The Fermi Paradox (Tomorrow News Network: A to Z)

Hello, friends!  For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I’m telling you more about the universe I’ve created for my upcoming Sci-Fi adventure series, Tomorrow News Network.  In today’s post, F is for:


Okay, bear with me.  This post is going to get weird.  Some of what I’m going to tell you is true.  The rest is totally made up Sci-Fi nonsense.


Historians disagree about the exact date, but sometime around 1950, nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi was having lunch with a few physicist colleagues.  The topic of conversation: extraterrestrial life.  It was during this conversation that Fermi famously quipped: “But where is everybody?”

Dr. Fermi then proceeded to lay out all the reasons why advanced alien civilizations should exist out there among the stars, and also all the reasons why we should have detected their presence by now.  And yet, despite our best efforts, we’ve found nothing.  So where is everybody?

This question is now known as the Fermi Paradox.  If you’re a scientist involved in SETI research, you will have to grapple with this issue at some point.  And if you’re a science fiction writer creating a sprawling Sci-Fi universe full of advanced alien civilizations, well… you should probably imagine up some sort of solution to the Fermi Paradox.

Mind you, it doesn’t have to be the most scientifically plausible solution.  But some of your readers will surely be wondering about this, so….


In time index 117-299, a Hykonian observation vessel crashed on Earth near a small Earthling village named Roswell.  The cause of the crash remains unknown.  The fate of the Hykonian crew remains unknown.  And what happened to the wreckage of the spacecraft itself?  Again, unknown.

Due to the suspicious circumstances surrounding the Roswell incident, the Galactic Inquisitor was forced to intervene.  The Hykonian Hegemony has demanded retribution; meanwhile, the local authorities on Earth continue to claim ignorance (something, something, weather balloons).  Until this matter is resolved, the Galactic Inquisitor has imposed an isolation ordinance over Earth.

All forms of interstellar communications are being jammed, and no spacecraft shall be permitted to enter of leave the Solar System.  Recent violations of this ordinance by NASA’s Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probes are currently under investigation.

Most Earthlings are left wondering, understandably, why they seem to be alone in the universe.  And so things shall remain until the Galactic Inquisitor’s ordinance is lifted.

Speaking of the Galactic Inquisitor, next time on Tomorrow News Network: A to Z, we’ll meet the timeless, near godlike being who maintains law and order in the galaxy.

10 thoughts on “The Fermi Paradox (Tomorrow News Network: A to Z)

  1. “the Galactic Inquisitor was forced to intervene” is great, but “Recent violations of this ordinance by NASA’s Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probes are currently under investigation” left me LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I suppose the real reason we haven’t found anybody (and I guess we will not encounter anybody) is that civilizations like our own are inherently short lived. Technological innovation (starting with things like stone blades) is going to result in population and economic growht. Groups (peoples, businesses etc.) growing faster than others will overgrow, assimilate or destroy those who are not growing as fast. New inventions will then open up opportunities for new growth. In the end, you get a technical civilization in which those attitudes, theories etc. leading to the fastest growth will overgrow everything else. The result is a civilization (like our own) that requires growth to be well. Such a civilization is inherently unsustainable. It will grow to a size where it is going to destroy the ressources (raw materials, air, water, biodiversity etc.) of its planet. Once the resources have been used up, such a civilization is going to collapse, losing the ability to communicate with others. We have accquired that ability about 100 to maybe at most 150 years ago and it will not take that long again before our civilization collapses, leaving us unable to communicate with others. We (or somebody like us) could have arrisen here millions of years earlier or millions of years later. Afer us, there will not be enough resources left for a second technical civilization for a very long time to come. So on planets where they are possible, such civilizations pop up for something like a few decades to a few centuries within a time window of tens to maybe a few hundred million years. The probability that two of them near enough to each other to communicate overlap in time seems very, very small.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a very reasonable answer to the Fermi Paradox. I remember reading somewhere (it may have been in Scientific American) that as our ability to observe exoplanets improves, we should look out for signs of heavily polluted atmospheres. So it’s possible that if some alien civilization destroyed itself, we might at least know that it happened.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wise words, friend. For storytelling purposes, I needed an answer, but in reality, I also accept that we do not know what’s out there. And we may never know, but we should still keep searching.

      Liked by 2 people

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