First Publication: Analog, July/August 2012
Cover Artist: Vincent Di Fate
“Donner Summit” is a “Probability Zero” story from Analog. It is a first contact story where, surprise, things go wrong.
The “Probability Zero” stories have been part of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact for as long as I can remember. They are very short stories that usually have some sort of twist at the end.
“Donner Summit” is only the second Harry Turtledove story I can remember reading. He tells it in a casual, conversational manner that is very easy to read. Both the aliens and the humans seem to be the perfect race to meet for a first alien contact. Everything is going smoothly until… I will not ruin the ending for anyone who might want to read it.
You will find it to be entertaining if you like stories that have a surprise ending.