The item below is another of those messages received occasionally at Madazine from one of the locations we have come to think of as Behind the Beyond.
Straighten Up, Earthlings
To the editor of Madazine
This comes to you from the Andromeda Galaxy – you don’t need to know exactly where, as no reply is required. I have noticed that your planet has an axial tilt, probably caused by a collision with another celestial body at some point. This is not uncommon but it does cause you to have variations in daylight and weather and I think you would be well advised to correct this, thereby eliminating your seasons. We had the same situation some time ago and we put it right by simple engineering. I hope you will accept my advice on how to do this.
The area you call Antarctica will do nicely for the job. You need to locate a rocky spot there to which you can anchor an array of powerful propulsive machines, placed so that when they are switched on, the force they exert would drive them towards the South Pole if they were free to move. No doubt you will grasp that the idea is to exert sufficient thrust to push the axis to an upright position. You should start the units in sequence with a day between ignitions. If you were to get them going simultaneously, the shock to the Earth would be too great.
Assuming that you calculate correctly, the power your devices generate will push against the Antarctic land mass and will shove your South Pole towards the perpendicular, with of course a corresponding movement of the North Pole. When the axis is vertical, turn off the machines. You will be delighted with the outcome of this operation.
I realise that with your current technology and intellectual resources, you may think this a formidable challenge. However, having observed you for quite a while, I have noted that you have two people who might be up to the task. I refer to that eminent scientist, Professor Jopp, who I understand is widely known as The Sage of Trondheim. If he is still in action, perhaps he could be persuaded to handle the project. Failing that, I suggest, you approach the English engineer and inventor Kevin Spout of Sheffield, who I believe has been dubbed Yorkshire’s own Leonardo da Vinci.
Incidentally, I understand that there is some apprehension in the Milky Way concerning the fact that our two galaxies are on a collision course. That is true but please don’t do anything about it. We have the matter in hand and shall take the necessary evasive action. At the very last millennium (your time) we shall trigger the appropriate mechanism. It will then be merely a case of ‘right hand down a bit’, allowing us to pass each other like ships in the night.
I hope you will do as I suggest with respect to your axis and I shall keep an eye on you and see how things develop.
A Distant Wellwisher
Editor’s note. We contacted Professor Jopp (don’t forget it’s pronounced Yopp), who said: “If this idea were practicable, I would have done the job long ago. I don’t doubt that the operation was successful on Wellwisher’s planet, probably because that body is of uniform consistency, not having a crust, a mantle and a core. The same thing could not be done here because machines of sufficient power would, when switched on, crumple our tectonic plates and displace the Earth’s crust without moving the axis. This would cause colossal earthquakes. There would be other results but I need not go into them.”
Our science correspondent, Axel Griess, is not available to comment on this at present, as he in rehab, following a series of episodes best not publicised. Kevin Spout is said to be quite keen to have a go at implementing the scheme, but there is sure to be some apprehension about this, as all of his projects to date have ended in failure, often with associated danger and sometimes with actual injury to a number of the people most closely involved.
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