Today, we’re going to be doing something a bit different. We’re going to be taking a look at a short story that was recently published on Future Tense Fiction – a series of short stories from Future Tense and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination about how technology and science will change our lives – which publishes a story each month. The theme for January through March 2020 is politics.
image via center for science and the imagination
The short story, “It Came From Cruden Farm,” was published on Slate on February 29 and was written by Max Barry. The story starts off with what seems to be the newly inaugurated president in 2021. This can be inferred by the fact that the characters in the story mention Bush, Obama, and then Trump, all having their duties and chances in office, but using the past tense when talking about them. This is just a guess though, as neither the president’s name nor the year is given anywhere in the story. The president is simply referred to as ‘Mr. President.’
The story is about an alien that had come to Earth via a spacecraft, residing at Area 51 in the United States. According to the Air Force chief of staff, the alien has been there for the past twelve years, and it is revealed that Bush, Obama, and even Trump have met and talked with it.
The short story already raises our curiosity, and I’m sure, like me, you’re wondering, “Will the president see and speak to this alien like his three predecessors did?.” Unfortunately, you don’t get an immediate and direct answer, just simply the information that the president wants to see it, despite the Air Force chief of staff’s hesitation. The author is building up the story very well, forcing the reader to ask questions that can only be answered by reading on.
image via ufos disclosure
Eventually, the president does meet and speak with the alien. To remove the risk of spoilers, I’ll just stay that it’s not an optimal experience. At all. The First Lady then decides to tell her husband that sometimes its necessary to let things go, forget them, and look toward the future. Something about that statement doesn’t sit well with me.
This is where the story ends, the president and the First Lady leave Area 51, assuming that the alien will be forgotten about and kept a secret for an undefined amount of time. Something to be said about burying the truth? Or maybe just withholding it? It would certainly speak to our current political landscape.
In any case, if you’re interested in reading the short story in it’s entirety, you can read the full transcript over on Slate. Enjoy!
featured image via lisa larson-walker (illustration), danique dohmen (photo)
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