Then a Miracle Occurs Book Cover Some people are strangely, even astonishingly creative, especially in technical situations, displaying immense insight, deep logical thinking and amazing leaps of intuition.

Curiously, such people are often strange, too: personality disorders, lack of empathy or even basic emotions, difficulties in relating to others.

It's almost as if they're not entirely human...


This story was originally intended to be an entry in a competition: the Earlyworks Press second Science Fiction Challenge. The brief was to write a story of collaboration, first contact and alien cooperation.

The aim of this competition is to produce a set of stories, illustrations or strips which make a realistic contribution to the debate about how humans and extra-terrestrial species might prepare for contact and learn to co-operate rather than destroy each other through fear or prejudice, by accident or design.
Entries must not be fanciful. In the best traditions of science fiction, we seek original but scientifically and psychologically plausible fiction and artwork. Stories must not exceed 2500 words and must be a good read but also have something to contribute to the debate in hand.

Miracle Cartoon And this is my attempt. I didn't finish it in time for the closure of the competition - pressures of the day job, of course - but now I have found an opportunity to complete it. It's now significantly longer that the word limit specified by the competition, as it turned out, so it would not have qualified in any case.

Miracle Cartoon by Sidney Harris The title, incidentally, comes from any of several well-known cartoons which comment on the difficulties of managing the creative process, one which is made especially difficult when attempting projects so complex that they could not conceiveably be performed by a single individual.

I would also like to acknowledge the influence of the rather spendid short story We'll Return, After This Message by John Walker.

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