during the era of Trantor's Galactic Empire.

Contents

Plot summary

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.

Historical context

The author utilises a turgid long-winded bureauocratic style of phraseology for the many memoranda that are a part of the story; this was based on that in use by the US Navy, Asimov's employers at the time.

The aliens' predicament in a human-dominated galaxy is similar to the eventual fate of humans in the alternative futures of The End of Eternity. It does however have a very different ending — the Cepheids steal the spacecraft and head for an independent life in the Magellanic Clouds.

The Foundation and Earth character Golan Trevize says that no human ship has ever penetrated the Magellanic Clouds, nor the Andromeda Galaxy or other more distant galaxies. It is not known whether Asimov intended to make a link between those novels and this short story.

The Second Foundation Trilogy

In the 'Second Foundation' trilogy, a series of books authorized by the estate of Asimov, a race of Aliens within the Foundation Universe is mentioned who appear to be in circumstances similar to the Cepheids. Although they are not mentioned by name, a major character in this story is. A subplot in Foundation's Triumph investigates the problem raised in this story.

External links

Preceded by:
Pebble in the Sky
Included in:
The Early Asimov
Series:
Empire Series
Followed by:
Prelude to Foundation

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Blind alley — Blind Blind, a. [AS.; akin to D., G., OS., Sw., & Dan. blind, Icel. blindr, Goth. blinds; of uncertain origin.] 1. Destitute of the sense of seeing, either by natural defect or by deprivation; without sight. [1913 Webster] He that is strucken… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • blind alley — blind alleys N COUNT If you describe a situation as a blind alley, you mean that progress is not possible or that the situation can have no useful results. We are all now beginning to appreciate that this type of music is a blind alley. Syn: dead …   English dictionary

  • blind alley — noun count 1. ) a process that was expected to bring useful results but in fact achieves nothing: Unfortunately the research turned out to be a blind alley. 2. ) a narrow path between or behind buildings, that is closed at one end …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • blind alley — n. 1. an alley or passage shut off at one end 2. any undertaking, idea, etc. that leads to nothing …   English World dictionary

  • blind alley — n 1.) a small narrow street with no way out at one end 2.) a way of doing something that seems as if it will have a successful result, but which in fact does not ▪ False information has led the police up a series of blind alleys …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • blind alley — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms blind alley : singular blind alley plural blind alleys 1) a process that was expected to bring useful results but in fact achieves nothing This type of research turned out to be a blind alley. 2) a narrow path… …   English dictionary

  • blind alley — {n.} 1. A narrow street that has only one entrance and no exit. * /The blind alley ended in a brick wall./ 2. A way of acting that leads to no good results. * /John did not take the job because it was a blind alley./ * /Tom thought of a way to do …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • blind alley — {n.} 1. A narrow street that has only one entrance and no exit. * /The blind alley ended in a brick wall./ 2. A way of acting that leads to no good results. * /John did not take the job because it was a blind alley./ * /Tom thought of a way to do …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • blind\ alley — noun 1. A narrow street that has only one entrance and no exit. The blind alley ended in a brick wall. 2. A way of acting that leads to no good results. John did not take the job because it was a blind alley. Tom thought of a way to do the… …   Словарь американских идиом

  • blind alley —    If you go up a blind alley, you follow an ineffective course of action which leads nowhere or produces no results.     The suspect s revelations lead the police up a blind alley …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

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