Utopia Science Fiction Magazine
2 min readSep 18, 2022

Dear Interplanetary Society by John Grey

August 2019 | Utopia Science Fiction Magazine

Having surveyed the entire area,

we regret that even the most promising

and flattest of land

is barely arable

But, compared to some places

we’ve taken samples from, it’s Kansas

Yes, a river does run through it.

But forget about irrigation.

It’s merely a trickle.

Beyond this valley, on all sides

are rugged steep hills and towering mountains,

all rock, and no feasible way through

for land transport.

No trees of course.

Just this prickly brush at the lower reaches

that’s been gripping onto

the little rain, the modest minerals

at its roots, for Earth centuries.

There’s no game.

The only wildlife we’ve come across

is small, reptilian,

evolved less than a skink.

And insects of course.

They come in swarms at nightfall

have developed a taste for human skin.

It is a wilderness.

No other name can describe it.

But not the kind for pioneers or conquering.

How will you convince intelligent men and women

to abandon their current lives

for this barren place,

where the air is barely breathable

the weather hostile,

and the ground, a farmer’s nightmare?

It is my advice, though you do not wish to hear it,

that this scheme be abandoned, losses cut,

and you seek your fortune

on some more amenable world.

Or you could just call this planet

“Welcome Acres” and not Pythalian V.

It’s a tactic not unknown to you.

About the Author:
John Grey
is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter.