So You’re the Leader of a New Society on an Alien Planet. Now What? 1


I was surprised and honored recently to be nominated for the Liebster Award by A. S. Akkalon, who I don’t think realizes how motivating her support has been in my decision to revive this blog. The award is basically meant for relatively new bloggers to express themselves and possibly get a bit of traffic, and I get to nominate other people to answer my own questions.

However, this nomination has exposed a serious personal flaw: I don’t follow many other bloggers, and the majority of those I do have been around for a long time and wouldn’t bat an eye at my nomination.

I’m generally good at reciprocating blog comments and I’ll keep up with those I find interesting/entertaining, but I haven’t been great at seeking out new blogs on my own.

So in lieu of a list of nominees, I am going to do a series of things.

First, of course, I’d like to direct you to A. S. Akkalon’s awesome and hilarious blog if you didn’t actually learn about me via her. Second, go check out the other folks she nominated: Gregory Josephs and R. A. Killam. Third, I’m going to go on a journey to find more new bloggers to follow and motivate and I will return here to nominate them.

So that’s enough with the meta side of things. It’s time to start answering these questions. Hopefully my answers are at least somewhat entertaining. Either way, it’s content, right?

Suppose you crash landed your spaceship on an uninhabited Earth-like planet with fifty of your crew.

1. On your new planet, you have to build a civilisation from scratch. What would your role in the new civilisation be?

Well, I wouldn’t be the leader leader, but I would likely be a delegator, since I’m good at that. I mean, I’m sometimes terrible at doing things myself, but at least I’m able to see clearly all the little pieces that need to get done and I can point at someone and say, “You do this, you do that.”

Not that I wouldn’t also help. I’d certainly get bored once everyone’s off doing their own thing. I’m assuming this isn’t a planet populated largely with chaises, grapes, and palm fronds.

2. In the first week, what would your priorities for the new civilisation be?

Since we crash-landed in a spaceship, I have to guess that the ship had sleeping quarters. If those are still intact, then we can use them. Otherwise, time to build some makeshift apartments from scrap.

I’ve got fifty of my crew with me, so that’s plenty of people to split up without losing too much muscle around camp. I’d send about ten or so people out in pairs in different directions to find food sources for when our rations run out. The majority of the crew, though, would set about taking apart the ship for materials and setting up defenses. I mean, there’s no guarantee we didn’t just land in an uninhabited area of the planet. We might not be as alone as we think.

Oh, and those crew members who’ve been assigned as gatherers for the day are also tasked with finding fermentable crops. You know why.

3. If you were made leader, what are the first three laws you would put in place to govern the society?

I’m really tempted to link to George Carlin’s truncated Ten Commandments, but I’ll refrain.

I wouldn’t even deign to make the laws that should be obvious. We’ve only got fifty people. It’s shouldn’t have to be said that killing each other is a no-no.

So I think my rules would be the following.

  • I don’t think it has to be said that we need to increase our numbers. But as Earthlings, we’re still human. I’m not going to try to govern anyone’s relationships, but pregnant women and new parents (both male and female) will have the benefit of choosing their work for the day, and may take the day off without explanation.
  • If a fellow crew member is on break, you are not to bother him or her, especially if they are reading. Punishment will be based on the individual’s least-preferred task in the society. And don’t even try to pull a Br’er Rabbit on me.
  • Attendance at game night is mandatory.

4. What animals would you domesticate to help your society?

Hopefully a search party has discovered a bacon plant by this point. If not, time to find the most bacon-y creature that inhabits this planet. Preferably something non-sentient but I’m willing to fudge the details a little if it’s not bipedal.

5. What would the worst punishment in your society be? What crime would a person have to commit to earn it?

No alcohol for a week. I think a week of sobriety will help them reflect on whatever it is they’ve done. Unless, of course, they can’t remember what it is they did because of the alcohol. In that case, it would be more beneficial to do some kind of rehab program with incentives for staying off of it. I’m not in the business of demonizing addicts. It’s not like I have room to judge.

6. After a while your society becomes so successful that migrants want to join it. What criteria would you use to decide whom to accept?

See? I told you those defenses were a good idea.

But I’m confused. Are these Earthlings? Or did we discover life? (Or did they discover us?)

If they’re from Earth, I’d suggest they establish their own city. It’s no hard feelings, honest. I just think that if we’re going to rebuild human society on a distant planet, we ought to spread it out a little. And if more come, hopefully they would continue the trend. Then we could eventually get to a point of specializing in certain products and such and we could barter for goods and services.

If they’re aliens, though, here are my criteria: Are they violent? Are they bipedal? Do they taste like bacon?


So those are my answers. Cool? Cool. Also, no one asked, but my city would totally be called Shankopotamia. I think it’s fitting. If you’ve got a blog, please leave a comment with a link to it. I’ve legitimately been trying to follow more blogs but sometimes I don’t know where to look. I’m lazy and it’s easier if they come to me.

Photo by Jonathan M. Hethey on Unsplash


About David Shank

David T. Shank is a writer, runner, and musician, in that order. His blog is hopefully an oasis among the vast ocean of negativity that is the Internet. He lives in Cleveland studying how to write good.


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One thought on “So You’re the Leader of a New Society on an Alien Planet. Now What?

  • A.S. Akkalon

    Haha, excellent answers! Fermentable plants are definitely high priority, though if my high school science serves me right most plants are fermentable, they just taste like sewage (and may be poisonous).

    I volunteer to help search for bacon-flavoured life forms. I can also help out with taste testing.

    Thanks for accepting the award and for your hilarious answers. I will link to this post from mine.