Masters of Evolution

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by Damon Knight

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More by Damon Knight

In Search of Wonder

CV

The Futurians

The Observers

A Reasonable World

The World and Thorinn

Creating Short Fiction

Hell's Pavement

Beyond the Barrier

Masters of Evolution

A for Anything

The Sun Saboteurs

The Rithian Terror

Mind Switch

The Man in the Tree

Why Do Birds

Humpty Dumpty: An Oval

Far Out

In Deep

Off Center

Turning On

Three Novels

World Without Children and The Earth Quarter

The Best of Damon Knight

Rule Golden and Other Stories

Better Than One

Late Knight Edition

God's Nose

One Side Laughing: Stories Unlike Other Stories

Turning Points: Essays on the Art of Science Fiction

Charles Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained

Faking Out the Reader & It All Begins with Characters

SHOWDOWN WITH MONSTERS!

Alvah Gustad was typical of New York City's twenty million citizens. He took for granted such luxuries as synthetic food and robot-servants, and he knew beyond a doubt that the Cities offered the only acceptable way of life for civilized Man!

But roaming the vast plains between the continent's five Cities, ever growing and expanding, were the dreaded tribes of Muckfeet. In direct antithesis to the City dwellers, these illiterate savages actually grew food and raised animals. And how they smelled! It was so bad that Alvah could feel his stomach churn at the mere mention of their name.

There was one thing in the Muckfoot territory that the Cities did need, though--metal ores. And Alvah, faced with the job of liaison to the tribes around New York, had to somehow make his patriotism outweigh his nausea. If he succeeded, the Cities would be monuments to eternity; if he failed, the dreaded Muckfeet would become the MASTERS OF EVOLUTION.

Alvah Gustad: The fate of an empire rested on the condition of his stomach.

Beej Hofmeyer: She looked like a woman, but she smelled like a Muckfoot!

Doc Bither: When he raised a kitten, you couldn't be sure if it would turn out to be a cat or a tiger.

Manager Wytak: Bravery was something he always looked for in other people, but never in himself.

Artie Brumbacher: He couldn't read or write, but nevertheless he was a scholar.

Jerry Finch: To his way of thinking, there was nothing unusual about being a gardener in an Iron Pit.

(Note: Is an expansion of the novelette "Natural State.")


About the Author

The Damon Knight Library
The authorized site for all of the SFWA Grandmaster's books

Damon Knight

Damon Knight was a science fiction author, editor, critic and fan. His forte was short stories and he is widely acknowledged as having been a master of the genre. He was a member of the Futurians, an early organization of the most prominent SF writers of the day. He founded the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA), the primary writers' organization for genre writers, as well as the Milford Writers workshop and co-founded the Clarion Writers Workshop. He edited the notable Orbit anthology series, and received the Hugo and SFWA Grand Master award. The award was later renamed in his honor. He was married to fellow writer Kate Wilhelm.

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