Not a missive per se but close; so close that I’m willing to bend my own rules just this once. This incredibly short story was sent by Arthur C. Clarke to the editor of Analog magazine in March of 1984, along with a short handwritten note on its cover. The humorous 31-word tale – siseneG – was later printed in the publication’s May issue.

Transcript follows. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.


This is the only short story I’ve written in ten years or so.

I think you’ll agree that they don’t come much shorter.

(Signed, ‘Arthur C Clarke’)

21 Mar 84

(Appearing in Analog, ? 1984)

© Arthur C Clarke 1984

The Story

Arthur C Clarke

And God said: DELETE lines One to Aleph. LOAD. RUN.
And the Universe ceased to exist.

Then he pondered for a few aeons, sighed, and added: ERASE.
It never had existed.