by Mark Dalligan
I live in the far future, aeons removed from you. It is difficult to contradict the laws of time and sometimes I feel afraid.
From my house, even on a truly dark night, it's not possible to see the Earth or your solar system with the naked eye. I’m on good terms with the astronomy professor however, so when its impossible to sleep I drive up to the observatory. I click in the coordinates and stare once again at the dwarf sun and its attendant court of planets. Terra sits there in regal green and blue, Inviting but deadly.
With you now, time is turning quickly. Darwin is writing his Origin of the Species while less academic men are plotting the expansion of railroads across Europe. Bismarck sits, thinking how the steel tracks will assist his invasion of France, in a corner of India a giant diamond that will be gifted to Queen Victoria is being discovered.
How can I get my message to you strongly enough, and, if I could, would it be effective? The original seeds of destruction were in the massive expansion of industrialisation and personal wealth that clotted in Europe and the USA. Little passed down to the poorer nations so the true horror of what awaits is not appreciated. Often I will open an ancient encyclopaedia that came with my great, great grandparents in the first planting of humans in the depths of the cosmos. Made of paper, it is full of amusing speculation, called fact, on nature and history of things. Global warming, the spread of the deserts, the final conflagration, are all things to come and so not mentioned.
Against the rules I use our equipment to send warnings years before they are naturally due. I send the tornadoes that rip unexpectedly through 21st century cities, weeks of pounding rain and floods, warm winters. I present a portion of Earth’s future to your view while there is still an opportunity for you to react. Why do I bother when I realise my very existence means I have already failed? Common humanity I suppose.
Mark Dalligan lives in the tiny village of Steeple in Essex, England. Determined to earn his living writing, he majored in American Literature at Sussex University in the mid-late 70s. Something went wrong and one morning a city banker stared back at him from the shaving mirror. Just a few months ago he began letting the writer out again on parole.