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The Victim from Space by Robert Sheckley

The Victim from Space by Robert Sheckley first published in Galaxy Science Fiction, April 1957.


1. Eminent (adj.) – high in station, rank, or reputation

Justin Beiber is an eminent pop singer, he is very popular.

2. orbit (v.) – to go or travel in a curved path around a planet or other object

The moon orbits the earth in about 27 days.

3. enigma (n.) – a puzzling or inexplicable occurrence or situation

A scuba-diver who is found dead in a tree in a desert is an enigma. How did he die? Where is the water that drowned him? And how did he get in the tree?

4. ecstatic (adj.) – very happy, excited

I was ecstatic when the summer break began.

5. ecstasy (n.) – an intense feeling of happiness

When you won the lottery, you felt ecstasy!

6. counterfeit (adj.) – fake, not real

If you have counterfeit money you can buy nothing because it is fake!

7. extraterrestrial (n.) – alien

The extraterrestrials wanted to attack the earth because they wanted our planet.

8. deplorable (adj.) – awful, terrible

This place was deplorable, before I cleaned it up,  too many people threw trash everywhere.

9. ferment (v.) – changing from sugars into alcohol

The grape juice will ferment into wine.

10. libation (n.) – a ceremonial drink, usually alcohol

They had a libation after the funeral of their friend, they drank wine.

Character list:

Richard Hadwell – he is a writer from Earth who visits Igathi (an alien planet). He loves an Igathi woman called Mele.

Kataga – he is an Igathian, he has a daughter named Mele. He deserves to obtain the Ultimate. He falls in the river and Hadwell saves him. He is friends with Hadwell.

Mele – she is a tall, slender and beautiful girl, she loves Hadwell. She marries Hadwell and she goes with him to Earth.

Brog – he is a dull-faced youth of no significance, he is killed by Lag.

Lag – a priest, tall, emaciated old man, he has large authority on this alien planet. He renders the Ultimate to the one who responds and contributes.

Vassi – a merchant, who wants the reward too.

Juele – a priest-in-training.

Tgara – a stone cutter.

Iglai – a farmer.

The Victim from Space, by Robert Sheckley, is about a man, Richard Hadwell helps the Igathians. Hadwell is a traveller. He travels through many places and he thinks all the planets that he has visited suck except for Igathi. He meets the Igathians and he loves a woman from Igathi called Mele. On this planet, the Igathians have a different culture than that of the Earth people. The Igathians think suffering death is really attractive, so everyone on Igathi wants to earn a painful death.

Because Hadwell loves Mele, he stays on Igathi and starts to teach the Igathians how to grow food crops, produce metal-works and other skills too numerous to mention. So, Lag, the Igathian priest, really thanks him and he wants to give him “the Ultimate”. The Ultimate being a violent and painful death!

Hadwell’s execution is to take place directly after his and Mele’s wedding. On their wedding day, suddenly, Hadwell sees Mele’s father, Kataga, fall into the river and he saves him. The Igathians see Hadwell save Kataga and they feel that Hadwell has done a terrible and inhuman thing by rescuing poor Kataga from the river. After this Lag doesn’t want to give Hadwell the painful death ceremony. After that, Hadwell is really frustrated so he wants to leave. He brings Mele to his spaceship and they leave Igathi. In the end, Mele fingers a tiny dagger which is to be used when there is no priest around.  She thinks one day she can give him the most precious thing a woman can give to a man. “A painful death!”

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