Turning inner space into outer space

October 26, 2020

Planet of the old folks

In this story, Captain Gallivant travels to a planet where the aliens are humanoid and have a society similar to ours on Earth — but everyone is old. Some of them are hundreds of years old.

Gallivant makes friends with one of the inhabitants, and learns about how this situation came to be.

He is told that at one time they had babies, children and young people, but realized that 90 per cent of their problems were caused by them. Plus, 90 per cent of contributions to society were being made by people over 50.

Scientific advances meant everyone could become immortal, so there was no longer any need for replenishing the population. Medicine had advanced to the point where people could stay in good health for as long as they lived, so growing old was nothing to fear.

With the decision to stop having babies, the population gradually started aging to the point where there was no longer anyone who even appeared to be young. In fact, people stopped having birthdays because after untold years of living, counting the years became meaningless.

Gallivant is outraged, but there is nothing he can do. They can never go back to the way things were, even if he were able to convince them to do so.

He instead goes back to Earth and brings back a dozen babies from an orphanage, believing that if they saw children again it would remind them of how precious they are. And they might be open to boosting their population with young blood from other planets.

The inhabitants are taken with the babies, and insist they be allowed to adopt them. But they don't want to have to care for them. Instead, they hold Gallivant captive and force him to raise the children over the next 20 years.

On the youngest child's 20th birthday, Gallivant blasts off — never to return.