I wrote “Our Uncle on Proxima” in the late summer of 2017. There was a great deal of speculation about Proxima Centauri b in the media at that time, and I was fascinated with the reports and suspicions about the planet that were appearing in Astronomy and other periodicals that year. The theories and hypotheses that were (and are) swirling around about Proxima Centauri b were (and continue to be) tantalizing.
Proxima Centauri b is the closest exoplanet to Earth and has some similar qualities. However, the planet is tidally locked to Proxima Centauri and may not retain much atmosphere. These are significant hurdles to potential habitation (and there are many others). However, I also enjoy the conjecture that surrounds the potential for humans to settle beyond Earth. I broach that topic in “Our Uncle on Proxima”, which primarily concerns an attempt to seed Proxima Centauri b with life (specifically human) from Earth. The mission is nearly a disaster and is saved only thanks to the ingenuity of an android (who is not human but demonstrates the nobler human qualities and aspirations).
I’ve always had a fascination with robotics and the role that androids (such as the titular character in this piece) may play in our future. Although I’m not sure that such creations will purely benefit mankind or prove our saviors (I’ll remain hopeful for now). As a public educator (please hold your applause or condemnation), I do place a great value on the strong role models that children (especially young children) must possess and, as a product of the “takes a village to raise a child” mentality myself, I sympathize with single parents. Balancing the need to provide with raising a child (or children) is simply not easy for one person, yet many single mothers and fathers are tasked with just that challenge (as is this protagonist).
Lastly, as a history teacher, I must wonder how the perspective on our history will change in the future. Will subsequent generations value the same events and characters from history that I do? Most likely not. So, what aspects from our past will be embraced in the future? If we settle the cosmos, will the accomplishments of ancient civilizations remain significant? I don’t have answers to these questions, but I enjoy imagining the future responses to those queries.
“Our Uncle on Proxima” appeared with Empyreome in October of 2017. Click the DNA structure below to travel 25,000,000,000,000 miles beyond Earth and several centuries into the future to visit a faithful robot and his children: