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Beyond Ptolemy IX lay a 'vast nothing'. At least that's what the text books of the last millennium would have you believe. But the persistent rumors of the last two centuries could not be denied. Energy beams had been detected coming from an unknown source. The emanations had meant nothing until the chance encounter between an astronomer and an ancient history professor who specialized in mid-20th century energy transmission called "television". It was found that the energy beams were actually ancient television programs essentially being rebroadcast back towards their source. The amazing thing is that we of today have evolved from those primitive peoples. One particular "program" labeled "I Love Lucy" presented all kinds of dissociative problems when viewed for prolonged periods in an attempt to garner any meaningful information. Several of the unfortunate evaluators ended up in a penal colony for the criminally insane. Their lawyers endeavored to explain that they were merely copying an ancient form of "humor" or "fun". However, those who viewed or were the targets of said "humor" did not find them amusing. Time would be better spent contemplating the the nuances of pi to the 27th power. And much more entertaining.

john cox:


Helluva a start! I've always wondered what would happen if perpetual tv waves crashed onto the shores of an innocent world.


Zanthar puzzled over the strange transmissions--so much so that he decided to return to earth--a place he had not seen in over 180 years--& set up post on the floor of the Potomac river to surveil whatever broadcasts he could pick up.

"OH--THE INANITY!" Zanthar exclaimed to himself. Cell phones... Ipods... GPS... 3DTV... the "Internets"... "Twitters"... the world had taken what little technology he left behind on his last visit & did nothing with it but drive themselves to distraction, deluding themselves that they were doing something of great value because they were doing it on something with a glowing blue screen & a keyless touchpad.

He reflected on the words of the last man he spoke with--a strange & homely yet intellectually nimble man--on his last voyage to earth:

“Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” – Henry David Thoreau

When he had visited before, Zanthar entrusted his technology to a man who spoke of individuals being free... yet they were so driven to distraction & temporarily sated that they did not realize that same technology was being used by leaps & bounds to enslave them.

"Why bother with revolution?" Zanthar thought to himself. "Would it not be better to remain slaves in perpetuity than waste the resources to become free, only to be returned to servitude by subversives who would rather be captive & sated rather than experience the discomfort of free thought & individual responsibility? The vast majority of mankind are indeed stupid animals."

john cox:


Sci-fi with doomed philosophy undertones. Wild.


John Cox is a painter, cartoonist, and illustrator for hire. For information about purchasing existing work or commissioning new work, contact him by e-mail at john555cox [at] hotmail.com.

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