The End of the World

The dramatic backdrop to the Harlan Ellison story Life Hutch is a fierce battle between mankind and the alien Kyben race. Ellison describes the war:

They are lords and owners of their universe. As far as the photon can be flung, from the Coalsack to the Hub, from the Melting Ridge to Fomax, Cetus and Sculptor...they are all that abides of intelligent life. Once there were two species that sailed on the star-winds...humans birthed in the steaming ooze of the planet Earth...and the humanoid, but not human, Kyben whose home-world Kyba came to be the spawning ground of alien ambition.

And they met, and they fought. It should have never have been; there was vastness and solitude for all, worlds beyond worlds that neither could have settled in twice ten billion years. But for each race there had been thousands of years of ethnocentricity, uncounted centuries of ego and rapacity, during which time nothing stood against them. And each race came to think it was The Noblest Experiment, masters of the cosmic ephemeris, rulers of the far starfields. So when they met, they bared their fangs...and went to war.

For two hundred years they laid waste to everything around them. And in the end, one destroyed the other. But which the vanquisher, and which the vanquished?

Now, five million years after the last battle between Earth and Kyba, on the world once known as Epsilon lndi IV, the descendants of those born to Earth...or Kyba...have returned to the battlefield.

(Harlan Ellison, Life Hutch)

Concept animation