Gift of a Useless Man

Gift of a Useless Man

"Gift Of A Useless Man" is a short story by Alan Dean Foster. It first appeared to Isaac Asimov's SF magazine and can be found in the collection "Who Needs Enemies?"

Plot

Pearson, a space traveller and petty criminal, rents a ramshackle spacecraft that crash-lands on a previously unknown and unexplored world. He finds himself alive, but almost completely physically paralysed.

He is discovered by a race of very small intelligent but primitive insect-like creatures who can communicate telepathically with him. They come to regard him as a quasi-God.

Pearson devotes what's left of his life to helping the insects. He offers them advice on elementary agriculture, and provides them with seeds from a tomato sandwich which starts an agricultural revolution. Flakes of skin and hair that he sheds are used as a building material, while his bodily wastes are used to fertilise their farms.

In return, the insects feed him and look after his every need. Under his guidance the insects form a new civilisation.

Many years later, explorers from Earth find the now-advanced civilisation and wonder how it developed.

Cultural References

*The Futurama episode Godfellas's plot was similar to the novel.


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