Next Time

by Larry Niven

by Larry Niven

"I need someone to talk to," God said.

Missiles crisscrossed the pole. Mankind's billions heard the Voice, too late. Voices demanded, "What happened?"

"I make all possible mistakes, to learn the consequences. I hoped you would ultimately evolve intelligence. You would need power sources. Should I have left out the supernova remnant? Tell me now. You'll be gone in an hour."

A few among the billions understood. No supernova, no fissionables. No solar system? Answers poured outward in raucous disagreement.

God asked, "What should I try next? Somewhere, minds must evolve. There's only me. I need someone to talk to."

reprinted with permission of the author
First published in THE DRABBLE PROJECT
Compiled by Rob Meades and David B. Wake
Beccon Publications, c. 1st April 1988
100 stores, 100 words long, limited edition of 1000
(My copy is number 666. --Carol Phillips)

Second published here, and no where else (legally).