Twelve Days of Fast Fiction, Day 01: THE MISANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE

Posted: 13 December 2013 in 12DaysFF, fast fiction, fiction, writing
Tags: , , , ,

Jamais Cascio is a writer and futurist, deducing and predicting the likely and possible consequences of actions; that being said, he should have known in advance what I was going to write. I do hope not. Selected by Foreign Policy magazine as one of their Top 100 Global Thinkers, he’s one of the most intelligent people I know, and I get more intelligent just by listening to him. I’m very lucky he’s my friend.

A little known fact about Jamais; not many people know that he can sing and play the harmonica at the same time.

Title: The Misanthropic Principle
Word: shenanigans
Challenger: Jamais Cascio
Length: 200 words exactly

Although there had been a gambling pool for weeks, it was only on the fourth day of the fourth month of the fourth year of their voyage, just before Christmas in the old calendar, that the captain made the announcement.

They were going home.

Over fifty months at near-light speeds had convinced the captain and science crew that humanity was alone in the galaxy. There had been the occasional bacterium, and on a scarlet red planetoid, the probe had found a fossilised virus. But no intelligent life; not even the promise of it nor any remains of alien civilisations.

Which was exactly what the other species that filled the vast interstellar plains had wanted, and had gone to great lengths to show the travellers.

Humanity, this confederation of beings long ago decided, was not ready; humans were, there was no other fair conclusion they all agreed, parochial. They would not understand.

The others wanted no interaction, but would continue observing the humans’ shenanigans as they had for thousands of years, via their billions of spies on Earth: every tree, every plant, every shrub.

One day, humanity might be ready to learn. Maybe when they’d ceased killing their observers.


© Lee Barnett, 2013

This story is part of The Twelve Days of Fast Fiction (More information on the Twelve Days here)
Day 02: Robot Ghosts of Apocalypse – challenger: Cherie Priest
Day 03: Every Word Is Wrong – challenger: Si Spurrier
Day 04: The Train Didn’t Come – challenger: Emma Vieceli
Day 05: Living Happily Ever After – challenger: Neil Gaiman
Day 06: Embargoed Until Midnight – Challenger: Corrie Corfield
Day 07: He’s Making A List – Challenger: Mitch Benn
Day 08: Fingers On The Windowpane – Challenger: Leah Moore
Day 09: Santa Abduction Narratives Recalled – Challenger: Paul Cornell
Day 10: Copula Numb – Challenger: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Day 11: It Lived Under Monday – Challenger: Sarah Pinborough
Day 12: Batman Sure Likes Tea – Challenger: Tiernan Douieb

Edit to add: An ebook of all twelve stories is available for $0.99. Click here for details.

“There are two hundred stories collected in this volume. They are funny, they are thoughtful, they are romantic, they are frightening. To me, though, they are more than entertaining. They are inspiring.” – Wil Wheaton, from his introduction to volume 2 of The Fast Fiction Challenge

Two volumes of The Fast Fiction Challenge, containing 180 stories in Volume 1 and a further 200 stories in Volume 2, for £3.00 each, are available in ebook format from the author; email for details.

  1. ProfMel says:

    Wow. I liked this. Would you mind if I use this in my classes? I’ll give you credit, of course, but would spark good discussion in my environmental science classes.

  2. […] Barnett (aka ‘budgie’) is embarking on a challenge to write twelve 200 word stories using a title and a word provided by 12 writers. First off is Jamais Cascio, who suggested ‘The Misanthropic Principle’ with […]

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