"The Animal-Cracker Plot"
is a science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...
A short story is a work of fiction that is usually written in prose, often in narrative format. This format tends to be more pointed than longer works of fiction, such as novellas and novels. Short story definitions based on length differ somewhat, even among professional writers, in part because...
written by L. Sprague de Camp
Lyon Sprague de Camp was an American author of science fiction and fantasy books, non-fiction and biography. In a writing career spanning 60 years, he wrote over 100 books, including novels and notable works of non-fiction, including biographies of other important fantasy authors...
, a story in his Viagens Interplanetarias
The Viagens Interplanetarias series is a sequence of science fiction stories by L. Sprague de Camp, begun in the late 1940s and written under the influence of contemporary space opera and sword and planet stories, particularly Edgar Rice Burroughs's Martian novels...
series. It is the second (chronologically) set on the planet Vishnu, and the first to feature the interstellar con-man Darius Koshay. It was first published in the magazine Astounding Science-Fiction
Analog Science Fiction and Fact is an American science fiction magazine. As of 2011, it is the longest running continuously published magazine of that genre...
in the issue for July, 1949. It first appeared in book form in the collection The Continent Makers and Other Tales of the Viagens
The Continent Makers and Other Tales of the Viagens is a 1953 collection of stories by science fiction and fantasy author L. Sprague de Camp, the fifth book in his Viagens Interplanetarias series. It was first published in hardcover by Twayne Publishers, and in paperback by Signet Books in 1971...
, published in hardcover by Twayne Publishers in 1953, and in paperback by Signet Books in 1971. The story has been translated into Portuguese
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Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...
, and Italian
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...
When Iranian con-man Darius Koshay
lands on the planet Vishnu
, customs agent Luther Beck
, who has tangled with him before, does everything he can to find an excuse to detain him before he can cause more trouble. Unfortunately, he can find nothing to pin on the slick Koshay, and is forced to allow him through customs. Koshay's ostensible object is to make and sell crackers to the planet's aborigines, of which he learned they were fond on a previous visit. Vishnu is host to two intelligent native species, the six-limbed, apelike Romeli
and the centaurlike Dzlieri
, who are mutually antagonistic. All too soon, Beck learns Koshay's scheme is far from innocent; he is playing the Romeli off against the Dzlieri by supplying each with crackers in the form of the other, convincing them the crackers will give them power over their enemies if consumed in conjunction with the proper voodoo-like rites. Beck undertakes to reveal to both alien races Koshay's double-dealing before his mechanations can lead to a major war. Ultimately a wary truce is brokered between the two sides and Koshay, finding himself a marked man, finds it expedient to flee Vishnu.
The action of "The Animal-Cracker Plot" takes place in the year 2120 AD.
One of Koshay's later operations is the subject of the story "Git Along!
"Git Along!" is a science fiction short story written by L. Sprague de Camp, a story in his Viagens Interplanetarias series. It is the second set on the planet Osiris, as well as the second to feature the interstellar con-man Darius Koshay. It was first published in the magazine Astounding in the...
" set on the planet Osiris.
The planet Vishnu is a tropical world occupying the same star system as Krishna, de Camp's primary setting for the Viagens Interplanetarias