The New Land

The New Land

A Story by Nicolas Jao

An astronaut visits another planet, only to find out its true horrors.


The vast expanse of the cosmos was full of many unique and extraterrestrial things; swirling masses of enigmatic energy, vibrant and colourful celestial bodies, and the shining of the flaming spheres of light. And, there! A tiny adventurer, searching for paradise, wishing to discover an alien race as intelligent as his own. Only the best he could afford--he would not waste his time, no. The contact was mysterious--he had received it earlier while on another pioneer expedition. It was an invitation of some sort, from an extraterrestrial planet. It was a while ago he had decided he would investigate and scrutinize it, and now, his journey there was all but delightful. The boring nothingness of sector 0130, the loneliness of the sea of blackness, and the quiet humming of the poorly-built ship engines were all things that took a toll on his mind--how could he tolerate such boredom? But he had wasted years of his life for this--in fact, his kind had spent centuries wondering about alien life. So much that a tiny invitation that was minuscule in the grand scheme of things would spark their curiosity. An infinitesimally small chance was what stood between it and their salvation. If this was it--if this was something that was worth exploring, to give themselves a glimmer of hope, the luck would be considered infinite. 

The stars were dim and their lights were virtually nonexistent, for the might of the darkness of space was overwhelming--such a sight to behold, although it was not much of a sight at all. People would kill for a sight like this when they would rather spill blood over something else had they realized it was so lonely. All the kids’ dreams of seeing this wonder would be demolished--their wanting of a place where they could fly would vanish. No, for the truth was it was dark, cold, and to an indefinite scale, depressing. They’d rather spend their talents somewhere else, but they seldom did--space was all they ever wanted. 

Long had his journey been, but, finally, there it was. In a tiny spectrum of vision, his awaited destination. Through the tinted, thick glass, through the numerous and giant asteroids, and through the expanse that was so epically colossal, he saw it; a tiny ball, no bigger than his pinky nail, yet beautifully coloured blue and green, just like his home planet. The resemblance was powerful--so much that it sought out some emotion in him, and he wondered if this was all worth the long wait. 

The landing was astoundingly pleasant. Tolerable, he thought, and without so much a focus on judgement, he wondered if this trip would bring him any joy. He was not to be a critic--only an observer, it seemed, and it was the only little courtesy he could provide for his hosts. He was to be the respectful visitor. And, even with that thought in mind, he could not help but stare at the aliens when they came to greet him--such strange colours, shapes, sizes! Back at his home, this difference between individuals would have been discriminated upon--harmony was something he was not used to. And they were gigantic beings, the holders of multiple eyes--more than his kind, at the least. And perhaps he was not the only one staring, as his greeters also marvelled at alien life at the sight of his body. It was mutual awe, shared with a moment of silence and observation--awkward but necessary nonetheless. One simply could not discover a new element without being shocked at the outcome of its appearance, and the fact that the discovery itself was significant on the behalf of the people of one’s kind. Something to that magnitude needed documentation and evidence; history would never ignore one for such a finding. 

“A pleasure, visitor,” his alien tour guide said, holding out a palm with many more fingers than he was used to seeing--and what a greeting, too! Something to remind him of home. He was glad that shaking hands was a universal message of peace. 

“Let us get started,” his alien tour guide said. “I’ll show you around.”

The experience was overwhelming, to say the least. The traveller knew he had found something that was destined for greatness. As they walked he saw strange, alien plants. Strange, alien food. Strange, alien structures. The buildings could only be described as futuristic and modern. There were flying machines in the air, locomotives on tracks, and an uncountable amount of ground vehicles. The advancements were so revolutionary that surely there had to be some drawbacks to the place. It was this thought that motivated him to ask the alien tour guide.

A grim expression materialized on his face, his forehead knitting--a sign of contemplation, he interpreted. “There are. And I will show you, dear friend.”

The aliens then brought him across the planet. And there it was revealed that the paradise he once knew was layered--the book cover revealed greatness and prosperity while its inside pages told a different story. 

“I didn’t want to show this,” his alien tour guide said. “But what forms a rainbow is always a rain cloud. I will show you.”

Children. That’s what they were. Alien children labouring in factories, workshops, places of intense heat, places of intense danger. All making things for the higher classes. To think that it was justified with the sole reason of them being choice-less, for how could they make a living out of their already dead lives? 

His alien tour guide tilted his head down, said, “There’s more,” and on they went, another long journey to another place of desolation. 

The cries of mothers for their children, the incessant spilling of blood, and the shattering din of endless metal pellets were what he saw next. He saw aliens have their limbs torn and blown, pools of their own strange-coloured blood, massacres of flesh and wounds of protruding bones--a gory sight but one that he could not take his eyes away from. How could he? His inner soul was deeply disturbed, frightened to the core.

Then he saw other things. As the day grew weary, he visited more places of destruction. Massive whirlwinds of air, plant lands in flames, and violent vibrations of the earth killing millions of innocent aliens. Lands of industrial pollution--after all, the futuristic cities did not go without a price, did they not? Pillars of deadly smoke rising into the air, skies of grey and poison, rivers of thrown products deemed garbage--but still perfectly useful. Then, the wailings of billions without nutrition; food was plentiful, massively wasted, but they had no right to its access, filthy scumbags they were! Less than average, clinically stupid aliens that rolled in mud all day. Their cries were heard but ignored--their pleas were understood but disposed of. Was it really their fault, or were they the conditions that were set upon them throughout their lives? 

“I’m truly sorry,” the alien tour guide said, heartbroken at such chaos, madness, utter pandemonium--oh, the pain! “But there is more I must show you.”

How far would this endless razing go? But true to his word, there was more. The traveller saw some of the worst now. Dying insides, lack of strength, fading power, failing organs of the poor, poor aliens. An alien child: “Grandfather? Grandfather? Do you remember me? We used to play by the garden of your house.” But only still, motionless, solid white eyes. An alien that was half-child, half-adult, ready to commit a deed that would end his universe and cause tears on his beloved on the summit of a building. Alleys of violence; guns and fists, all wildly going, aimed at the individuals that looked different or had opposite alien gender appetites. Oppression--whips and wails, saluting officers, aliens unbeknownst to the outside world, their minds raved by propaganda, almost like hypnosis. 

And the traveller--what did he think of all this? Surely it was a paradise no more in his eyes? It was time to draw conclusions. More and more the traveller saw of this new, strange, alien planet, the mole rat burrowing his insides only grew ever worse. A sick place to live in, almost… dystopian, to a degree. What wonders it beheld!--but at what cost? Was the plethora of suffering not enough to cause everyone madness? And what would the future bring for the poor, innocent souls of these aliens? He needed to get out of there. He was in a dangerous place, without a doubt. 

“Yeah, that’s home,” his alien tour guide said. “Maybe it’s a terrible place to live in. But it’s all we know. ‘The sufferings of others produce the joys of anothers,’ that’s what mama always told me. She ain’t wrong, dear friend. All this represents us and humanity’s home, dear friend. Welcome to Earth.”


© 2020 Nicolas Jao

Author's Note

Nicolas Jao
If you're reading this note, I assume you've read the story already as this is spoilers. Well, that means you already know. The astronaut isn't human after all. He was an alien. And the planet he visited was Earth. I intended this story to be an allegory to represent the horrors of our world, how terrible it could look to an outsider. As the story suggests, our world is not pretty, and it has a lot of problems. I wanted the reader to feel the same dread the astronaut does. If you have any suggestions on how to make that empathetic connection better, feel free to say.

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Added on June 12, 2020
Last Updated on June 16, 2020
Tags: literary, literature, symbolism, humanity


Nicolas Jao
Nicolas Jao

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

It's the cliche story. I've been writing since I was six, and it's a passion. I like to read, listen to music, watch the NBA, learn science and programming, and eat food. My favourite book is The Hous.. more..

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