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The Yillian Way

Keith Laumer

Book Overview: 

The ceremonious protocol of the Yills was impressive, colorful--and, in the long run, deadly!

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Mr. Ambassador."

"Heavens," Magnan put in. "Who would have thought——"

Retief moved up behind the ambassador.

"Mr. Ambassador," he said, "I——"

"Later, young man," the ambassador snapped. He beckoned to the first councillor, and the two moved off, heads together.

Outside, a bluish sun gleamed in a dark sky. Retief watched his breath form a frosty cloud in the chill air. A broad doughnut-wheeled vehicle was drawn up to the platform. The Yill gestured the Terran party to the gaping door at the rear, then stood back, waiting.

Retief looked curiously at the gray-painted van. The legend written on its side in alien symbols seemed to read "egg nog."

The ambassador entered the vehicle, the other Terrestrials following. It was as bare of seats as the Terminal building. What appeared to be a defunct electronic chassis lay in the center of the floor.

Retief glanced back. . . . Read More

Community Reviews

This short story was ok. It wasn't great, it wasn't bad. I wish it had succeeded in being half as clever as it thought it was.

The narrator was borderline atrocious. If the story had been any longer I would have turned it off.

This isn't to say I wouldn't enjoy hearing more tales/antics about the m...more

One episode from Retief of many, when the junior diplomat Vice-Consul for Earth in space makes incompetent superiors like Ambassador Magnan look good. Yillians typically insult, so the correct attitude is to snap back, or first. At a banquet, Retief acts rude to get approval from the aliens. On t...more

The Yillian Way, a science fiction short story by John Keith Laumer...more

A fun story, but ultimately lacking much of a punch.

As usual with the Retief reads, this one is fun - it also takes some serious shots at diplomats and those who don't bother to learn anything about the cultures they are going to deal with.

Short story regarding Retief the multitalented low ranking diplomat in Earth's intergalactic diplomatic corps. As usual in this series, Retief bails out the higher ranking ambassadors who are thoroughly bumbling up everything and saves the day. A lot of humor and easy reading.