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September 26th, 2010, 02:24 PM
About 25 years ago I read what I believe was a short story about a Space Man (creature) that landed on this planet that was still 100% intact but had zero inhabitants. All infrastructure worked. The problem was that everything was designed for a different "species"? The food "generators" produced awful tasting caustic food. The water (shower) was caustic and even burned him. Everything in this town was like this. Ever the air was harmful.

Over time things got better. The air bacame breathable. The food became more palatable and the water was much better to drink and wash with. This "Space Man" (can't remember his/her/it's name) thought that he had found a "smart world" that was designed to adapt to whomever inhabited it at the time. In short, what we learn in the end is that the town didn't adapt, the Space Man adapted or mutated in order to survive in this new world.

I was 10 when I read this and since the internet became a worthy search tool I have been looking for this short story. I believe it was a book of 15 or more short stories from various authors and was in paperback form. For some reason, the author, A.E. Van Vogt has stuck in my head but I have reviewed his work and can't match up anything with this premise. Maybe he was another author featured in the book.

Any ideas? Thanks for pondering!!

Jim diGriz
September 27th, 2010, 12:22 PM
I think your instincts are correct. This sounds very much like Van Vogt's Enchanted Village. First published in Other Worlds back in '50. It was anthologized in Monsters and also appears in Desination: Universe! which may be a little easier to get hold of as it appears to have been in print more recently.

September 27th, 2010, 08:25 PM
Thanks Jim, that is absolutely it! A long search comes to an end. To the used book store I will go. Hopefully I can find one of the many reprints. Thanks for solving my mystery. It was right before me but sometimes the internet can be tricky.