Story of meat

This post was written by Friday guest blogger Annie Reid.

In the last few months, I’ve been soliciting reader suggestions for the best short stories ever. Thanks to the alarmingly large number of you charming and opinionated types who wrote in, and stragglers are always welcome (annie at maud newton dot com). I’ll try and get around to posting them, but possibly when I’m less hungover. (It’s what they call a statutory holiday here in Canada – Remembrance Day. Everyone wears little plastic red poppies in their lapel and walks around for the month of November looking absolutely smashing. The thing to do, apparently, is to crash the local Legion and raise a few with the vets. Everyone’s welcome at the Legion on Remembrance Day. Needless to say, me and the poker buddies got started early.)

In my last call, I wanted suggestions for genre short stories, and reader Darby filled my heart with great joy by sending me a link for one of the most delightful short stories I have ever read. This was published in Omni magazine in the early 90’s and reprinted in Harper’s, which is where I first read it. I cut it out and let it yellow on my fridge for several years. Then when I moved, I put in a manilla file folder, labelled it “Things on Fridge – early nineties” and put it in an enormous box with many other similarly labelled manilla file folders in no discernable order. Needless to say, I’ve never seen it again, and now you know something very unfortunate about my personality.

But Darby has returned this tale of meat to my life. (Please go check out delightful Darby’s blog here.)

I give you Terry Bisson’s brilliant, “They’re Made Out of Meat”. Excerpt below, but the whole thing is available here.

“They’re made out of meat.”


“Meat. They’re made out of meat.”


“There’s no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They’re completely meat.”

“That’s impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?”

“They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don’t come from them. The signals come from machines.”

“So who made the machines? That’s who we want to contact.”

“They made the machines. That’s what I”m trying to tell you. Meat made the machines.”

“That’s ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You’re asking me to believe in sentient meat.”


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