The alien Dracon and the Man face each other; crash-landed - both stranded on the barely habitable barren rock of a planet that they have fought over in space not an hour before. They decide to try to survive the planet together rather than kill each other bare-handed. They learn each other's language, rather entertainingly, and share cultures. The alien, being hermaphrodite and pregnant, gives birth and dies, leaving the unfortunate man to guess how to bring it up. Of course they are rescued - but with the war over, how will the Man and the young Drac fare? Have the two species truly learnt from each other, and is there hope for their peaceful co-existence?
Barry B. Longyear won the Nebula Best Novella, 1979, with this thought-provoking story which is anthologised in Frank Herbert's 'Nebula Winners Fifteen' and also published as a novel. A parable of the possibility of peace on earth.
This report prepared by Michael JR Jose