George Nikolopoulos hails from Athens, Greece. He’s written for SF Comet, Unsung Stories, Bards & Sages Quarterly, and elsewhere, both here and in Greece. This is his first appearance in Galaxy’s Edge.

George Nikolopoulos

So, you have finally given in to your children’s desperate pleas for a pet, and they’ve persuaded you to get a human. A great choice for a pet—but there are a few things that you should know before picking one. First things first: Adopt a stray, don’t buy; there are several important reasons for this.

Humans are exotics, which means that they’re not a native species of our world or even, in fact, our star system. Capturing wild humans on their planet, Aerth, has been banned for several hundred years. This makes all humans descendants of the ones that were captured centuries ago, brought to Pandaesia, and domesticated. Pet stores and human breeders would have you buy purebred humans, and this of course leads to inbreeding. That’s why humans bought in pet stores are sicklier and live fewer years than strays. Purebred humans suffer from limited gene pools and have breed-specific health issues. Diabetes, hernia, bad back, and mental illness often plague the purebreds.

Commercial breeding facilities put profit above the welfare of humans. Babies are housed in appalling conditions, often becoming very sick and emotionally troubled as a result. The mothers are kept in cages to be bred over and over for years, and when they’re no longer profitable, they are abandoned or even killed. Most humans sold to unsuspecting consumers in pet stores come from such facilities.

Each year, millions of unwanted homeless humans end up at shelters across Pandaesia. Shelters keep them off the streets, where they’re admittedly a nuisance; males fight each other all the time, and marauding human packs are really dangerous. Half of these humans will have to be euthanized, for a simple reason: too many humans and not enough good homes. And yet the number of euthanized humans would be dramatically reduced if people adopted pets instead of buying them. We have to prevent breeders from bringing more humans into a world where there are already too many.

That’s why you should neuter your human. Don’t listen to the soft-hearted who will tell you it’s cruel. A neutered human is a happy, carefree human, delivered from its constant obsession with sex, and if you own more than one you’ll be amazed at how much better they will get along after being neutered. Neutering will also prevent several undesirable sexual behaviors such as humping, aggression, and the need to roam, as well as the messiness of the female cycle. Don’t add new strays to the world. Humans have a litter of only one every nine months, but they are in heat constantly, and this makes them really hard to control. Also, mothers are obsessed with keeping their cubs, and they are so persistent that you might end up with a whole human family on your hands—and believe me, that’s a bit more than you bargained for.

Humans are not toys; they are real live animals. Owning them is both a privilege and a responsibility. Generally, they live long—several decades—and, as cute and adorable as the babies are, there’s a tendency to abandon old ones in the streets. You must understand that a well fed, well cared-for human could live more than a hundred years. So when you get one, you must understand you get them for life. They will give you satisfaction and rich rewards, and when your human passes away you will be understandably sad—but please don’t ditch them when you’re bored of them.

You should play with your human for at least fifteen minutes every day, and you should groom it and keep it clean. Some people like to feed them table scraps, but if you do you should be careful to absolutely avoid foods that contain arsenic or polonium, and I should say that mercury is not a good idea either. There are several kinds of pellets suitable for a healthy and tasty diet, but again you should avoid the ones containing even traces of arsenic; they are cheaper, but they may be fatal to your human.

You can train your human to respond to a whistle when it’s time to feed it. They can even understand simple commands if you speak slowly, but you should never forget that, despite their modicum of intelligence, humans are animals and not people.

Copyright © 2016 George Nikolopoulos


Larry Niven

An extraordinary mix of fantasy and science fiction from one of the masters of science fiction, Larry Niven.



The Editor's Word

by Martin L. Shoemaker

The Minotaur's Wife

by Thomas K. Carpenter
A Hundred Hundred Daisies
by Nancy Kress
A Human's Life
by George Nikolopoulos
In the Yucky Death Mountains
by Eric Leif Davin

Marrow Wood

by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Another True History
by Gordon Eklund

Dante's Unfinished Business

by Alex Shvartsman

Turning the Town

by John Helfers

The Bag Lady

by David Gerrold
Manbat and Robin

by Larry Hodges

Legions in Time

by Michael Swanwick

Peter S. Beagle

by Joy Ward

The Long Tomorrow (Part 5)
by Leigh Brackett

From the Heart's Basement
by Barry N. Malzberg
Science Column
by Gregory Benford

Recommended Books
by Bill Fawcett & Jody Lynn Nye

Loosely based on Larry Niven's 1973 novella "Flash Crowd," Red Tide continues to examine the social consequences of the impact of having instantaneous teleportation, where humans can instantly travel long distances in milliseconds.

This is a theme that has fascinated the author throughout his career and even appears in his seminal work Ringworld, where the central character celebrates his birthday by instantly teleporting himself to different time zones, extending his birthday. The author also discussed the impact of such instantaneous transportation in his essay, "Exercise in Speculation: The Theory and Practice of Teleportation."

Larry Niven is joined by two younger writers, Brad R. Torgersen and Matthew J. Harrington, as they take on this challenging idea and further develop the theories and concepts that Niven originally presented in "Flash Crowd."




A guided tour of the world of the 1632 universe by its creator with insider tips on how to write for stories set in the universe and get published in the Grantville Gazette.

all-inclusive on a
luxury cruise ship



Eric Flint is a New York Times bestselling author who has, literally, created one of the most popular modern 'universes' in science fiction.

His novel 1632 has launched an enterprise which has seen more than a 100 writers participating in some form or another and may be the most collaborative universe ever created.

To accommodate the huge demand (from readers as well as writers who wanted to write stories set in the universe), Eric created an online periodical called the Grantville Gazette which publishes stories set in the 1632 universe.








Copyright © Arc Manor LLC 2016 All Rights Reserved. Galaxy's Edge is an online magazine published every two months (January, March, May, July, September, November) by Phoenix Pick, the Science Fiction and Fantasy imprint of Arc Manor Publishers.