Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

November 2021: Overheard in Outer Space

Starlog 20983.XXI.B.332.41.C Over 4,500 alien spacecraft registered around Saturn, chatter picked up, deciphering...

So, son, you will now understand why I brought you here on Cosmic Tours for your tenth birthday. Now what you are about to see and hear will make you laugh but it isn’t funny, not at all, especially if this species breaks out of here and infects the Universe. This is not a comedy show, it is a warning.

What do you mean, Daddy?

Well look here, at this screen. It’s that tiny speck over there, the third planet from this Sun, T2331.87243.1009.256, the Planet is called Earth in their most spoken language, translated into a similar concept in the others. Earth means “mud”.

Son chuckles. So what’s so special about it, Daddy? Their Sun is small, isn’t it? What’s all that stuff around their planet?

It’s called space junk. The place is polluted from the bottom of the oceans to the rivers to the land itself and way up into space

Son bursts out laughing. Why?

Well they have even been pouring poisonous chemicals into the sea, and have dropped biological weapons there, out of sight, out of mind. They have buried viruses in the Polar Ice, which is now melting. They throw plastic into rivers and drains and now there is nearly as much plastic as fish.

Son stops laughing. So what about their balance with their biosphere?

Yes, they call it nature. Well they don’t have one. Their approach is to consume the resources without replacing them, invade the forests and cut them down without replanting, slaughter the animals, destroy the vegetation and they’re doing this on a massive scale, so the planet and its resources are not sustainable. In many countries over a quarter of the species are now in danger of extinction and they are destroying species which could be useful o them before they have discovered them and their qualities.

Yes Daddy but if they don’t know any better why don’t we teach them?

Oh they know very well what they are doing. They have scientists, good scientists, and a lot of people are egaged in protecting the environment, the animals and so on but the planet is dominated by powerful economic groups, called Lobbies. One journalist down there calls them the BARFFED (Banking, Arms, Finance, Food, Energy, Drugs Lobbies). These filter the information available by controlling their media.

How do they do that?

Well the media is financed through something they call advertising, it’s paid publicity for individuals and companies, they pay the media outlets to publicise them or their products, and they do these through agencies. These agencies are the ones which decide whether a media outlet thrives or fails and they do this through controlling access to the money from advertising according to the content of the outlet. If they disagree with it, they close the tap.

Microphone crackles. Spacecraft 2B.13.4572.C12 please inform your son about the socio-economic vectors which govern this Humans species.I am sharing your mike with the educational units on band D34.619.V282.

OK Control. Yes, son. Hello everybody. So let’s start at the beginning. For a start, not every child has equal rights (gasps heard in every spacecraft). So the way it works is like this. The administration of the planet is based on invisible lines called “countries”. These were drawn up in many cases by powers from the continent they call “Europe” which invaded other territories around the planet setting up governments friendly to their aims (syphoning off their resources). Those who opposed, often defenceless or armed with shields and spears, were massacred with machine guns. This violence escalated, to the point where one nation, a powerful one, used two atomic explosive devices on cities full of civilians, including babies and the pets of families, and the same one strafed screaming children with napalm, burning their skin off and calling them “legitimate targets”.

Gasps of generalised horror.

So the people living in these “countries” have different rights. If you are born on one side of the line, called a “border” or “frontier” you have certain rights. If you are born one centimetre the other side of the line, you can be classed as a pariah. 

Guffaws of laughter.

And the identity of a “country” is formed by something called a “flag”. It is a piece of material with symbols, often crosses or stars and lines and when they raise it everyone stands still and they sing this stupid song called a “national anthem”, each one with different music and some of them with bellicose lyrics, referring to murdering other people being glorious, with their hands on their hearts, a stupid expression of their faces, looking up at the freakin´sky, sorry. I...I can’t....BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! (he collapses laughing helplessly)

The entire fleet explodes into raucous laughter.

Question: Sorry to interrupt, Mr. Speaker. But then, murdering another person is illegal! 

No problem, you can all ask questions when you want. Murder is illegal. Yes. Unless it is done by a country with permission from the government, they call this a “war” then they can murder as many people as they want, including children, and then it is not illegal.

Question: So might I say that for them the more people you murder, the more legal it is?

Yes, something like that. So on to education... depending upon which “country” they were born in, and sometimes depending on their gender, they receive various levels of education and have access to this depending on place of birth and gender.

Question: So that means that some of them finish their education phase better prepared than others, depending on the accident of birth and their gender?

Yes, correct.

Unrest sensed in all spacecraft.

Now higher education after the second phase is as a rule paid for in most countries, meaning if you can afford it, your child has a third phase education, which thei call University.

Question: But how can it be called University if it is not universal?

One of the many enigmas about this planet, young citizen. And it can cost a lot of money, sometimes as much as a house. And how does this work? Housing is not universally available and free. It used to be in some social systems, in which education, housing, public utilities, transportation, leisure time activities, medical care including dental care was free, even food distribution but this system was destroyed by the so-called BARFFED which today continues to spend a lot of energy making sure that model is not adopted again, it lost them a lot of money, you see.

Depending on the location, a house costs money. In the cities, a lot of money, less in the countryside but then they have a problem, how to get to work because although they have the technological means to work remotely, many refuse to adopt it.

General guffaws of laughter,

So people have to apply to a bank to get a loan, which they call a mortgage. The banks often lend only 70 or 80 per cent of the loan, meaning that the buyer has to find tens of thousands of what they call dollars to make an initial payment.

Question: How can they do that if they are starting their working life?

Another enigma, young citizen. And another is healthcare. The Public healthcare systems are today under attack from private insurance companies which want people to pay for their healthcare, which....

Interruption by a deafening roar of sustained laughter

....which means that if you have money, you survive, if you don’t, then you die. Let us take their latest vaccination program against a pandemic virus called Covid-19 as an example, in fact let us see their entire approach. Now sit tightly you are NOT going to believe this.

First there is an alert about an unidentified virus. They think it came from a laboratory in a country they call China, which was investigating coronaviruses from bats.

Question: But the coronavirus is easy to cure!

Yes but they haven’t got there yet, they still don’t understand the transmission mechanism and they have no idea about a holistic biological approach as regards infections/reactions, no idea at all, they’re three centuries of their time away from that. Anyway so they develop several vaccines which give them some protection but only some countries have high vaccination rates, for instance they have one with 90 per cent, called Portugal, others richer than Portugal but where people refuse to get vaccinated...

General laughter

...and others with vaccination rates lower than 20 per cent, so they are going round and round in circles. New variants are appearing all the time and there are cases of people being fully vaccinated and catching the same disease, twice (probably the vaccination saved their lives).

Raucous and sustained laughter, banging on consoles heard.

Question: So again, whether or not they get ill or protected depends on which side of an invisible line they are drawn on and which stupid song they sing?

Mayhem in space as everyone bursts out laughing.

Guys, who needs to pay to go to a comedy show when we have Planet Earth 2021 to tune in to?

Control: Time up! Time to return to base, there’s another fleet waiting to see this freak show.

Lively chatter accompanied by sustained laughter as the space travellers return to base

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey can be contacted at

[email protected]