“The Streets of Ashkelon” by Harry Harrison. (Not the sort of lighthearted romp you might expect from that author if you’ve only read his Stainless Steel Rat novels.)
Thanks that was quick.
One of those “All leads up to the final line” short stories
Humanity has been sending out radio waves for a century now trying to contact extraterrestrial life. Now they suddenly get a single clear and unmistakeable message from an alien planet near our solar system that simply reads Quiet, don’t let them hear you.
Oh, that does sound familiar. I’ll see what I can come up with.
Ha - I love that! There’s a lot packed into that message.
The version I read was definitely in an actual short story collection I read around 2010ish so it would predate that CreepyPasta I think. But yes definitely seems like a story that’s probably been going around since the 1950s considering how simple the ending is.
A short story: The pilot of a one man cargo ship discovers a stowaway on board, and is faced with the prospect of having to space her, because the ship can’t compensate for her.
That’s either “The Cold Equations”, or one of the approximately nine billion other stories based on “The Cold Equations”.
We’ve discussed that story at length before; Dopers have mixed opinions about it.
Overhead, without any fuss, the parodies of “Cold Equations” were going out.
When will humanity learn?!
“Darling,” it said, “why not write a ‘Cold Equations’ joke?”
I read this in a Sci-Fi short story anthology book in high school in the mid-90’s, it was about 60 pages IIRC.
An large alien fleet arrives at Earth and lands a flying sauce in Washington D.C. Aliens step out and offer humanity a challenge. If humans can beat the aliens at their own favorite board game, they will give Earth the secrets to curing all diseases and the method of making cheap and fast green energy. If they lose however, Earth is blown up.
A sports writer for a national paper watches the initial training games by humans on Earth and sees the game is basically like chess but more complicated. While chess grandmasters fail to grasp the game, the sports writer actually is able to fully understand it and volunteers to be one of the players of the game. He eventually beats all other human opponents and is finally given the opportunity to play for Earth’s sake in the first and only Universal Tournament against the aliens.
He proceeds to immediately lose quite handily to the aliens, but sensing something is up recognizes the aliens are more interested in the thrill of the challenge rather than winning, so he counters and offers his own game of poker for Earth’s fate. The aliens accept and they’re thrilled learning this new game which they lose to over and over again but enjoy the challenge. Eventually the aliens crown him the Winner and Earth is saved, and it’s implied the aliens are going to go to another alien planet and challenge them to poker.
Definitely not the same, but a human playing chess against an otherworldly creature with the fate of the world at stake is also the plot of “Unicorn Variations”, by Roger Zelazny
A human being unable to master a game (in this case, Dragon Poker) that otherworldly (fantasy) characters can is the plot of Robert Asprin’s Little Myth Marker.
Great, not only can’t I recognize that one, but it’s making me think of another story whose name I can’t remember:
Humans discover a planet formerly inhabited by aliens. Amongst their artifacts left behind is a painting featuring a game much like chess - enough like chess that the main character recognizes that the current move on the board in the painting is a sacrifice that will lead to a victory, and suspects that the abandoned planet is an analogous sacrifice. I think the title includes the word “Knight”
ETA: Published in Asimov’s in the 1980s.
That would be “Black to Move” by Hack McDevitt, Asimov’s, September 1982. I remembered the alien was playing the Benko Gambit which helped refine my search.
Thank you - I was stuck on “Knight to Move”
This article appears to list every mention of chess in science fiction, which might be helpful in finding Asuka’s story
(also has the same typo about “Black to Move” - it should be “Jack” McDevitt")