(Found) 1970s short story title


New Member
Sep 5, 2020
New member here. Looking for the title of a short story, perhaps by Silverberg, but not sure, and I can't locate it in my collection.

Back in the 1970s I read a short story in an anthology about a spaceship crewed by many different alien species, including a single human. When that human died, the crew made an emergency landing in a deserted part of the US Southwest, looking for a replacement human. The ship was unable to function without a "push" that could only be provided by a human. They needed a "pusher".

The crew abducted a lone individual for trials, but couldn't make him understand what they wanted him to do. They just kept repeating "push" without him understanding. Finally, at the end of the story, he had an idea, so he "pushed", and the ship took off.

I thought it might be entitled "The Pusher", but that title doesn't appear to be in any anthology I own.

It's a nifty little story, well written, with an ambiguous but satisfying ending.

I'd appreciate any help in identifying the title and author.

I recognised this immediately. Read it way back in my teens in Tales of Terror from Outer Space, which also includes the classic Arthur Porges story, The Ruum.

Great story. Read it many years ago in an anthology (different to the one mentioned by @Peter V ) and I would have been hard-pressed to identify it.
And with that information I found the book buried in my bookshelves, this edition published in 1967. The cover is intact, the spine unbroken, the pages are browned, but the content is still as fresh.

It's like getting in touch with an old friend, long out of touch but not far out of mind. A warm reunion from my youth.