The last two years, for the month of June, I wrote about a short story that was available online each day of the month… you can see the list for 2014 and 2015 in the comments for this page. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My blog readership fell precipitously and nobody seemed to give a damn about what I was doing – which was a surprising amount of work.
Because of this result, I’m going to do it again this year.
Today’s story, for day Three – They’re Made out of Meat, by Terry Bisson
Read it online here:
So today we have something short, something funny – a bit of a palate cleanser if you will.
It’s Science Fiction, or Speculative Fiction… if you prefer. Like all good speculative stories, it attempts to posit a possible answer to a Big Science question – a cosmic conundrum. It’s called the Drake Equation.
Up until a few years ago, mankind didn’t know if there were any other planets out there. Now, thanks to tremendous advancements in telescopes, space based observatories, and innovative software, we now know that there are planets everywhere… trillions upon trillions of them. And they are of all sorts of sizes and distances – plus there is no reason to think there aren’t even more moons out there, orbiting all those planets.
So you take the equation – what percentage of planets are Earth-like – or at least how many have an atmosphere and at least a little bit of water. Even if those conditions are only fulfilled by, say, one in a billion – that means there are at least thousands of earth-like planets out there – most likely millions. And it isn’t a stretch to look at life here and come to the conclusion that if extraterrestrial life is possible – then it is inevitable.
So, I think that maybe we can say that we are probably not alone in the universe. But there is one problem with this line of thinking.
Where is everybody?
This story gives one possible answer to the question.
Go ahead and click over and read the thing – it will only take you about five minutes. It will be worth it, I promise.