A non-human race driven into the interior of their planet as a result of the slow cooling of their sun resorts to a desperate plan to colonize a new home before their old one dies completely—to colonize the interior of another planet, the Earth.

Asimov set out in this story to create a race for whom mother love is perverse and repugnant, and on that level he succeeds. Unfortunately, his story is weakened, I think, by centering in part on a character who feels mother love despite that.

Otherwise, it’s a workable story. The society of the non-humans is interesting. Their problem and attempted solution is a bit ad hoc, and their ability to solve the problem is rather a stretch under the circumstances—but that’s all right. The humans are a bit stereotypical, perhaps, but then they’re not really the center of interest—a baby, his young mother, a nice older couple sitting near them on the plane, the faceless, nameless stewardess. Actually, I find the baby the most real and interesting of the lot. (It was written when Asimov’s older child, David, was not yet a toddler, and so the memories of babyness were rather strong in his mind.)

The main problem is that, surrounded by stronger material in The Martian Way and Other Stories, this tale tends to look anemic in comparison. Although it isn’t particularly bad, it isn’t particularly wonderful either, and tends to look worse by keeping in rather better company.

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