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AuthorEric Frank Russell
Genre(s)Science fiction
Published inAstounding Science Fiction
Publication typemagazine
Publication dateMay 1955

"Allamagoosa" is a science fiction short story by English author Eric Frank Russell, originally published in the May 1955 issue of Astounding Science Fiction and collected in The Best Of Eric Frank Russell (1978) and Major Ingredients: The Selected Short Stories of Eric Frank Russell (2000).[1]

Plot summary[edit]

While preparing for an inspection, the crew of the starship Bustler reread their manifest and discover that they are supposed to have something called an "offog"; however, nobody knows what that is. They devise a plan to pass the inspection anyway, but the plan backfires.

Offdog is ultimately revealed to be a typographical error for "official dog". Captain McNaught, having faked the destruction of the "offdog" to avoid further questioning, unintentionally causes the grounding of the entire fleet.


"Allamagoosa" won the 1955 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.[2]

John Joseph Adams has called it "uproariously funny"[3]

James Nicoll has commented that it is "apparently based on an urban legend".[4]

The plot is very similar to the story "Admiral's Inspection" told by Lionel Dunsterville.[5]


  1. ^ ISFDB entry
  2. ^ "Locus Index to SF Awards". Archived from the original on 2010-10-25. Retrieved 2010-10-11.
  3. ^ Locus Listens to Audio: Reviews by John Joseph Adams, at Locus Online; published July 23, 2004; retrieved September 7, 2017
  4. ^ One of the gentler voices of the Golden Age: The Best of Eric Frank Russell — Eric Frank Russell, reviewed by James Nicoll, at James Nicoll Reviews; published November 9, 2014; retrieved September 7, 2017
  5. ^ Dunsterville, Lionel. More Yarns by "Stalky". Jarrolds Publishers London Ltd.

External links[edit]