ISF No. 1 page 9The first story in International Science Fiction No. 1 (Nov. 1967) is from The U.S.S.R, “Wanderers and Travellers” by Arkady Strugatsky.

A new species of septopod has appeared and it’s Stanislav Ivanovich’s job to tag them with a miniature tracking device, part of the research effort to learn more about them. When he emerges from the cold waters of the lake some of the creatures have migrated into, the diver finds a stranger engaged in conversation with his daughter, Marsha, who waits for
her father. She introduces Leonid Andreevich Gorbovsky, an astro-archaeologist, a man we soon suspect is more than he initially appears.

“And yet there is Reason in the universe,” Gorbovsky suddenly said. “There’s no doubt about it. But it’s quite different from what we expect it to be, and we just go on looking for it in the wrong place without having a definite idea of what we are looking for.”

As the conversation progresses he suggests beings far superior to man exist. When Marsha hears a peel of thunder, he corrects her, pointing to a streak of light that flashes through the clouds.

“It’s a liner. Can’t you see it over there?”

The septopods, hidden for an indeterminate time, have suddenly risen from the depths. Why now? It’s unclear, but their discovery is analogous to the superior race the astro-archaeologist describes. Except for one thing. We know our own intensions far better than the alien visitors’.

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