Preface to the 1,633rd edition (first Terran edition)
First of all, Welcome! We are so pleased to have you join our Galactic Community of almost ten thousand races! We are the largest and most successful Galactic faction – you have chosen well.
Do expect things to feel a little strange for the first few millennia – after all, you are the “New Kid On The Block”! You will find the Galaxy to be an amazing place, and full of a bewildering variety of species, of all shapes, sizes and habits. A few of them will actually look like the depictions of aliens in your movies!
We’ve put together this handy guide for “newbies”, translated into your colloquial language for ease of understanding. This will ensure you get off to a good start in your first alien encounters, know where to invest your resources,and avoid catastrophic errors. There are lots—billions—of more detailed publications available, where you can find out almost anything about almost everything, but this book is the ideal introduction.
Before continuing, please note:
(i) We strongly advise you to read this handbook from start to finish before attempting further contact. This will avoid possible misunderstandings that could result in injury, death, or the premature extinction of your civilisation.
(ii) The publishers of this handbook accept no responsibility whatsoever for any errors, omissions or mistranslations that result in any harmful outcome for your civilisation. We are protected from prosecution under Galactic Statute XV1-APG-137C. Survivors—please notify the publisher of any suggested corrections and we will endeavour to provide updates in a future edition.
Table of Contents
1. How to use this Handy Guide
2. Stop! Read This First! Do’s and Don’ts for New Aliens
2.1 The Most Common Mistakes
which may result in your race’s swift destruction, and how to avoid them
2.2 The Most Important Rule Of All
why <*concept not translatable for this language/species*> is the best policy
3. Your Place in the Galactic Community
3.1 You’re Still Alive
an excellent start!
3.2 Making a Good Impression
the critical first millennium
3.3 Gaining Recognition
from Nobody to Somebody
3.4 Representation on the Galactic Council
a (very) long term plan
4. (Myths, Legends and) The Reality of the Universe in which you live
4.1 There is no Faster Than Light Travel
don’t expect visitors any time soon
4.2 Cash is King
can you pay your way in the Galaxy?
4.3 Galactic Law Overrides ALL Local Variants
ignorance of Galactic Law is no defence
4.4 Patience IS a Virtue
how to get things done when you have to wait 100+ years for a response to the simplest message
5. The Importance of Being a Good Neighbour
5.1 Antisocial Behaviour
and its consequences for you
5.2 Yes, But What IS Antisocial?
it depends on who your neighbours are!
5.3 How to Complain
quietly, if at all
in a word, DON’T!
6. Paying Your Way in the Galaxy
6.1 Money, That’s What You Want!
Galactic Bitcredits: the gold standard
6.2 You Want It, We’ve Got It
how trading works between civilisations when they are light years apart
6.3 Payments Due to the Owner of Your Region of the Galaxy
why you may already be 1 billion years in arrears!
6.4 The Defence Levy
because keeping you safe isn’t cheap
6.5 Loans and Credit Schemes
always read the small print
7. Avoid These Scams and Viruses
from Diplomats to DNA Hacking
7.1 Zeta Leporis Diplomat Scam
no, there is no money waiting for you in a dead official’s account
7.2 Cold fusion
the (c)oldest scam in the Galaxy!
7.3 Quantum Computer Cat Virus
infected computers both work and fail simultaneously
7.4 Alien Porn
yes we know you’re curious, no it’s not worth the planetwide ransomware
7.5 4-Dimensional Pyramid Schemes
why getting rich quick (or at all) doesn’t ever happen
7.6 DNA code hacking
locked out of your own body… not a great place to be
8. Bona Fide Ways to Earn Money
8.1 The Galaxy’s “Top 1,000 Wish List”
can you help?
8.2 What Else Have You Got?
that We might actually want
8.3 What We Don’t Want
from Fission to Philosophy
9. Approaches to Debt Management
9.1 Money Problems
when all else fails
9.2 Why Crime Doesn’t Pay
how Galactic Law is enforced
9.3 Selling Your Heritage
everyone likes a bargain
9.4 Planet For Sale
how to get the best price for your planet
10. Post Eviction and Homelessness
10.1 Options to Consider at Rock-Bottom
when the only alternative is the complete extinction of your race
at least earn some money and go places before you all die
see the Galaxy on the cheap! especially its holding cells
because one way or another we are all slaves to the Galaxy!
10.1.4 The Deep Freeze
wake up one day (maybe) to a Brave New World (maybe)
10.2 Recognition and Acceptance
making peace with your imminent extinction as the Galaxy rolls on regardless
so is there anything at all your race could be remembered for?
Appendix: The Top One Billion Self-Help Manuals Reviewed and Rated
remember to use our Galactic faction’s affiliate link for all purchases!
© 2022 by Mark Vandersluis
Author’s Note: Beware, the Galaxy is a dangerous place! History has shown us here on Earth that when a powerful, technologically advanced culture encounters a less developed one, the result is often catastrophic for the less advanced society. I wanted to extrapolate from our own experiences on Earth, and speculate on the possibilities should we ever become part of a wider Galactic community. We might well face a multitude of existential challenges once we discover (or are discovered by) the races who run the Galaxy. There’s a lot to think about when you consider the deeper story behind each flippant-sounding heading in this Handbook: hints and tips which might make the difference between survival and extinction. I have plans to complete the whole Handbook one day, not just the Table of Contents. Hopefully before the aliens arrive…
Mark Vandersluis works as a Senior IT Manager for a Cable and Internet company in Berkshire, England. From an early age, his home was the Science Fiction section of the local library. With a lifelong interest in all things Science and Technology, his SF has previously been published in Nature Futures. Mark also enjoys running, cycling and walking, preferably with his wife and/or grown-up children, even though they are mostly faster than him these days. You can follow Mark on Twitter at @markvsf