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By John Brunner, Keith Woodcott

An ultimatum from house: humanity needs to end up itself valuable o or be sealed off from the celebrities for ever! An edge-of-the-seat technological know-how fiction mystery from the Hugo Award-winning writer of Stand on Zanzibar.

'One citizen of your planet shall visit the capital of the Federation of Worlds. He shall stay there for thirty days. in case your consultant can live on and reveal his skill to exist in a civilized society with creatures whose outward visual appeal and demeanour of considering vary from his personal, you are going to move the try. you may be approved to ship your starships to different planets of the galaxy.
'If he fails the attempt, if prejudice, worry, intolerance or stupidity journey him up, then you definately international might be sealed of from the celebs for ever!'
This used to be the ultimatum from area. the duty ahead of the realm then used to be - who shall pass? What human being can be came upon to take this scary try out for the total of humanity and be sure to not fail?

First released 1961 lower than the pseudonym "Keith Woodcott".

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Joe hesitated. At size he shrugged and took out the letter. It used to be a unmarried sheet of published letterhead, with a short yet pointed message. The heading used to be “United international locations choice venture, workplace of the Board of Control”—which intended not anything to Joe at the beginning sight. He learn on: expensive Mr. Morea, you've been chosen as a candidate for the duty of representing this planet on the capitol of the Federation of Worlds. for that reason, i might request you to provide your self at this place of work at your earliest comfort. i might remind you that this falls less than the class of “extraordinary distinct companies” that is spoke of in Clause Eighteen of your agreement with the United international locations Star-ship venture, and is hence semi-mandatory. i glance ahead to creating your acquaintance. The signature, daring and black, was once “Fritz Schneider, for the Board of keep an eye on. ” “What is it, honey? ” Maggie acknowledged in a voice she needed to hold regular via major strength. Joe didn’t resolution for a moment—just went on watching the paper. After it slow, he snorted and thrust it in the direction of her. “A hoax, probably,” he acknowledged. “Either that, or anyone on the UN has long past out of his brain. ” Maggie took the letter and studied it for lengthy sufficient to offer the impact that she used to be studying it. Then she stated, “But Joe! That’s totally marvelous! Goodness, you want to be so proud! ” “Proud of what? ” stated Joe almost immediately. “I imagine it’s most likely a hoax. That’s why it used to be despatched at once the following, rather than to my field deal with. ” “But that doesn’t must be right,” Maggie objected. “If they’ve been contemplating you as a candidate, then they’ve most likely been conserving an eye fixed on you beautiful heavily. evidently they’d comprehend the place you have been. And along with, this signature—he relatively is without doubt one of the Board of keep watch over. Fritz Schneider, I suggest. ” “How have you learnt? ” “Why, his photograph used to be within the papers a couple of weeks in the past! Joe, this can be exceptional! I’m so proud! ” She dropped the letter at the breakfast tray and stuck his fingers affectionately. “Well, I’m afraid you’d larger organize your self for a massive disappointment,” sighed Joe. “Look, if Schneider’s identify and imagine have been rather in all of the papers, then an individual may learn about him. ” “But—oh, Joe, who’d visit such lengths? glance, why don’t you simply name the quantity given at the letter? That’d let you know instantaneously if it used to be correct or no longer. ” Joe shook his head. “I don’t wish to,” he stated reluctantly. “Honey, I—I simply don’t are looking to. ” She checked out him, no longer asserting whatever. “Besides,” Joe went on in a low tone after a protracted pause, “I don’t imagine they’d give some thought to me in the event that they really knew i used to be dwelling right here, could they? ” Maggie stared at him blankly. After a second she threw her head again and went off into peals of laughter. “Lord above, honey! Lord above! Is there a few fear in regards to the code of morals my associates join bothering you? Sweetie, I don’t imagine it’s a hoax, and actually i feel it indicates that the folk in this choice venture have a hell of loads of reliable experience. i feel I’ve gotten to grasp you many higher very quickly than a person else I’ve ever met, and for my cash you’ll do completely.

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