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A PSA for Time-Travelers

Fabio Fernandes lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has published two books so far, an essay on William Gibson's fiction, A Construcao do Imaginario Cyber, and a cyberpunk novel, Os Dias da Peste (both in Portuguese). Also a translator, he is responsible for the translation to Brazilian Portuguese of several SF novels, including Neuromancer, Snow Crash, and A Clockwork Orange. His short stories have been published online in Brazil, Portugal, Romania, the UK, New Zealand, and USA, and also in Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, Southern Fried Weirdness: Reconstruction, The Apex Book of World SF, Vol 2, Stories for Chip. Co-edited (with Djibril al-Ayad) the postcolonialist anthology We See a Different Frontier. Graduate of Clarion West, class of 2013.

Attention all time-travelers coming here/now!
We are transmitting on every frequency we can, using tachyons tightbeam technology.
Please take into account all space coordinates before traveling to our time. Make sure you calculate the rotation of Earth along its axis as well as its translation regarding the plane of the ecliptic.
Please do not try to travel again without making sure of where you are traveling to. Our space stations have been collecting your bodies for months now. Which has been hard on our crews. We can only imagine how horrible this must have been to those who arrived suddenly in space with no adequate protection. Unfortunately, as of today we still haven't saved a single one.
We cannot determine exactly from when you are traveling. Our time does not have knowledge of temporal dislocation, though we do know enough astrophysics to calculate your trajectory in the time-space continuum. We can provide you with the right coordinates as long as you furnish us with your time/space coordinates.
Are you unable to calculate this for yourselves? Are you coming from our past? And, if that's true, did you give up at some point? Did you receive this message? Are you coming from our future? Is that why we have never been visited before by time-travelers? Because you all died trying?
Why now? Why our time? Or did you try earlier and we couldn't detect you? Did you send them all to die in space before learning what you were really doing? Did you learn after all?
Please stop. Please don't come anymore.
This is an automated message. Do not try to reply. We are not sure if we will receive it.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

Author Comments

I always wanted to write a story where people do the right things (maybe for the right reasons) but something goes awfully wrong because an apparently minor detail was forgotten. I grew up reading the short short stories of Fredric Brown, and he was a master of pulling exactly this kind of stunt (go check his story "Great Lost Discoveries" and you'll understand what I'm talking about).

- Fabio Fernandes
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