The Synthetic Men of Mars

alien head

© A Mixed Bag 2009
[Synthetic Alien Head from the National Space Centre, Leicester, UK]

“So why bring me here to see a bloody fake alien head, Ian?”

“It’s synthetic Dolores, not fake.”

“What’s the difference?”

“The difference, you silly twit, is that fake means it’s totally not alien. Synthetic means it’s an artificial head made by aliens.”

“Now that’s just stupid.”

“No it’s not. Listen. I was talking to the Professor and…”

“The Professor is just some homeless bloke who lives in the park and who’s been off his nut for years.”

“He’s smart, I tell you. He says he’s done his research on the head and it belongs to a race of synthetic men created by aliens to take over the Earth.””

“Oh is that so? Then why didn’t they take over?”

“Turns out that the old H.G. Wells novel wasn’t entirely fiction. The synthetics had no immunity to our diseases. They all died out because they caught the cold.”

“You are so gullible, Ian. Now take me to the cinema like you promised.”

The National Space Centre curator Patrick Moore had been listening to the conversation. “Damn kids came too close to the truth. I see sacking the Professor wasn’t enough. I’ll have to take stronger measures.”

Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge for July 30th 2017. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long based on the image above. My word count is 195.

Since the caption read “synthetic” rather than “fake,” I thought I’d take my cue from that for my story. The title is from the old Edgar Rice Burroughs novel Synthetic Men of Mars which is the ninth book in his “John Carter of Mars” series. Of course, I’m also suggesting that the H.G. Wells novel “War of the Worlds” had some basis in fact. But it’s just all for fun.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to