Science Fiction Books/Lost short story


Hi - I'm trying to find a short story I read in the 1980s, but which I think was in an anthology from the local library, so probably written in 1960s or 1970s. Despite being able to recall the unusual details, I can't find it.

The story was as follows:
An astronaut was engaged in a dog fight with an enemy spaceship, as part of a much larger interstellar war. His ship was damaged and his escape pod made a short ftl jump. It came into the atmosphere of a planet which was inhabited by sentient machines left over from a planetary war. The sentient machines were continuing the war despite the death of the inhabitants, and had developed quasi-sexual reproduction. One of the machines detected the escape pod and treated it as if it was a sperm, captured it, used it to "fertilise" its ovum (i.e. repaired the ship and the pilot and improved the capabilities of both of them) before sending the pilot on his way again, at which point he rejoined the war, having got a significant physical / biological upgrade.

Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks

haven't read this, but it sounds great.  Please let me know if you find it.  Sorry, can't help you find it.  Try emailing, the world's largest SF library.

I can recommend the short stories First Contact and also Arena, both collected in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame (volume one), for a dogfight with an enemy spaceship. Different endings, but same premise.  

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Sue Kayton


Engineer who has read thousands of science fiction books and short stories. Can recommend stories on specific subjects and comment on technical feasibility. Especially good at older out-of-print books and authors.

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