(A Still From The Forbidden Planet, 1956, from The Paris Review, Sept 13, 2016)
Hey, Wait a Darn Minute! You there, in the government. You’re screwing up the plot of my latest science fiction novel, the one I’m in process writing. What the hell do you think you are doing? You’re the Trump government. You guys can’t…
Back up. Breath, David, and seek your center.
Meditate. And try telling the story from the beginning.
There I was, well into writing my science fiction novel about alien first contact. I was turning it into an interstellar love story that didn’t involve an Independence Day type of war scenario.
My imaginative aliens are good aliens (for the most part), if a bit greedy, but some of them are good scientists.
The text was into the second round of beta reading, which is something you have to go through if you are writing a novel these days. You call on those friends with a sense of humor, and enough time to plow through your half-baked writing in an attempt to help you turn it into good writing. They must be people who care about good story telling, and want to help wanna-be writers by combing your novel text for mistakes, illogical assertions, and stoopid stuff.
But back to my science fiction novel text. Part of the plot centers on our Federal government not being prepared to deal with alien first contact. And imagining what would happen in the Trump administration if a friendly group of aliens arrived, and wanted to do business deals.
Of course, no one would be dumb enough to tell the President. Because he’d just want to deport them. Because the out-of-this-world aliens would not have any money to stay in Trump hotels, so what use would they be?
Then Bam! I see a headline in USA Today that says the White House is looking for an interplanetary protection officer.
The pay is pretty good, over $100.000, if you need a job and qualify. You must have the ability to negotiate favorable trade relations with the critters from another planet. You must have a top, double-sekrit security classification, and know a lot about space. It must be someone who knows the hazards and bio-risks of sucking up to Congress, the White House, and the generals at the Pentagon. It must be someone not afraid, who will protect the country from alien cooties. Because, someone in government seems pretty sure the aliens will have alien cooties. And that just ruins the plot of my novel. (Not really, but hang in there with me, will you?)
I can envision an alien Ellis Island situation, with the arriving aliens brought into holding pens to fill out visa and immigration forms and answer questions. If you’ve ever entered the US accompanied by someone with a foreign passport, you’ll understand how it can go.
“Sir, please state your name, and home address.”
“Zryxigantsa. Home world D95724.”
“Right. I don’t find that world on my National Geographic map. Must be fake. We’ll call you Pedro. You have no visa, and have attempted to enter the country illegally. Therefore, you have no rights, and will be interned interminably in Guantanamo.”
(This photo is allegedly in the public domain, according to Wikimedia)
But the prison in Cuba will fill up quickly, so some will be put in those private, for profit, prisons down in Texas and other parts of the south. The ones where the human aliens are being warehoused so the private prisons can gouge the federal government for inflated prison prices. Then we’ll have a comingling problem of mixing human aliens with non-human aliens. Inevitably, some Congress critter from ‘Bama is sure to want an alien bathroom bill, to make sure those with or without human parts are not using the same place to…
It’s all in a day’s work for a speculative novelist, however. A word changed here, and a changed sentence there, and I’ll add that planetary protection officer to my book. Sure I will. And it will make the novel all that much better.
I just have to ask – who is going to say “no” to the Trumpster when he wants to grab one of the alien women by the crotch? Because, sure as donuts in the morning, the government is not going to grant out-of-this-world aliens any kind of rights under the Constitution. He’ll want to do the nasty with them. You just wait.
That job of interplanetary sheriff is going to take some big cajones.
(Is there an emoji for satire? Where’s my tongue in cheek typeface?)
- David W. Wooddell