Nature Future Conditional

The story behind the story: Seven point two

This week Futures finds Marissa Lingen exploring s novel angle on extraterrestrial contact in her story Seven point two. Regular readers will know Marissa’s work (for the uninitiated, a list of her other Futures stories is at the foot of this post). If you’d like to explore her universe further, you should head to her website or follow her on Twitter. Here, Marissa reveals the inspiration behind her latest tale — as ever, it pays to read the story first.

Writing Seven point two

What would you tell an alien civilization, if you knew that you were communicating at light speed and wouldn’t have a chance to hear their response?

Hello, we’re here, you’re not alone, we’re intelligent too — at least sort of intelligent. Here’s some stuff we’ve figured out. Here’s who we are.

Well … who exactly is who we are?

Astronomers have been talking about this for generations. We’ve tried various techniques and signals, images, codes, numbers. I know a lot of nerds of various kinds, though, and most of them have a sort of offbeat sense of humour.

So why wouldn’t their alien counterparts?

The fundamental constants of the Universe are pretty serious business, and like everything else that’s pretty serious business, sometimes you have to take them with a little bit of a light touch.

Other Futures stories by Marissa Lingen

Planet of the five ringsRunning safety tips for humansThe most important thingThe many media hypothesisBoundary watersMaxwell’s Demon went down to GeorgiaThe stuff we don’t doUnsolved logistical problems in time travel: spring semesterEntanglementQuality controlSearch stringsAlloy


  1. Kelvin Nguyen

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    Kelvin Nguyen said:

    Why not send them the number 42 instead of 12.9? 😛 😉