I’m writing a short story where a species of aliens wipe out all life they encounter because they see life as a threat since it accelerates entropy. However, many of the methods used for destruction, like atom bombs, lasers, etc, are horribly inefficient entropy wise. What would be the best way to wipe out all life on earth in an entropy friendly way?

New contributor
user31646 is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Nov 26 at 20:49

Turn down the sun

Your aliens add material to the sun intended to quench fusion. Less fusion slows down entropy. It has the added benefit of chilling the planets and stopping life processes.


If the aliens do not have the tech to quench a star, they could just insert an object to shade the earth, perhaps at the L1 Lagrange point or in a tight interior orbit around the star. Large flat sheets would work. Shade will cool the earth down. Possibly deep Earth life might still persist, warmed by the Earths inner heat. Surface life will freeze.

  • $\begingroup$ Possibly related: worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/162093/… $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Nov 26 at 1:23
  • $\begingroup$ The problem with inhibiting fusion in a star is that it would cause the star to collapse, generating a level 12 shockwave which destroys all planets in the system. $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Nov 26 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Qami - the problem with putting on the brakes is that you stop. Unless you don't put them on so much. Then you slow down. The starquenchers go that second route. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Nov 26 at 17:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Willk: Most assuredly! I was just taking the opportunity to reference the major plot point in Star Trek: Generations, for any who might appreciate it :) $\endgroup$
    – Qami
    Nov 26 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ Do you know of any fusion quenching materials? $\endgroup$
    – user31646
    Nov 26 at 19:18

Make a virus that kills all living organisms.

An advanced, interstellar civilization probably has powerful enough computers to quickly build a virus that can kill everyone they want dead.

Have it lie dormant for a few months of years while it spreads, and then trigger at a particular time.

Just drop it down, and a few kilos of package can quickly spread to kill everyone.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Killing all living things is actually a pretty big ask for a virus, or even a panoply of viruses. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Nov 26 at 1:16
  • $\begingroup$ Engineered viruses can be pretty dangerous, and as I noted, the aliens probably have a lot of big super computers. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Nov 26 at 9:48
  • $\begingroup$ What if it was a kind of bacteria that broke down living matter, tailored to the planet’s life? Kinda like that proposed bacteria that would break down plastic, but with tissue, membranes etc instead $\endgroup$
    – user31646
    Nov 26 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ @user31646 - which tissues, which membranes? Insects' circulatory systems, optical systems, gas transfer systems, are nothing like mine. Even less like mine - a mushroom. Or a lichen. The issue here is "all living things". And to Nep - super computers don't make viruses magically able to cross families of life. Nothing you could do to a tobacco virus could make it kill me while retaining its ability to kill a tobacco plant. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Nov 26 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ @jdunlop You raise an excellent point. I like your sun idea, but just to explore some different options, is there some way to engineer an organism disrupt the basic building blocks of life as we know it? Disrupting DNA/rNA to the point where life becomes sterile? $\endgroup$
    – user31646
    Nov 26 at 20:23

Your Answer

user31646 is a new contributor. Be nice, and check out our Code of Conduct.

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.