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  1. #1

    Desperate for milk on the moon

    I'm afraid this is really, really obscure. There was a short story published sometime in the early 1970s (or possibly even before) that involves a moon base that is informed of an impending visit by an important dignitary from Earth whose diet absolutely requires real cow's milk. The organizers on Earth forget to include milk in the provisions sent with the rocket carrying him to the moon, and the moon scientists are forced to synthesize milk by jerry-rigging the equipment and supplies at their disposal. It's brilliantly written, and very funny. Considering the biotechnology aspect (the process is very detailed in the story), it should have been written by Isaac Asimov, but I can't find a reference to it anywhere. I've actually been looking for this story since 1978--in vain. I've Googled it to death, but to no avail. Thanks.

  2. #2
    I originally came to this site looking for the exact same story:

    Never did find it but I've been here ever since.

    I also posted an inquiry over at good reads, didn't have any more luck there except one wag suggested "The Moo is a Harsh Mistress"
    Last edited by Jim diGriz; February 16th, 2011 at 03:35 AM.

  3. #3
    Jim, I just joined the forum and was unaware of your earlier posting. However, simply discovering that someone else has read the story was a huge relief--it's been so long that I thought maybe I had imagined it. Clearly that's not the case. Since you've apparently not received any strong clues since your original post, I'll follow up on it as a possible Nova book series story. It was definitely not from The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, which was a 1966 novel by Robert Heinlein, not a short story.


  4. #4
    Registered User JimF's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
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    I hope someone knows what story that is beecause it sounds interesting.

    Siteguy you may want to re-read the previous post, he said Moo not Moon. I love bad puns.


  5. #5
    You know, I'm a big fan of puns as well, and I noticed that "moo" was intentional shortly after I posted the reply--which makes it a little embarrassing. In any case, the story was not only brilliantly written, it was penned with lighthearted humour, a perfect combination. Those were attributes of the late, great Isaac Asimov, hence my suspicion that he was the author. This thread has pushed me to renew the search for this "lost" story, only this time I'm determined to find it, and share the results.

  6. #6
    Following the success that another of our number had at Booksleuth I thought that I'd try our conundrum there and sure enough within half an hour I had an answer.

    It's Hi Diddle Diddle by Robert Silverberg originally published under the pseudonym Calvin M. Knox in Astounding Feb 1959 and then collected in :
    Blast Off, ed. Harry Harrison, Faber and Faber 1969
    Worlds of Wonder, ed. Harry Harrison, Doubleday 1969
    Sunrise on Mercury and Other Science Fiction Stories, Nelson Doubleday 1975

    It must have been one of the Harry Harrison edited anthologies that I had read it in and which led me to believe that it was one of his Nova anthologies.

  7. #7
    Jim, you get the prize for persistence and tenacity. I had just about given up. Of course, once one has the answer, in retrospect everything drops into place: the nursery rhyme's continuation "the cow jumped over the moon" suddenly gives Silverberg's story title new meaning.

    A fellow named Jon Davis runs the "Quasi-Official Robert Silverberg Site" at and has an entry for this story at The site is a labor of love, sanctioned by Robert Silverberg himself, who has a prominent entry on the home page.

    Silverberg has written prolifically throughout his career, on many subjects certainly not limited to science fiction (somewhat reminiscent of Asimov's astounding string of over two hundred published books). He wrote Hi Diddle Diddle while he was in his early twenties, which illustrates the great writing potential this man had, and which he subsequently realized through a long and illustrious career as a master author.


  8. #8
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    Well done, Jim: definitely a cookie for you!

    You know, it was in the brain somewhere: Like you I've read it (a long time ago!) but couldn't quite remember where. For me it was Worlds of Wonder, I think.


  9. #9
    Great story. I read it in Harry Harrison's Blast Off anthology when I was about 10, and then again last year when I tracked down an old copy.

  10. #10
    4/25/11 published!!!! expatrie's Avatar
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    Here I was going to suggest dropping Isaac Asimov as a plausible lead since nothing I've seen by him is humorous or light-hearted. (I'm afraid most of what I've read by Brother Isaac is "The Last Question" because a friend complained about a web comic, and some asteroid hits moon thing where the computer commits suicide, along with the noble scientists and astronauts. And maybe the "The (insert number) Names of God," although that one might only be a two-sentence summary courtesy of Joe Haldeman.)

    Guess I'm giving advice too late. Phooey. Now I can't claim credit for helping.


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