Updated: July 10, 2012 6:03AM
A recent ad for unusual, out-of-print books lists several science fiction classics, including a 1958 novel, “A Planet for Texans” by H. Beam Piper. Set in the late-21st century, it describes life on a distant planet to which the entire population of Texas has moved in order to escape the rest of us and live free from the nuisance of outsiders. Ranchers on New Texas herd 15-ton steers with tanks and supersonic aircraft. Everyone carries a gun and it’s legal to shoot meddlesome politicians.
Since I come from people who believed interplanetary migration was inevitable, and indeed accords with divine intentions for humankind, it occurs to me that a separate planet for Texans may be an idea whose time has come.
The adults among whom I grew up read the Bible’s creation stories as history, something like transcripts of what one could have caught with a video camera were digital technology available in the Garden of Eden.
This interpretation raised numerous questions. We children wondered, for example, where all the people and animals, bidden as they were to be fruitful and multiply, would have eventually fit had not the two-legged critters stolen the forbidden fruit and brought death into the world. Except for mortality, life on Earth would have become an overcrowded nightmare.
Soon enough, our elders explained, we would have found our way to other planets the creator scattered throughout the universe, all capable of sustaining human life. While it didn’t sound thoroughly biblical somehow, that response temporarily satisfied us, although the thought of those extra worlds going to waste seemed a shame.
Given the troubles among us today, perhaps we should resurrect this vision of human destiny. I therefore declare that we have long enough ignored this valuable, divinely provided resource. The time has come to let the Texans leave. They never liked it here anyway.
Once they’ve gone, other groups will surely follow. Recent opinion pieces in this paper suggest that Fireworks People might better thrive on their own planet. There, year-round and 24/7 (or however long days and weeks might be in another solar system), unimpeded by restrictions of any sort, the relentless din, acrid smell and rattling concussions of an endless D-Day could soothe and entertain a populace that loathes peace and quiet.
Until they go deaf amid this cacophonous bliss, young drivers who make the earth quiver and rattle the windows of whole neighborhoods with 1,000-watt subwoofers in their automobiles might find a home on the same boom-philiac planet.
There would be assorted red planets and blue planets, of course, and perhaps a dedicated tea party planet that would feature no taxes, no government and inhabitants who pledge themselves to life-long self-sufficiency.
Religious convictions could determine residency on some planets, and those who need the whole world to believe and behave as they do could have precisely that. If sorting ourselves by political and religious criteria doesn’t exhaust the supply of planets, we could have single-language planets, ethnically pure planets, maybe even exclusive cat- and dog-loving planets. Hopefully, at least one planet would ban reality TV.
Some say men hail from Mars and women from Venus, which suggests we’ve already tried this separate-planet system and found it wanting. Some differences make life possible. Others render it tolerable, even enrich it.
In any case, we’ll still share a single planet come Fourth of July 2012. Lovers of calm and quiet have barely a month to order some airport baggage-handlers’ ear protection gear, memorize the Serenity Prayer, and find a basement in which to hide for the day — hopefully one not too full of cat hair.