Denial was the sixth story in the Bernice Summerfield anthology A Life Worth Living. It was written by Ian Mond.

Summary Edit

Benny is approached by a Rentali student named Janya, who thinks that Benny has influence with Braxiatel and can convince him to prevent the Thazkan Professor Stamis from speaking at the Collection.

A thousand years ago, the beautiful Thazkans invaded the Rentali, and the Rentali, who thought of them as gods, accepted the killings of their people that the Thazkans maintained were necessary. Eventually, however, the Rentali realised that the Thazkans were gods, and, with the help of several other species, defeated the Thazkans and kicked them off the planet. For the next nine hundred years, the Thazkans and the Rentali have been at peace.

Now, however, Professor Stamis has been making speeches denying that the Thazkan holocaust ever took place. His claim is that the occupation was actually a war, and that both Rentali and Thazkans died.

Janya and the other Rentali on the Collection ask Benny to talk to Braxiatel. When Benny talks to Brax, she compares Stamis to the Axis, but Brax says that if he refuses to let Stamis speak here, he is no better than the Axis. He won't stop Stamis from coming, but tells her she can try to convince the organiser of the speech to cancel it.

Benny learns that her friend Suze Mathers has organised the speech. Benny's pleas fail, however, as Suze is more interested in the excitement that the speech will generate.

The Rentali thank Benny for her efforts. They organise peaceful protests and are joined by hundreds of people, including Collection members and even a few Thazkans.

When Stamis arrives on the Collection, Benny decides to talk to him. At first, she feels the force of his personality, but she has done research on him. Decades ago, he had written a paper warning his people about the horrors of the holocaust. She taunts him about how he ended his relationship with his wife and sons. He breaks down and tells her about his life.

As a young professor, sixty years ago, Stamis noticed that his people were beginning to engage in anti-alien activities. He tried to warn them about their history with the Rentali, but no one would listen. He wrote a paper denouncing the holocaust and the anti-alien activities. To his horror, the Rentali are as apathetic about the past as the Thazkans are.

He makes a bold decision. He leaves his family and disappears for a short time. When he emerges, he begins to make speeches denying the holocaust. At first he has support among the anti-alien Thazkans, but soon the Rentali are outraged. Eventually, the Thazkans reverse their anti-alien stand. Both sides are united in their denouncing of Stamis's claims.

At Stamis's request, Benny destroys the copy of Stamis's old paper, the only copy that was in existence.

Characters Edit

References Edit

  • Parasiel and Hass are among the Collection residents that take part in the peaceful protests.
  • Benny compares Stamis to the Fifth Axis.

Notes Edit

to be added

Continuity Edit

to be added

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