Science Fiction


One day aliens arrive and begin to hover above the ocean.

There is a palpable terror in the air and much end-of-the-world hullabaloo when all of a sudden the president announces that they’ve successfully communicated with this other species.

He says, in an optimistic, if still shaken-up, tone, that the aliens want nothing from us.

They come from a far away planet that was once a lot like Earth, or the nicer parts were anyway.

They came across Earth and liked the look and needed a place.

The president reports that the aliens are friendly and don’t seem to want much. They live off the sun’s rays and trace amounts of iron, which they can get from deep in the ocean without disturbing anything, if that’s all right with us.

The president reports that a special session of United Nations will convene to discuss rent.


Meanwhile, the aliens build a big floating structure that the humans mildly disapprove of.

Still, it isn’t in the way.

The aliens are careful about where they take their iron, so as not to disturb any endangered species, although some fishermen have complained about their compasses malfunctioning near the blocks of extraterrestrial structures floating in the sky.

As it turns out, while the aliens digest trace amounts of iron, their stomachs take on a magnetic charge. At first this is a great novelty to biologists and physicists and the fishermen are allotted GPS navigation systems and an apology. But then the meteors begin falling.


Scientists at NASA report that meteors and asteroids have been swerving into Earth, defying all calculations made before the arrival of you-know-who. A mild this-is-the-end-of-the-world hullabaloo has lingered since the arrival, but this news causes another flare up.

The president angrily confronts the aliens and asks if they know anything about this, and demands to know if they’re responsible.

The aliens note with pride that they are causing the extra meteors. As it turns out, their digestion is magnetized precisely in order to attract meteors and asteroids and even the odd comet, which is a veritable feast of exotic irons and cause for a worldwide celebration, which the humans are welcome to take part in, provided they’re alive after the comet hits.

The United Nations Security Council opens Australia to be mined by the aliens, provided the aliens don’t attract a comet to Earth, and not too many asteroids on weeknights.

Australia was selected because they are such a good-natured people, and Australia does have an awful lot of iron, when you get down to it. The Australians roguishly and good-naturedly flood into Ecuador, the Philippines, California, and Java, bringing their advanced health care system to all but California.

The CIA also secretly grants the aliens iron-rich desert lands in the western United States in exchange for the aliens directing more asteroids into select countries in the Middle East. Much of the land given to the aliens had belonged to Native Americans, who react without surprise when they are displaced.


In the midst of a drought, the president wearily asks the aliens if they know anything about all this heat and the aliens point out that they need more iron, because they have families after all, so they’ve been pulling down some meteors, and their kind of a steamy sort of species.

Vegetation is burning off and famine grows. People who formerly lived in deserts stream into Los Angeles in what appears to be a second Dust Bowl.

And the aliens are perfectly happy and seem to roll their eyes—maybe even literally—at most human requests, which lately seem to involve a lot of pleading for the aliens to go.

Finally one day, grown frustrated by chants for them to go, the aliens snap and point out that there are other planets out there, nobody said you had to stay here. And the end of the world hullabaloo, needless to say, is simmering pretty loudly.

NASA reports that the worldwide change in the tides is caused by the moon growing closer to Earth, and takes the opportunity to explain how things are going to get much worse until the moon crashes back into the Earth and then things are going to get much anything, because that’ll be the end.

Now the president and all the nations are trying to get the aliens to go, this is a matter of survival. And the aliens point out that they’ve got just as much right to be here as anyone else.

So the president solemnly swears to the aliens that they’ve been warned. And the aliens take umbrage at his tone.


The military strikes one of the large aliens in the North Atlantic, bombing him into a pile of heavy metallic sludge that sinks the bottom of the ocean, raising the coastline high enough to flood Manhattan.

And the aliens are all appalled. And they think the cheering of the people is just awful.

The cheering subsides and is replaced with a confused and frightened hush when the president, his cabinet and all of the heads of the Air Force, Army and Navy are carted off by slick, official-looking other aliens, who point out that you can’t just bomb anyone you please, that’s pretty cold don’t you think and quite illegal.


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