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"C-Chute" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It was first published in the October 1951 issue of Galaxy Magazine and later appeared in Asimov's collections Nightfall and Other Stories (1969) and The Best of Isaac Asimov (1973).[1]

One of the few Asimov stories that feature aliens, the story deals with a group of people imprisoned by an alien race when their spaceship is captured. The emphasis of the story is on the interactions and group psychology of the prisoners, all of whom have differing backgrounds and motivations.

An argument between Asimov and the editor Horace L. Gold over this story was the inspiration for Asimov's story "The Monkey's Finger".

Plot summary[edit]

During Earth's first interstellar war, a civilian transport traveling to Earth is captured by a spaceship piloted by the Kloros, a chlorine-breathing race of intelligent beings. They place two of their own on board the humans' spaceship. With the human passengers sequestered as prisoners of war, the Kloros head to an unknown destination. The human passengers fall into argument and dispute, some coming to blows, with contradictory feelings on what should be done. Opinions range from a violent counteroffensive to a passive acceptance of their situation.

Only Mullen, a shy, mild-mannered, short bookkeeper, is willing to make an attempt to take back control of the ship, which he does by exiting via the C-Chute (short for "casualty chute", normally used for launching corpses for burial in space) and entering the control room via the navigational steam-tubes. He is successful and kills the two Kloro by spraying them with oxygen.

As an unlikely hero, Mullen admits that he was not motivated by bravery, anger, or fear, but by homesickness for Earth.


"C-Chute" was adapted for radio in the anthology series X Minus One, first broadcast on February 8, 1956.[2]


  1. ^ Asimov, Isaac (1973). "Introduction". The Best of Isaac Asimov. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-05078-X. 
  2. ^ X Minus 1 : X Minus 1 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

External links[edit]