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500 Years After an Alien Invasion

Imagine a post-apocalyptic world in 2513. Unknown to us here and now, aliens first visited a remote part of the planet in 1992. The aliens were just exploring and didn't really have any nefarious plans, in fact they were on their way to go trade with some other aliens and kind of ended up here by accident. They poked around a bit in the small corner of the globe they landed on, took some samples, did a little surveying, said “hi” to the rather surprised locals and then traded some of their stuff for some of the locals' stuff.


Earth Apple

If the world were reduced to the size of an apple, the crust of the earth—the solid ground and seemingly immutable mountains that we take for granted—would be thinner than the apple's skin. Below that, a seething sphere of liquid rock diabolically roiling at a searing 1,000 °C (give or take 300 °C.) In reality our "solid ground" is the pudding skin on fiery death. When it skids a tiny bit or slight wisps of nearly nothing breathe through, these are the disasters that level cities and the magically minded point to as the power of omnipotent gods.


Startling Stories 1952



Illustration by Peter Poulton for "Proposal" by L. Sprague de Camp, Startling Stories, Novermber 1952.


Some Thoughts on the Unlikelihood of Conspiratorial Alien Visitors

The Basics

Let me start by glossing over some of the classic arguments against extraterrestrial visitors:


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