I remember reading a short story about three robots sent as ambassadors to (I think) Mars. It was an attempt by Earth to prevent a Martian invasion or war.

The robots arrived in a spaceship designed for them - no defence from lack of atmosphere etc, which confused the Martians. However, the Martians were quite arrogant and felt they were still superior. The Martians assume that the robots are earthlings and their arrogant behaviour towards the robots prevents them from explaining they are mistaken. The Martians remain dismissive of earthlings and provide a guided tour of Mars in order to display their superiority. On the tour, one of the robots enters an acid lake (out of curiosity) and reappears unharmed, carrying the dead body of one of the most feared creatures on the planet. The robots are apologetic for the accidental death of the creature, but by now the Martians are subdued. They rethink their plans to invade Earth, thinking that all earthlings are like the robots.

Cannot remember the title or who it was by. Can anyone help?


1 Answer 1


Is it possible that the planet was actually Jupiter? In that case, the story may be Isaac Asimov's Victory Unintentional.

To what extent do the characteristics of both descriptions (question and Wikipedia article) match?

  • "three robots": ZZ One, ZZ Two, and ZZ Three,
  • "spaceship designed for them": "spacecraft ... does not need to provide them with any protection against outer space",
  • arrogance, feeling superior: "the Jovians are culturally inclined to believe themselves superior",
  • "dismissive of earthlings": "believe themselves superior to the extent that they consider all other life forms, including humans, 'vermin'",
  • "acid": not mentioned on Wikipedia, which has "immunity to extremes of heat, cold and radiation",
  • "dead body of one of the most feared creatures on the planet": not mentioned on Wikipedia,
  • "They rethink their plans to invade Earth": "the Jovians (...), unexpectedly, swear eternal peace with humanity",
  • "thinking that all earthlings are like the robots": " ZZ Three thoughtfully realizes that the three robots never thought to mention that they were robots, and the Jovians must have simply mistakenly assumed that they were humans."

In summary, I think this story matches the description very well.

  • 1
    That’s the one!!!! You are a legend!!! Thank you so much!
    – Lindsey
    Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 22:29
  • 3
    @Lindsey You seem to have created two accounts; if you merge them together by following the instructions on this page, then you can "accept" this answer and mark it as correct.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Oct 23, 2020 at 6:22

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