Scientific Romance by Tim Pratt

If starship travel from our

Earth to some far

star and back again

at velocities approaching the speed

of light made you younger than me

due to the relativistic effects

of time dilation,

I’d show up on your doorstep hoping

you’d developed a thing for older men,

and I’d ask you to show me everything you

learned to pass the time

out there in the endless void

of night.


If we were the sole survivors

of a zombie apocalypse

and you were bitten and transformed

into a walking corpse

I wouldn’t even pick up my

assault shotgun,

I’d just let you take a bite

out of me, because I’d rather be

undead forever

with you

than alive alone

without you.
If I had a time machine, I’d go back

to the days of your youth

to see how you became the someone

I love so much today, and then

I’d return to the moment we first met

just so I could see my own face

when I saw your face

for the first time,

and okay,

I’d probably travel to the time

when we were a young couple

and try to get a three-way

going. I never understood

why more time travelers don’t do

that sort of thing.


If the alien invaders come

and hover in stern judgment

over our cities, trying to decide

whether to invite us to the Galactic

Federation of Confederated

Galaxies or if instead

a little genocide is called for,

I think our love could be a powerful

argument for the continued preservation

of humanity in general, or at least,

of you and me

in particular.


If we were captives together

in an alien zoo, I’d try to make

the best of it, cultivate a streak

of xeno-exhibitionism,

waggle my eyebrows, and make jokes

about breeding in captivity.


If I became lost in

the multiverse, exploring

infinite parallel dimensions, my

only criterion for settling

down somewhere would be

whether or not I could find you:

and once I did, I’d stay there even

if it was a world ruled by giant spider-

priests, or one where killer

robots won the Civil War, or even

a world where sandwiches

were never invented, because

you’d make it the best

of all possible worlds anyway,

and plus

we could get rich

off inventing sandwiches.


If the Singularity comes

and we upload our minds into a vast

computer simulation of near-infinite

complexity and perfect resolution,

and become capable of experiencing any

fantasy, exploring worlds bound only

by our enhanced imaginations,

I’d still spend at least 1021 processing

cycles a month just sitting

on a virtual couch with you,

watching virtual TV,

eating virtual fajitas,

holding virtual hands,

and wishing

for the real thing.