Steven Lamorak, a sociologist from Earth, is visiting the unique asteroid-world of Elsevere. While there, the man in charge of processing human waste—the very bottom of the totem pole in the rigidly caste-driven society of the worldlet—goes on strike and Lamorak intervenes, to his own grief.
Like Asimov, I consider this to be a cleverer story than other people appear to have, although I admit this is largely because it’s grown on me and I enjoy it now rather more than I did when first I read it. I think the situation is a little obvious, but it’s handled well. Ragusnik, the waste-processor, is actually on stage very briefly, but it’s a marvelous little scene with a kick to it. And one can sympathize well with Lamorak and the dilemma he finds himself in. (One wonders how somebody saddled with Star Trek’s “Prime Directive” would have managed!)
|Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 19, 1957|
|Nightfall and Other Stories|
|The Best Science Fiction of Isaac Asimov|
|Complete Stories, The, Vol. 1|