Finding the name/author of a short story

I was talking with some people about “first contact with aliens” stories and there are two I remember but don’t recall the title and authors. One took place in space and involved humans and an alien species that were trying to figure out how to meet without giving away their home planet locations, so they exchanged hostages and at the end the one human and his alien escort are telling dirty jokes. The other took place in London. A tailor is asked to make clothes for an alien ambassador that in form is something like a centaur. Can someone help me with these?

The Centaur story was in one of Judy-Lynn del Rey’s Stellar SF series books (possibley Stellar #2), but I don’t recall the name or author. It was the cover story.

Ah! Got it. The name of the story was “Custom Fitting” by James White.

The other sounds a lot like Murry Leinster’s “First Contact.”

Thanks RealityChuck, I will look them up.

The second one is certainly Murray Leinster’s First Contact, as RC said.

Can we do another one?

Read this in OMNI magazine eons ago… a man has 2 (or is it 4) environments with critters in them that were sorta like ants, but weren’t. He treats one (or 3) of them benevolently, the other malevolently. The story is about how they react and what happens to him.

Could it be Sandkings by George R.R. Martin ?

Definitely sounds like “Sandkings.”

Reading that, it sort of sounds like Sandkings, like detop said, but it seems a bit too different for that to be the story.

Sandkings deals with four groups of creatures, each their own color, that worship the owner as a God. But he mistreats them and stops feading them and they grow violent towards one another, eventually escaping and causing havok. Each group has a King that, once killed, destroys the rest of the creatures in the group.

Does any of this sound familiar?

BINGO!! Sand Kings must be it, now to go about finding it …

and sorry about the muddled plot line, it was a long time ago (in a galaxy … never mind)

thanks Teeming Millions! especially d, RC, and E24

You’re welcome. I know that Baen at one point published an anthology of Martin’s short stories unde the title Sandkings.

here’s one I read a long time ago. It’s more like a horror story than sf really. I remember the details quite clearly.

Its about a prison that is built inside a mountain. There is this huge disc of rock, which rotates around its axis. The cells are cut out of the edge of the disk. The disk rotates only by the power of the prisoners themselves, pulling on chains attached to the rock wall surrounding the disk. Thus the prisoners have a saying, “Pray for war” so there will be enough prisoners to drag the thing around. Once you are in there, there is no way out, until the disk has turned all the way around (which takes years).

Creepy, huh? Anyway I think it was a short story, and it was named after the mountain/prison which was Kernkhabar or Kernabar or something like that.

PlanMan, it’s in a book called The Super Hugos, which is a great book overall. Sandkings is the first story (well, novela) but it also has wonderful ones like Bicentennial Man, Neutron Star, and Flowers for Algernon.