Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Half-Life" by Niall O'Connor for Gods and Monsters of Tomorrow


Once upon a time, a young man asked his King for a spoonful of good earth on the first square of the King’s chess board, and two spoonfuls on the second, and double again on the third, and so on until the chessboard was completed. The King laughed at this foolishness, but eventually agreed. He ordered that it be so. After a day, his fearful overseer returned, and reported that it could not be done, and the King realised he had been fooled. He called the young man back into his presence, and apologised for his arrogance, while requesting that the young man stay in the palace, as his advisor. Their wisdom became famous, far and near, and it was with great sadness, after many years, his subjects learned that the King had passed away. In his place, his young son, was now to reign.

Some time later, the young King’s advisors were called together, so they could help decide on a great opportunity, that was being offered the Kingdom. They were to become the storehouse of the world’s nuclear waste, and would grow wealthy from the proceeds. The people would never be short of work, and never be hungry again.

The advisors told the young King that it was too dangerous, because this waste had a half life of 24,400 years or 12,000 human generations. As it decayed, uranium-235 would be generated. This had a half-life of 710,000 years. And so the young king became angry, because he thought he knew the rule of halves, and that all these advisors were trying to make him look stupid.

Finally, he dismissed them all, and had a great hole dug, where he put all the nuclear waste he could find. Then, he and his people waited for it to turn to gold. It never did, and all the people died, and the land also, in dying, was forever cursed.

Niall O'Connor
Wanna illustrate this one?


Jane O Sullivan said...

these are fantastic
go fighting words collective and thank you for working in with tinderbox
go slow
go manatee xx

slow said...

Go with us, Queen Jane O'Sullivan!

Yeah, aren't they GREAT!?