Solid Answer to the Question: “Y No Aliens?”

Solid Answer to the Question: "Y No Aliens?"

If you love science fiction, you’ve asked yourself: “Y No Aliens?” I mean, really … where are they? We’re all a little curious. Wouldn’t it be cool to play ‘Close Encounters’ the home game? Hasn’t happened yet, but on the flip side, at least we haven’t been colonized and used for slave labor in the Shilean salt mines. So we have that going for us, which is nice. Nonetheless, from a scientific standpoint, we’re left with the real question.

I don’t have the time or inclination to nerd out about this, but someone on Reddit does. There are rational, logic-based reasons for a lack of appearance by our universal brethren. Here, Astrokiwi provides us with a solid Answer to the Question: “Y No Aliens?”

This is a large part of the Fermi Paradox. The galaxy is only about 100,000 light years across, so even at 1% of the speed of light, it takes 10 million years to cross the galaxy. We evolved from small mammals to tool-using humans with space rockets over less than 100 million years. The invention of writing to the Apollo Program is maybe 10,000 years or less. All of these time-scales are much shorter than the age of the Earth, let alone the universe. This means that if life intelligent evolved anywhere else within the galaxy, it’s unlikely that it appeared at the same time as us – it’s almost certain that any intelligent life would be millions of years more advanced or millions of years less advanced.

This tells us that galaxy-colonising advanced life must be rare, as if there is intelligent life that has the capability and intent to colonise the galaxy, anywhere within the galaxy, anywhere in the past X million or billion years, they should have reached Earth a very long time ago.

Of course, there are multiple reasons why galaxy-colonising advanced life might be rare.

  • they lack the intent, i.e. they could colonise the galaxy, but they choose not to leave their home planet, or they do explore the galaxy but leave us alone (basically the Zoo hypothesis)
  • they lack the ability, i.e. even with millions of years of advancement it’s not practical to leave a solar system in mass migrations, or a more advanced society generally becomes more at risk of destroying itself before it reaches that stage (“the great filter”)
  • intelligent life is rare. Life has thrived on Earth for billions of years before one species developed spaceflight. Evolution doesn’t inevitably lead towards developing life that can invent advanced technology. There may be many planets out there full of animals and plants, or even just bacteria, but it’s possible that humanity is a bit of a freak accident.
  • life is rare in general. We don’t really know how common life is. We know the ingredients seem to be fairly abundant, but how often do these combine to make something we would reasonably call “life”?
  • the conditions for life are rare. However, as we discover more and more exoplanets, it looks like there are quite a few planets that seem like they would be hospitable to life, so this is less of a factor than we used to think.

So this isn’t really a “paradox” in the common sense, because there are many ways to resolve it. But each of the resolutions involves stuff we just don’t know – we don’t know how frequently life evolves in the right conditions, we don’t know how frequently life evolves to form intelligent space-faring species, and we don’t know how often a space-faring space faring species would have the intent and capability to explore the galaxy. Any of these are plausible, and it could easily be a combination of everything.

So there you have it. A relatively simple, yet solid answer to the question: “Y No Aliens?” I’m a little wiser, but disappointed, that I won’t be able to trade my parents in for a star cruiser this year. In the meantime … keep watching the skies!

Also: I got turned onto a new scifi comedy podcast this week: Dark Air with Terry Carnation is a satire that answers “what if Fresh Air met Art Bell?” Rainn “Dwight Schrute from The Office (US)” Wilson stars as Terry Carnation and the callers (People like Nathan Fillion, Sam Neill, and Jason Reitman play cameos) are as weird as the premise.  It’s the same type of humor I used in ‘Planet Ugh,’ so if you’re a sci-fi fan, this is a must-listen. Check out Dark Air and start laughing now!

New T-Shirt Design

Inspiration comes from the strangest places. Two weeks ago, a news article about unruly air passengers led to an idea that I expressed on Reddit: “BRB, making a ‘If you act up on this plane I will help the flight attendants kick your butt’ shirt.” Some Redditors expressed interest, leading to a new t-shirt design you can see here.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. We have a reasonable expectation that people will behave themselves, especially after the horror show of 2020. Sadly, that isn’t happening. COVID ripped the Band-aids off of civilization, revealing the suppurating social wounds we’ve been trying to ignore. Now, like battlefield surgeons, we’re attempting to stabilize our patients while holding onto what little patience we have left. It’s times like these that create something called ‘gallows humor.’ This new t-shirt design is my small contribution.

Do I think this is the coolest idea in the world? No. It’s important to capture those lightning bug ideas when they pass.

That’s ultimately the purpose behind the website, when I’m not writing scifi novels. One of these days, this will all be behind us and we’ll laugh. It may be one of those laughs that builds into a maniacal scream, but you take the fun where you find it.

Anyway, if you want this t-shirt, you can pick it up on Custom Ink. I don’t get a dime if you buy one of these, it’s another freebie from the world of Inkican.

Now Available: Paparazzi Therapist – Scifi Short Story

Now Available: Paparazzi Therapist - Scifi Short Story

Looking for something fun to balance out the news cycle noise? I’ve got the solution right here. I’m thrilled to announce publication of Paparazzi Therapist, a scifi short story for your May reading list. Woo!

This short-but-sweet tale is about clones, celebrities we love to hate, and the fame/entertainment complex. If you think Hollywood is bad now, imagine what they could do with access to clone and CRISPR technology! Here’s the premise:

Ever heard Hollywood say “if one pop star falls, another takes its place?” Well now they can do it for real, and it means the current teen idol better play nice.

I started writing after reading that two gene-edited babies announced in November really exist—and the scientist who created them did so for his own “fame and fortune,” according to Chinese state media. How long until Hollywood starts producing their fresh-faced pop stars, assembly-line style?

If this sounds like fun, click one of the buttons to get Paparazzi Therapist at your favorite bookstore:

Free Sci-Fi EBook - The Battle of Victoria Crater Now Available: Paparazzi Therapist - Scifi Short Story Now Available: Paparazzi Therapist - Scifi Short Story Now Available: Paparazzi Therapist - Scifi Short Story Thalia Bol.de Angus & Robertson

Thanks in advance for your support. Paparazzi Therapist is just another scifi short story I’ve written. I’m getting back to writing because I’ve got many more stories to tell, but you can read my other short stories published here!

Published: New Scifi Short Story – Call of the Void

Proud to say that I’ve published a new scifi short story, ‘Call of the Void’ to my book platforms on Amazon, B&N, and Apple books. What is ‘Call of the Void’ about? Read the description below the cover:

Published: New Scifi Short Story - Call of the Void

“I picked up his trail at the edge of a crater.

Over my shoulder, three moons dangled in the reddish-purple sky. Faint starlight outlined the junky little craft I use for rescue trips. My spacecraft has no frills, no creature comforts: just two seats and basic life support. With luck, that’s all I’ll need to save this kid’s life.

The control surfaces on this spacesuit sucked. I could feel worn plastic and clunky attenuators when I put it on. The third-class air filtration smelled like farts and dirty sweat socks. If I had time, I’d trade with the locals to buy better gear, but I don’t. We’re on the clock. The kid’s been here for weeks. If I don’t get him out in the next few hours, he’s not coming back at all.”

Ryan is a kid with a past. In order to find his future, he has to help someone else find theirs. What will he find out there on an uncharted moon: ruin, remorse, or … redemption? He better find out fast, because time is running out.

There’s more to this story, too. I started working on a version of this short story a few years ago and I kept coming back to it because I wanted to make sure I was telling the right story in the right way. Ryan, the protagonist, has a lot of guilt over his attempted suicide. How does he get past that? The answer for him is easy, but also hard. Ryan helps other lost kids, but he has to go out there to get them. That search, feeling the call of the void and choosing to come home, brings Ryan closer to finding himself.

So this short story is both a lot of fun, and very persona. I think you’ll enjoy it and I can’t wait to see what you think of it! Click the links below to pick up Call of the Void from your favorite bookstore.

Believing In Yourself: Call of the Void - Free Scifi eBook Apple  Barnes & Noble  Kobo  Thalia  Bol.de  Angus & Robertson

Or, if you’re looking for a free way to get it, click here.

On to the next project – more releases coming soon!

My SF Novel – Project Arecibo – In Progress

My SF Novel - Project Arecibo - In ProgressI’m happy to say the following: My SF novel – Project Arecibo – Now in progress. As most authors will tell you, you’re usually working on one novel, editing another, and promoting a third.

Where did I come up with the idea? The genesis of the story came from a random #MSWL tweet. An agent expressed interest in a story about the now-collapsed radio telescope:

The question was, why would teen explorers be looking at the bottom of a telescope? What would they find there? Answering those questions led to more questions. I took a bit of time to write out a synopsis as part of a mind-clearing end-of-the-year exercise. So while we wait to see what happens with Mesh, we’re hitting the gas on the next chunk of work.

Arecibo celebrates many different aspects of geek and nerd culture. One piece, for example, is about celebrating women technology pioneers like Grace Hopper. Another part is about SETI and outer space. When I’m done, the novel will be about telling a 21st Century ‘buried treasure’ story with its roots in outer space. Don’t worry if it that doesn’t make sense now, it will later on.

 

Today’s Word Count: 1100

Short Story Board Updated – Four Scifi Shorts Submitted

If you check out the short story production board, you’ll notice it’s been updated with four scifi shorts submitted for publication today. Deathclock Machine, The Conquered, the Necktie Party, and Last Message from Titan Six are all on their way to new editors. I’ll keep you posted on what happens next.

Grinding submissions is part of the life, so I save it for chilly, wet Wednesday mornings. It’s the kind of work do when it’s cold and dark outside, with a cat and a hot cup of java nearby. Hope your week is comfortable and fulfilling, too.

Grinding Short Stories

If you visit the Story Story Production Board, you’ll see a number of new submissions going out – that’s a sign I’m keeping busy by re-writing and re-subbing short stories that didn’t get published elsewhere. If I want to get into the SFWA, I need one (but preferably three) stories to be purchased for my membership to be considered. So, that’s me trying. Hope your weekend is busy, too!

New Draft of Mesh Done

Just a quick note – I’ve been re-drafting Mesh for a couple of weeks now. Pleased to say it’s about 90% done and out to Beta readers to catch their feedback while I finish it out. I’ve already had one random lit agent express interest, so my hope is to have a final draft in her hands in a week or so.

Thanks for being a part of this journey. Write on!