From Shadow Show, a collection of short stories by famous writers inspired by Ray Bradbury’s greatest stories, come “Earth (A Gift Shop)” by Charles Yu in which he wonders what will become of earth when we are finished with it, and how will humanity be remembered when we are long gone, based on what we’ve left behind?
This story immediately reminded me of this one from a while back, being that it’s a light-hearted take on the future of our planets thousands of years from now. In Yu’s version, seven thousands years after humanity has left, planet earth is now nothing more than a pit stop for space travelers.
There is simply nothing left worth seeing or experiencing. It’s a barren wasteland of uninhabitable temperatures, toxic chemicals in the air, what’s left of the water, and dilapidated remains of cities. Earth used to be appealing to travelers as a planet to stop and experience what life was like thousands of years ago, but as time went on it became nothing more than the location of a cheap gift shop with remnants of our past that no one is interested in anymore.
Thankfully it appears that the majority of people do take stories like this as what they are meant to be: a warning. We cannot possibly let the earth end up like this, so climate activism and environmental preservation is at its highest right now.
Of course, NASA has revealed that there are half a dozen habitable planets out there right now waiting for us, but they are so far away that we may as well do our best not to destroy earth too quickly just yet.