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Science Fiction Books/Short Story Identification


I am working with someone who is trying to identify two short stories he read some time ago and only remembers parts of the plots.

The first one he read in a waiting room in a magazine around 1971. The summary he gave me says, "A space craft lands on the outskirts of a town. a (young?) man ventures near it and a door opens. He goes inside and finds himself in a hallway. He walks down the hall to a point where the hall branches. He chooses his path, and starts off, when a jet of flame spouts at the point he had paused to make his decision. He concludes that decisiveness is important in his new surroundings. He next comes to a point at which the floor bends downward at 90 degrees or so. Remembering his lesson, he pursues his course." That is as far as he got in this story. He wants the author and title, and potentially the title of magazine and issue number it was in if possible.

The second story he said is a short story or potentially an episode in a novel, "a la Robert Heinlein." He wants the author and title of this story, too. His summary says, "A space ship is parked in or near an asteroid belt, perhaps to avoid detection. Without permission, a (young?) member of the crew 'borrows' a space scooter of some kind and ventures through the asteroid belt to another spaceship nearby to visit a friend of his. On his way back to his ship, he espies the hull of a huge, scarred, incredibly old spacecraft unlike any he has seen; but when he arrives back at his ship, he can tell no one because he was out without permission."

Thank you for any help you may be able to give us on what these two stories are.

sorry , never read the first one.  Read the second one, but unfortuantely I can't remember the title or author, either.

But I can recommend two stories where the protagonist can't tell anyone about the alien spaceship he saw because nobody will believe him.  One is "Arena" by Frederic Brown, from the anthology Science Fiction Hall of Fame volume 1.  The other story is First Contact by Murray Leinster, in the same anthology.  

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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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