I’m looking for a very short story about a disastrous first contact between humans and aliens, involving a sort of memetic cross-infection. The aliens had never come up with the concept of ‘suicide’ and had no mental defense against it. Possibly in retaliation, possibly inadvertently, they exposed us to the concept of (something unspeakable).

The story is mainly a dialogue between two -scientists? bureaucrats? It’s implied that the world outside their room is going up in flames because of humanity’s susceptibility to the (the eldrich concept, which must go unspoken). I have the impression that this predated the widespread notion of ‘memes’, but I could be wrong.

Edited to add: the whole thing was probably three or four pages long, I think from a book anthology, and I read it within the last ten years.

  • Hi, welcome to the site. In roughly which year did you read this, and when do you think it might've been published? Also, did you read it in an anthology, a magazine, or online? Dec 11, 2022 at 14:12
  • You could improve this question by going through the checklists here and editing in any relevant info you can think to add.
    – Valorum
    Dec 11, 2022 at 14:17


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