I'm looking for a short (which I'm fairly sure I read online rather than on paper) which has as its premise that an alien civilization observing humanity thought Star Trek was real rather than fictional, and based on humanity's behaviour and what they saw as hypocrisy (e.g. "you pay no regard to your own Prime Directive"), decide to

destroy the Earth with a dinosaur-plus-plus-sized asteroid.

The narrator is an astronaut in a solo vessel who tells how

he is now the last human alive and has been profusely apologized to by said aliens, which isn't much consolation.

I might have elaborated some details from imagination / memory, but the core plot is right I'm sure.

Would be grateful for any thoughts. For context, I was reminded of this by this post on reddit, on reading which I thought "well I've definitely read something a bit like that", then couldn't remember what...

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    The concept (aliens mistaking scifi fiction for reality) is the same as in Galaxy Quest. You might try searching for stories that inspired that movie. – Origami Robot Oct 19 '11 at 19:09
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    Whatever it is, I wanna read it ;) – OghmaOsiris Oct 19 '11 at 19:20
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    GalaxyQuest is to Star Trek as Spaceballs is to Star Wars! Awesome parody! I remember watching the kid with the 3d wireframe model of the Enterprise analog in that movie, and remembering seeing someone with a hopped up Apple IIe demoing that at my moms night school bring your kids night. I laughed so hard at that movie! – geoffc Oct 19 '11 at 19:28
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    The closest I've found to a inspiration was from Star Trek: The New Voyages, "Visit to a Weird Planet Revisited" by Ruth Berman. Here's an online copy: members.optusnet.com.au/virgothomas/space/trek/weirdplanet.html – K-H-W Nov 27 '11 at 20:33
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    Semi-related, but I read an SF story where prudish Aliens discover our Voyager probe plaque with the naked humans on it and are coming to destroy the perverted race that would spread that kind of filth! – Oldcat Jul 1 '14 at 21:48

The story is "Trek's End" by John Walker; it's (currently) available to read on his website. It was a short story and piece of original fiction, but not, as some might think, fan fiction, because doesn't take place in Star Trek. It was also a purely online story, from what I recall, and part of the author's personal site, which didn't have to do with writing. The aliens invade, not just because the show shows us as hypocrites, but because it shows humanity as impossibly powerful thanks to fictional technology. The aliens use only hard science, and destroy Earth with a relativistic impactor, stranding the astronaut on one of three or six satellites which handle all of Earth's communications. I believe that aspect had a technical footnote.

I also remember a distinct scene where the astronaut pushes off from a wall using only his fingertips. It was memorable because a foot note is offered describing the physics, and that any more force could cause injury when stopping oneself against an apposing wall. Another aspect is, the collection of aliens, who made their own Federation, to oppose humanity, smelled distinctly upon entering the satellite to speak to the survivor. It all ends with the reveal that the aliens have no understanding of fiction.

The final 'reveal' is:

"But there is no Federation, no warp, no cloaking, no subspace. That's nothing but science fiction." The aliens looked at one other and exchanged some words in a language none of us understood. Then the grey turned back to me and spoke. "We know science. What is fiction?"


I believe you're thinking of The Killing Star by Charles R. Pellegrino and George Zebrowski. Another answer to the Fermi Paradox. (shudder)

  • A lot in common but I think @Josh has it – AakashM Sep 4 '12 at 12:22

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