Science-Fiction Rules for Real Life

God finally finished the last episode of the radio comedy “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” on an old cassette recording from the BBC brought to him especially from Heaven’s out[-of-date AV department at his command. He hadn’t listened to it when it was new even though Saint Peter kept telling him how funny it was and he really ought to make himself aware of the works of Douglas Adams. And he needed a new comedy writer for the Sacred Stand-up Comedy Review next Saturday.

“Make it so, Peter,” God decreed.

“Um, Lord, I fear our lend-lease agreement with the Bad Place has expired.”

“You mean, the writer of that radio play is not in Heaven…?”

And then God, being all-knowing, remembered that humorists, comedy writers, and satirists had lost favor since the Middle Ages. If only Dante hadn’t made that snippy comment about Deus ex Machina moments in real life. Writers should not assume God has a sense of humor.

“Well, if I cannot get the comedy writer I need to write my monologue, I will use some cosmic humor of my own and just change all of reality to satirize how things work in science fiction.”

“Oh, my!” said Saint Peter. “What are the rules going to be?”

“First of all, if you ignore small scientific rules for too long, they build up problems and cosmic tensions to a point where they create world-ending catastrophes. Like having too many cows farting on farms leading to global warming and the atmosphere eventually catching fire. Methane burns, after all.”

“Well, that could never happen. People on Earth would never value hamburgers over being able to breathe without inhaling fire.” Saint Peter had a smug smile of satisfaction on his face for that faulty realization.

“Don’t bet your afterlife on it, Peter.”

“What’s rule two?”

“Anything mysterious or inexplicable found by archaeologists was done by alien beings in flying saucers.”

“But that could be true, couldn’t it? There are planets capable of life and civilization that are millennia older than Earth, possibly even millions of years older. If interstellar travel is possible, then some explorer-type civilizations have probably already visited Earth. Maybe even announcing themselves as gods. After all, we haven’t really figured out how the pyramids were built.”

“Peter, be careful how you blaspheme! And don’t let Zeus hear that I have created this second rule.”

“Sorry, Lord. Forgive my misspoken ignorance, and tell me the third rule.

“Well, time travel is possible. And because it is, it has already been invented somewhere in the universe, and therefore it exists in all times and all planets. There are nearly infinite time travelers watching everything happen.”

“Won’t they mess up the time lines of events that happen in their past?”

“They cannot. A time traveler is part of the history they visit. Therefore they might cause the event to happen. But they can never change it. Anything they do is part of the history that already exists.”

“So, is David Tennant from that show a real time traveler?”

“That is for me to know and not for you to question… Though I can reveal that David Tennant is not the real-life Scrooge McDuck, only his cartoon voice.”

“That is good to know.”

“And the final new rule I will create for my humorous monologue is that all alien civilizations will speak and understand English, but we will all know they are alien because of strange little alterations to their neck, nose, or forehead.”

“Will you nickname that one the Star Trek rule?”

“Is Gene Roddenberry in Heaven or Hell?”

“Good point, Lord. At least he won’t be embarrassed when you spring this new reality on the angels at the Comedy Review on Saturday.”

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Filed under aliens, humor, irony, Paffooney, science fiction

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