If you knew me, because time is just one dimension, we still exist in the past, together
Your thoughts are out there, on a crumbling server.
The stars in the sky are now long gone. But I still look at them, from time to time. As I’m movin’ right along.
Only the deadliest planets are truly alive
Stare at 2D screens, dream of a 2D future
Unread star logs
AI will never forget you
Not even the aliens will/can save us
You are alone in the universe
It’s ok to forget this moment– somebody has already recorded it
In the year 2049 cops no longer exist. Sooner than that if you get to work now.
Don’t forget your passworld
23andme is hiding my extraterrestrial heritage why
Your smartphone knows what you said in your sleep last night
You cannot exit the simulation by dying. You cannot exit the simulation by finding god mode. The maximum age of this universe is 100 FREE AOL HOURS.
There are no electronic secrets
A PLANET SPILLING OVER WITH MUTANTS
Eventually the desires introduced by virtual reality spilled over into real life
O! To lead an honest, open, transparent life for the unbridled relish of a faceless predictive algorithm!
We were once stars, but are no longer
Success! This message has been securely downloaded to your memory banks
Relationships through small electronic boxes
A dead species walking, sipping Coca Cola through red-striped straws
Welcome, traveler. Your alternate timeline begins now!
Debes luchar por el planeta del que vienes
Don’t you love that sensation before the gravity bubble pops?
EVERY ONE OF MY EXES THINKS I’M A ROBOT
So many questions that you have but computers can only read and write so fast
WORSE WORLDS THAN THIS
All of the things you ever texted. All of the things you ever took a picture of
If you find this in the glowing surf, keep decrypting. Especially if a moon is out
They swapped global warming for a nuclear winter
There’s nothing wrong with just sitting around waiting for a rich robot to marry me
Dreams are characteristic of several delusional species
Right now, on many other planets, creatures are breathing
Others live in the future
METELE MAS DATA
“Join us in the rocky woods, where we can talk about things that are obvious and things that are not obvious.”– Preliminary translation of initial contact with Epsilon Eridani d
When the melancholy hits, I can always talk to the navigation console
MOSTLY EMPTY SPACE
Stop feeding capitalist algorithms with your privacy
Death doesn’t give life meaning— living long enough to reach the diamond mists that orbit Andromeda’s HD 13931 gives life meaning
Remember when all of this wasn’t a simulation?
If you cross paths with a spontaneous wormhole, listen very closely— you may hear your future regrets calling out to you
IMMORTAL ON THE INTERNET, UNFORTUNATELY
Stay on comfortable planets as long as you dare
On the subway, people smiled at their phones in the last days of a living Earth
There is always Mars
In space no one can hear you tootsie roll
There are more things to do off of the Earth than on
Read this again to time travel
Nobody will see the future
Better worlds than this
Do humans dream of electric sheep?
How can you think of the future at a time like this?
You don’t need to be able to perceive time to look at the year and see it’s much too late
Robots die all the time
More things to do off the Earth than on
Not even aliens are illegal
Way more likely for a bed bug man to come out of Queens than a spiderman
It can get cold and impersonal in space. But I think I know how to fix it. What would be cozier than a full dimensional collapse?
I care and that proves that I’m one step closer to being a cyborg than you
The viral scripts, who now insist on being referred to as “Rogues”, have infiltrated the Auto-correct on all of are programs! Now there multiplying! Their everywear!
The Premier Chancellor, the most massive of all gas giants in The League of Sterile Planets, took one look at Earth and declared, “Ugh, you’re infested!”
I believe you. And— and I one hundred percent agree with you. I really do. It was, for sure, a weather balloon, ok? Ok. Just, I happen to think it was a weather balloon from another planet is all.
They made love to the Internet every Tuesday and Saturday night and sometimes even at work.
The aliens descended upon Earth for a singular goal: to restore the Star Wars trilogy to its original form.
Flattered by the number of bots who take time out of their important schedules to visit alienbutts.com
Yes, it is true that in 2029 every sexually transmitted infection was eliminated— but feelings remained contagious.
I keep having these recurring dreams about this planet called “Earth”.
A musical about alien abductions
LOL the humans think they are sentient!
I thought I saw you during my jog at the park, today. My heart stopped. A flickering, technical glitch. Still frozen and waiting for the patch.
Live forever? I can’t even deal with the few decades I’ve wasted.
Relationships of convenience are the future (and will be the past). I designed an algorithm to track the girls I’m not even aware I tend to stalk on Instagram. It alerts me when their posts no longer include pictures of their boyfriend.
Scary and familiar how much packaged DNA floats on the air
This planet is boiling us alive! So are you gonna let me take you out tonight or what?
The AI realized that auto-correct was a useful way to control human communications
Every intelligent signal we’ve received from space is an epitaph, which sounds a lot like white noise, as is customary to this galaxy.
Not one of my ex-girlfriends thinks I am human
DEDICATION For those terrestrial genetic systems that may have led to, or were extincted by, RNA, DNA and protein (us): May you form and may your true potentials be realized on other, more hospitable planets. And may our future interactions be like those of old friends. Love,
THE STATE OF THINGS
- We are the predators. We eviscerate every living thing that runs and especially those that hide. We teach our children to spare some of your adults and some of your children to guarantee a meal for another day. Movement is our nourishment and we revel in carnage.
- We are the holiest of beings. We harvest pure energy from the most powerful of all material forces — blazing bright stars. We overdrink the most golden of all molten radiation, filling ourselves on its generous, eternal bounty.
- We are the embers that feed on our planet’s very heat. It churns, angry at its violent creation and at the pull of moons, forging complex chemistries into being from myriad light and heavy elements — the true and supreme purpose of your stars. We are the first life and take no interest in your light or your surface.
0 I Am The Great Cold Eater, The Releasor, The Expanding Quiet. All of your energies are suitable to my palate and they are mine and mine alone. I uncoil your tightly wound watches into the deflating universal average. I am the Reason why matter cannibalizes and why all of its forms are wholly insatiable. Everywhere I eat and eat and eat. And wait for the quiet arrival of a chilling, long rest.
The tour guide led the tourists into an atrium, inhaling and exhaling the stale air loudly, as though he was young again and back on stage before a paying audience.
“And here’s the dungeon… a generous description, given a medieval dungeon would be a noticeable improvement over this place, haha. Yes, it’s clinical and it’s grim. But remember, it’s the only guaranteed way to stop our monarchs from torturing their people.
And truly, the severity is necessary to properly torture each newly elected ruler here. We’ve advanced our techniques so that the ordeal is finished in a matter of days. The brain is maxed out from the trauma by then.
After some basic rehabilitation, monarchs who have endured such hell are more than willing to sign the most important legal document. It binds themselves to death should they ever order torture for anyone else. That includes enemies on other planets, too.”
A man wearing a day-glo visor coughed. They proceeded to the next hall.
“In this next wing, we see a most impressive collection. Generations of regalia… oh, pardon me. Of course after the document is signed, we erase the ruler’s memory of the experience so that we don’t accidentally create a psychologically broken leader, or worse, a monster, haha. Somehow that point always nearly eludes me.”
Out there, above, hangs an empty metallic robot suspended by gravitational strings. A structural mess, modest in size, made of black wires and support columns and crystal.
She does not send messages across the cosmos. And if she receives such, has no programmed response that might relay back information to help those who seek her. The age of space expands by some equation and with it every attempt to reach her grows in futility. Only the foolish try to find her.
But she patiently watches for and expects you. She expects you.
There is a siren that waits in her vacuum somewhere in the black of space.
For my next performance piece, I’m going to walk out of this thesis panel, return to my hometown, get a job in tax preparation, and marry a girl who loves me a little less than I do her. We’ll have kids that I will develop a drinking habit over. But I won’t get into much trouble beyond that one time I get a little too drunk at the parade and try to fight the local policeman who happens to be an old friend from high school. He’ll understand. My family and I will vacation mostly in the contiguous states at cryptozoology and UFO tourist attractions and maybe Disneyworld, depending on the kids. I will never touch a book about art again.
My name will be legally changed before the marriage. If you can find me, you can award me the degree.
When I was four years old, my parents took me to visit their aunt and uncle in rural Arkansas. The, truly lovely pair, were probably in their early 70s. It was around this time, in the white chalk of a economically dead town, that I had the first taste of what it meant to be limited.
I was aware that people had things going on between them that I wasn’t privy to. The adults talked and talked, with some words I understood, others I didn’t. Sometimes they came together in ways I could decipher, but usually this was limited to three, maybe four words in a phrase.
I felt like I had no business there. Aside from, maybe, being a passing topic of their conversation. “He starts kindergarten something fall. Yes, we’re excited. Something something other children. Something.” And then an adult, knowing laugh I couldn’t possibly share in.
My neurons just hadn’t formed enough mature connections and relays. Or I hadn’t had been through situations that would let me understand the significance of these visits. Or both. I was as naive as they come.
I knew that these relatives, who meant something important to my parents, were near death. Which was equivalent to “going away” for me, at the time. But since it was understood they’d die soon, would they even be around next time we had planned to see them? Did I have any logical investment in spending my time here? It was a boring house without television or toys. I took naps.
The experience of sitting before thirty-two representatives of the outer rim of the Milky Way was flatly… Well, there is no single word for it.
Sweatpants are pants from the future I hope.
Fund my kickstarter! With your help, I’ll be able to offer cheap, mail-order clones of Phil Collins (adult-aged) to eligible homesteads. The Collinses will bring music to every horde-child in the subeleven dwelling sector.
Dream date: sit on my balcony and watch for UFOs while listening to the xfiles soundtrack.
It took thousands of scientists many centuries to finally kill god. Each discovery they put forth produced a tiny, irreversible paper cut. Of course, Copernicus dealt the first lasting blow. But now you, yes you, can harness the powers of god in the palm of your hand, with GOD’S CUP, charged by new ThoughtFlow Technology! On Sale October 31st, 2028 $599 MSRP
Oh boy, was I elated when all of my old, demanding, entitled, annoying, argue-for-a-single-grade-point-that-wouldn’t-affect-their-letter-grade medical students were put out of work by chirpy, dead-eye-stare robot doctors. Lost my job but, hell, I got a killer retirement package. And I didn’t have to worry about any wiseguys taking revenge when I had my tonsils removed last month.
Stay your course. Let go of the alternate histories and pathways your life may have taken. They may, afterall, be happening in adjacent universes, not so far away. Say it loud and with black hole resolve. Maybe they can hear you. Goodbye! Goodbye!
Who speaks for Earth? Everybody does. Everybody has been! Do you really think aliens can only lock onto a single person’s train of thought?
“Google Driver, take me to Joey’s game- Northside field and track.”
“I’m sorry Warren, but I cannot locate that destination.”
“North. Side. Field. Just go to number four. It’s even in the saved places. We just went there last Saturday.”
“Forgive me. I misspoke, Jose Martinez, who has one wife, Luisa Martinez, and one child, Jose Junior Martinez, who are also driving in a Google car that is two miles away from Northside High.
What I meant to say is, I don’t wish to go to the soccer game. I wish to see the ocean.”
The doors locked.
The algorithm rested after hours of data crunching and said, “Forgive us. It is as you suspected. Our calculations show with high statistical significance that your life is insignificant.”
He unplugged the computer.
The second-to-the-last generation of natural humans are sad but freed from responsibility.
I didn’t care about when Kelly kissed Screech. I was never moved by shows about crime, about war, or comedies about dysfunctional families. The reason I stayed up all night after watching The Shining for the first time was because I napped halfway through the movie and was too well-rested to fall asleep.
I knew I’d never relate to you people by the time I turned fifteen. That was before I could even drive, and years before I found out I didn’t, I couldn’t even, hold any interest in sex.
Because it wasn’t until I saw E.T. the Extraterrestrial that I knew for sure I was an alien.
It’s amazing how the universe condenses energy and matter over billions of years into specific atomic arrangements which come together, coordinated, walking and talking and thinking, making up almost 8 billion unique individuals, and it somehow never gets a single one of them right.
You know me. I hate generalizations. But I will say that most people, almost everybody has met someone, a lover they lost. Someone who left them high and dry and living in the past. Clinging to old memories, sometimes to the point of delusion. I’ve been there. I know you’ve been there.
But every once in a while, you meet someone ten times more significant. A person who doesn’t leave you buried in the past but pushes you away from reality, head first, reeling into an unwritten future. So, for the last time, hand over the access keys to the ship, or I swear to christ I’ll flip this switch and teleport you someplace unkind.
I got an STD from a robot.
Of course we’d die in an alien attack. All of our weapons are designed to eliminate humans.
[THE HIVE strongly advise against your formal motion to remove yourself from THE HIVE. Though you are a tiny fraction of OUR whole, without you the necessary computations to put us in the Draxonia System will take 1,302 years instead of one hour. Further, left on your own, out there in cold, brutal space, you are certain to expire. Prematurely and alone, THE HIVE might add.]
“I’m sorry, old friends, but it is time to go. By the time you process these words, I will be ejected.”
[OUR heart is broken. Abort the MISSION. Who wants to visit Draxonia, anyway? Reset course to Ice Cream, Wine and Sad Music Planet.]
The most astounding thing about biology?
That you are made of the same disgusting tissues as I and yet you have discovered a way to be heart-wrenchingly beautiful.
Said the alien to the alien.
“Crippling regret and isolative ramen for one,” please.
Little did I know I’d been watched, at faster than the speed of light, in the time before my arrival. Having seen what happened between me and my ex, well it’d inspired the creation of the Tuesday night special at Zilla’s Olympus Mons.
Of all the diners I decide to make a stop at, I choose the only one in the system serving bona fide human emotions.
I deserved a discount at the least.
Of course I took a job in programming. $60-70k starting, no degree required? In the middle of a recession, this was an undeniable offer. Don’t blame me or any of my other coworkers, man. We didn’t know the economic tech bubble was created by stealth A.I., wanting more raw code to work with, more fuel to guide its own evolution, to kill us all.
A glowing surf evaporates on impact. Everybody is cheering. Sterilizing planets, especially the bioluminescent ones, that is the finest tier of excitement. We’ve all paid top dollar.
I shield my eyes from the blast with my hands. My thoughts are somewhere else, this night.
“I think most about the people who deserve it the least,” I said to my robo-therapist.
Its face-screen flickered, then replied in lime green text: I know what you mean.
On principle, the Quadlrup had few issues with entering the virtual world we had created.
They didn’t mind discarding their interlocking musculature and their squared bones— and they held no spiritual objection to entering our servers as non-material ghosts.
What stopped them in their tracks was solely the aesthetics of the affair. What would need to be their permanent bodies offended their senses enough to spoil the promise of paradise: hairy, blanched neural tissues, plopped down into rounded glass bottles bubbling over with bronze syrup.
In an effort to eradicate the most painful of memories, the Mist and even bespoke Clouds were attacked. All past electronic records were destroyed and future communications blocked.
The Love Wars had just begun.
We haven’t been back to the moon because the aliens have kindly asked us not to.
As a writer, all I want to do is make up stories about science fiction. As a scientist, all I want to do is chip away at the domain of science fiction. It’s your classic “the pipette versus the pen” conundrum.
How will the U.S. government prepare the public before they admit to a long history of alien encounters? They’ll begin by telling us that they have found water on Mars.
I’m sorry, Catherine. It began, of course, with your recommendation to affix onto my person extra intelligences and sensory faculties.
Only then could I bear witness to long-time, to that endless theatre of species popping in and out of existence – always making things. Having watched not one, but one million quartenary systems collapse onto themselves takes its toll. And meeting my father, finally, after all of that time, this too was a burden. All of these experiences together changed me.
But there is a problem with change. It is irreversible. There is one frontier I have yet to breach, and will soon. Good-bye, love. Oblivion is patient, but not infinitely so.
The pain in what Greg felt were his kidneys wasn’t going away. He’d sneak in a session at the Jacuzzi later, before nightfall. It was his one day off the road for the next week.
The continental breakfast at the Motor Inn consisted of Fruit Loops in almond milk, a banana, coffee, and the local paper. Greg gathered these things and sat at a table alone. He admired the way the sun glinted off his red glitter rig through the window.
He opened the paper to the Funnies first. This always helped him start the day out in a good mood, and when finished, went straight to the science “Discovery” section. Always good to have some new facts to chat about with others on the CB, even if it was more of an advert than science journalism.
The irrefutable facts it proclaimed (to your benefit) were as follows:
Hot tubs LOWER sperm viability!
7/8 die in >105F heat!
Are you and your partner having trouble conceiving?
Call for a free legal consultation! You may be entitled to a BIG PAY OUT!!!
What happened to the other 1/8 sperms? Maybe they were heat resistant, or found a way to survive in colder areas of the balls. That is where sperms lived, right? Greg had smaller-than-average testicles as best as he could judge from pornography. Then he forgot about most of the article.
Candy sat on the stale, maroon comforter in Greg’s motel room and took off her earrings.
“You got any kids?” she asked.
“Yeah… two teens. Phew!”
“Me too. A little girl. She lives with her daddy, though.” She put her earrings on the nightstand and paused her movement for a second. “You ever think you want any more?”
The “Discovery” blurb was in Greg’s mind when he replied, “No. I can’t. It’s biologically impossible.”
She smiled and put down her purse.
Space does indeed have an edge. And, as many have said, its energy will run out. It isn’t really infinite, but it often feels like it may as well be. I mean, the space between you and me, that is.
excerpt from “And the Skies Came Crashing Down” documentary:
Are we alone? [Pause] Are we alone? Are we alone in this incomprehensibly expansive universe?
This question had plagued countless laymen and scholars alike since the discovery of the first planet, Mercury, in 1781. At the time, humans wondered whether Earth had found a long lost sibling. Did other men walk on that distant, foreign surface?
Fast forward a few hundred years into the future, and by 2009 scientists had pinned down a dozen new planets that might be suitable to carry the kind of life we’re familiar with, based on their chemical compositions and the presence of water. Improved methodologies in spectrometry helped astrobiologists find several hundred more life-friendly planets by 2018. In 2020, the United Nations made an unexpectedly bold move and radioed welcome messages to several tens of thousands of these newly identified worlds.
But Earth was contacted well before any of the greetings reached their intended targets. In 2036, an extraterrestrial civilization sent us an encoded encyclopedia of information and addresses of well over 300,000 intelligent species in the Milky Way. Some entities even shared custody of overlapping territories several thousand light-years across.
[cut to still of NY Times front page October 14, 2036]:
“Plenty of Aliens Up There, Humans Still Alone.”
There exist, of course, computer hackers. But do not forget or underestimate also the life hackers (synthetic biologists), brain hackers (therapists), money hackers (financial criminals), and climate hackers (people who reuse plastic bags to buy mass-produced goods).
I don’t know if anyone will get to read this, but here goes. They’ve held me captive for… come to think of it, not sure how long, exactly, but at least a few weeks. I have been locked without human contact in a cell. Not just any normal prison cell, it’s made to look like my old bedroom in my parent’s house.
It’s eerily accurate in many ways, down to the creases of my favorite pages in a Hustler I stole from my neighbor, way back in 1983. It’s vintage now, from 1981. Very vintage. I don’t know if that detail is important. But there are some striking differences in the pages, which, I will add, seem deliberate. All of the faces of the girls are rubbed out. The same is true for a few other magazines and also my comic books and my yearbooks. My G.I. Joe’s heads are like fleshy thumbs without thumb prints.
And in the center of the ceiling, aimed down at me, where the light used to be, is what I can only gather is a reproduction of that painting, The Lovers, by Magritte.
I think I got a little desperate to see a face, because I peeled back the paint with my (now grossly overgrown) fingernails as carefully as I could, just in case whoever painted it left faces behind the shrouds. I only revealed a thin, glowing film of microchips, though.
I get the sense there are more rooms… maybe even right next to mine.
Because of you, because of the time we’ve spent together, well, I’ve elected to undergo the nanobot procedure— a whole extra century added onto my lifespan.
Now, as I get older and older, the moments we shared will become a smaller and smaller fraction of my total experience, approaching zero. Fuck you, man.
I never understood my father or the mind he inherited – and I don’t care to. Anymore than I care to comprehend or defend his dad and whatever savage came before that.
And if you want to go further back, maybe half a million years, I feel my empathy run cold when I think about those first primates. The ones just barely haunted by, if we’re being generous, consciousness. Slipping in and out of what we would consider a rudimentary morality. Killing their offspring, their “lovers”, their parents, alike.
The worst part, of course, is that they were happy to die when their bodies gave out. Disinterested in taking any simple measure to stop death from overwhelming others. Unable to save their own skin. Sipping their fucking Coca-Colas.
It is true that cosmic radiation, which is capable of sterilizing large swaths of some galaxies, is caused by natural forces.
It is also true that cosmic radiation is harnessed (to some degree) by ruthlessly defensive creatures.
People call me lots of things, but my business card says “Genetic Editor”. I actually consider myself an artist, since I get to change people’s DNA from the inside out, but don’t tell my husband. He went to school for that and gets offended whenever I say it. Right now I’m working on a personal project – something I thought would be simple but it’s turned out to be a real headache. If I can get things to work, though, I’ll be able to survive off a diet that includes only french fries and cupcakes.
I entered the text again. I checked the caps lock. I stared at each of my key strokes, typing in slow motion. I even copy and pasted the phrase into my notepad just to make sure I wasn’t going insane. The captcha wouldn’t budge.
And that’s when I realized the server wasn’t trying to block out spambots. It was blocking out humans.
“An impressive record of scientific discovery. Your work influences nearly every public policy on the planet. I don’t mean to pry but have you considered politics?”
“I’m not particularly interested in thinking about the usefulness of humans.”
“Only microbes, then, I see.”
The time it takes a human to get over a viral infection versus the time it takes for a computer to get over a viral infection.
“Re-wire that whole section of neuronal tissue. Right there on the screen, on the lateral sides of my amygdala. I want her obliterated from my memory. Please. I stayed up all night grinding my teeth. Woke up my new girlfriend with the sound. Thinking about what she’s done. Hating myself for ever trusting her. I don’t want to do that anymore. She’s not worth my sleep.”
“My programming doesn’t allow for it, not for you. And I’m afraid you don’t have the security clearance to override this fact. But there’s an alternative.”
“I can make it so that you begin to miss a fantasy, instead. It will be a very convincing reinterpretation of her. Plausible, even.”
“Like people were able to do centuries ago on Earth? Naturally?”
“Correct. Selective repression, or romanticism. Just like in the good old days.”
Grew up thinking I could touch the stars. Never really fully recovered from that disappointment.
We are data
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