Learn more on my Disclosure page. It was also nominated for the Hugo award and was on the shortlist for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award macs is an unusual but deeply contemplative story. Usually I like to read and recommend science fiction short stories that have really cool gadgets or ideas, or are just plain fun to read. It consists entirely of dialogue between several people and an investigator. Though it is never explicitly mentioned, it is pretty obvious what the story is referring to — and whom is being talked about. Before you read it you may want a refresher on the Oklahoma City bombing.
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We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars? The signals come from machines. Meat made the machines. How can meat make a machine? You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage. You know, like the weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads, like the weddilei.
But I told you, we probed them. The brain does the thinking. The meat. Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you beginning to get the picture or do I have to start all over?
They are indeed made out of meat. So what does this meat have in mind? Then I imagine it wants to explore the Universe, contact other sentiences, swap ideas and information. The usual. Anyone out there. Anybody home. They use words, ideas, concepts? Except they do it with meat. Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat, it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other.
They can even sing by squirting air through their meat. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise? Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing.
Do we really want to make contact with meat? How many planets are we dealing with here? And being meat, they can only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you probed? Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?
Was in contact two galactic rotations ago, wants to be friendly again. Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the Universe would be if one were all alone You can find out more about Terry Bisson on his website. If you liked this story, please share it with others:.
macs by Terry Bisson
We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars? The signals come from machines.
Macs (short story)
Same thing I think today. I thought it was slightly weird even if it was legal. But I guess I agreed with the families that there had to be Closure. Look out that window there. Ever since it happened, this town has had a thing about tall buildings.
I wonder how many other non-US readers of the story reacted in the same way? Also, I found the use of the Oklahoma bombing in the story peculiarly offensive. Probably because, growing up in Belfast, I decided pretty early on that it was a bad idea for people to seek individual vengeance against the perpetrators of a particular crime, no matter how closely they might be personally affected by it. There is of course a difference between bombs in Belfast and the bomb in Oklahoma, and presumably also a difference in the way the average person reacts in Northern Ireland or in the US to an event like that.