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The Monster

Julian Mortimer Smith has published more than a dozen stories in some of the world's top speculative fiction magazines, including Asimov's, Terraform, and (on four previous occasions) Daily Science Fiction. He lives in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
Was the monster created or discovered? There's no easy answer to that. We dragged it screaming from The Stew, that unknowable portal that the eggheads at Oak Ridge cobbled together from quantum physics and sheer hubris.
For the first few years it spent every waking hour wailing from its thousand throats, but nowadays it just weeps quietly in the containment field, tears oozing from those hypnotic, light-sensitive fins. Some say it's lonely; others say it's homesick. The scientists say we shouldn't project human emotions onto it, that it's probably just purging its body of unfamiliar earthly toxins.
The media are obsessed with the monster. It's been on the front page of every newspaper, an unwilling guest on every talk show, a fashion icon, an ambiguous political talking point.
The right don't know what to think. On the one hand, the monster is clearly an abomination, a horrifying corruption of intelligent design, a punishment for playing God. On the other hand, what are we supposed to do? Kill it?
The left are just as confused. They campaign to have its sentience recognized, to give it human rights. But what are we supposed to do? Release it? Even if we had a way to render it harmless, the days of the rampage are still too fresh in our memories.
So we argue about it, and feed it, and watch it grow, and wait for the inevitable day when we can no longer keep it contained.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, October 27th, 2016


I wrote this story long before the 2016 election season got underway. When I first wrote it, it wasn't about anyone in particular. But sometimes reality warps to fit the fiction.

- Julian Mortimer Smith

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