Short Science Fiction Story Review – Brian W Aldiss – Our Kind Of Knowledge
1955 – Friday Project – Spoiler alerts.
A very weird story from Aldiss, in which a group of monks visiting the North Pole discover a spaceship there. Examining it, they inexplicably end up taking off in it, though barely able to steer it. They think its system failure alarms are just a nuisance and deactivate them.
The monks seem to be something other than mortal or human. They have telepathic powers and some shape-shifting skills, as well as the ability to create objects like flowers at will.
Captured by an alien battle-spaceship, they seem unperturbed. They are seen as a species that threatened and wiped out humanity eons ago, but the priests reveal that they actually interbred with the last of humanity becoming the species they are now.
I love the utterly unflustered attitude of the monk-priest figures as the clichéd dangers of alien contact are thrown at them – this is Aldiss just having fun, and still managing to be pretty profound about it as he goes.