I’ve got a ticket to Mars, which in reality is my name among thousands etched onto a microchip implanted on the NASA Mars 2020 Rover. In fiction, that’s enough for me to make my mark on the red planet. It’s a ticket to a busman’s holiday for a science fiction writer lighting joss sticks with a candle burning at both ends.
Whether you’re an atheist human or an agnostic dyslexic insomniac dog with God delusions, the further you dig into the past, the more confusing the present seems…
Laika, first dog in space
Episode IV, A New Boat
Two little boys had two little toys. Each had a planet. The first boy was called God, and he made the Earth. His brother was known as ‘Dog,’ and Dog made Mars.
On the first day, Dog made dinosaurs for his planet, and Dog was pleased. It was great. He especially liked the herds of lumbering Brachiosaurus, and he made marijuana plants for them to graze on. He was proud of his calculations for the packs of Velociraptors, and he sat back to admire his work, itself eventually programmed to work out why it was there.
And the evening and the morning were the fourth day, when God let there be light on Earth. He looked at what his brother had created with Mars, and God was jealous.
While Dog slept one night, God set fire to his home. When Dog woke, he had no idea who’d wreaked destruction on his creation. He gathered up some dinosaurs he’d made, and ordered two of each onto a spacecraft. It was called Ark B, and it set them on a course to the promised land of God’s Earth, where they could seek sanctuary with Dog’s brother, whom he trusted.
But God saw the arrival of the heavenly Martian immigrants as a threat to his undeveloped creation, and he threw an asteroid at Earth in his fury, as the ark’s crew dispersed upon his world.
Eventually Dog’s dinosaurs died, and God grew bored, but his smaller creatures began to evolve on Earth. He’d always envied his brother’s more elaborate planetary inhabitants, but lacked his creative flair, and Dog had run into the cosmic woods.
God replaced Dog’s dinosaurs with the best he could do in his tiny mind. He created creatures in his own image. And God called them human.
© Steve Laker, 2019
If a future Martian should ever ask, “Who wrote this?” perhaps they’ll check the names on the chip they’ll find in an ancient space rover. If they’re human, I’d say dig down a bit in your past, and you might find dinosaur fossils on Mars, the ones who didn’t get onto Dog’s space ark, who didn’t make it to Earth. Dogs are here on Earth though, and they’re man’s best friends. In fact, the first astronaut from this planet was a dog who’s a homophone of me.