Jack Vance: Men of the ten books (1951)


Thousands of men and women of all ages had surrounded the ship, all shouting, all agitated by strong emotion.

Betty stared, and Welstead clambered down from the controls. The words were strangely pronounced, the grammar was archaic but it was the language of Earth.

The white-haired man spoke on, without calculation, as if delivering a speech of great familiarity. “We have waited two hundred and seventy-one years for your coming, for the deliverance you will bring us.”

Deliverance? Welstead considered the word. “Don’t see much to deliver ’em from,” he muttered aside to Betty. “The sun’s shining, there’s flowers on all the trees, they look well fed a lot more enthusiastic than I do. Deliver ’em from what?”

Startling Stories, March 1951: Contents

Startling Stories, March 1951: page 122

Full story at the Internet Archive