Story, first published: Astounding Science Fiction, July 1942
In "Tools", the aliens turn the tables on the greedy Earthmen and try to effect a change in human values. A corporation, which "owns the Solar System, body and soul" by controlling its source of power, is mining Venus for radium ore (curiously, the head of the corporation is R. C. Webster, a name that Simak will use in a much different characterization in the City series). Simak describes a much more hostile environment on Venus than in "Hunger Death", much closer to what it actually is and not the watery jungle beloved of most writers of the period.
Archie, a native Venusian, is a blob of disembodied radon gas captured in a lead jar who has learned to communicate with Earthlings. Archie, from a race without tools, has been secretly learning technology from the Earthmen. By driving one of his observers insane enough to smash his jar, Archie gets free and joins other Venusians in a group intelligence, taking over the machinery in the mining camp. The big corporation puts up a fight, which provides the action in the story, but loses its radium monopoly.
Doc, the old psychologist who understands the Venusians, gives his life to protect Archie's secret - the "purely mental" Venusians have emotions and a superior intelligence and have been experimenting with becoming "physical." Now with tools to give them physical being, they plan to build a better civilization for Earthmen. A number of themes that Simak will develop into whole novels are contained in this story: capitalistic exploitation, superior but helpful aliens, and another chance for the human race despite its moral failures. The idea that aliens can put man back on the right track became Simak's concern for the next forty years.
Ewald, Robert J.: When the Fires Burn High and the Wind is from the North, p.29