he one good thing about sites like Project Gutenberg – when for reasons too strange and distracting, if you find yourself tugging your Brompton folding bike by bus to a train station without the least expectation, without a book or a laptop, you can always hop into the site five minutes before go time and print off something really quick. And that’s how I ended up with The Carnivore, a very short tale out of Galaxy Science Fiction from 1953.
In it, Earth is wiped out (pretty much as it usually is, not by meteors or sun-explosions but tin-plated ass-clowns who launch their nukes and die in the fallout). So everyone died, save for a couple of people who managed to find hiding places to slowly starve until, a bit late, the alien confederation arrives.
And they are so sorry, these gentle beings from a thousand worlds. Sorry they are late, sorry for what happened, sorry sorry sorry. The survivor in question, a woman who watched her colleague die before her eyes, is trying not to be bitter as she lies in her recovery bed, consoled. The aliens confirm that, yes, carnivore races are usually too hot-headed to survive, that all these aliens can do is show up and try to aid the survivors, to give them a life of comfort and ease after the horror they’ve been through.
But there is a nice twist at the end of this once, an interesting gotcha that might give you a blink when you get to the final page. And what is it? You’ll have to check HERE (for the full story) and see what happens.
So a good read that made the train come all the faster.