Friday, July 3, 2009

William Tenn's "The Liberation of Earth" (short story, satire): Plight of innocents caught in the power play of the armed

Like "Brooklyn Project", this story too has a history of being thrown out by major US magazine publishers because of its political content - criticism of US military presence in Korea. Devastation faced by Korean civilians in the power games of US, USSR, & China.

But reading today & with no background of that political situation, I find it describes the plight of innocent locals caught in the war games of powerful everywhere: Tamil civilians caught in fighting between Lankan army & LTTE last month (or was it month before?); Afghan civilians caught in the conflict of US/USSR a decade or two back, or between Taliban/US today; ...

It's a timeless story - has sadly always described an aspect of human society, & will likely do so for foreseeable future.

Story summary.

Dendi & Troxxt are two alien races fighting a war. Earth ends up falling in their moving war front. Both will occupy earth - to "liberate" it from the other, & wreck local life & the very earth a little. Till the other party drives them away & does its own liberation. Sequence repeats several times, till there are few humans left & earth is an unfit place even to fight a war - when they both move in search of another place to fight.

Fact sheet.

First published: Future Science Fiction, May 1953.
Rating: B.
Related: Stories of William Tenn.