The Day the Martians Came
by Frederik Pohl
• Word count: 2579
• Page count: 6
The Day the Martians Came is an interestingly abstract science fiction short story by Frederik Pohl. First published in 1967 it explores the social ramifications of humans discovering an alien race.
The story follows one night of a hotel manager as he struggles to deal with all the reporters in his establishment on the eve of NASA’s returning Algonquin Nine – an expediton to Mars.
On the television screen a hastily edited tape was now showing the return of the Algonquin Nine space probe to Mars but no one was watching it. It was the third time that particular tape had been repeated since midnight and everybody had seen it at least once; but when it changed to another shot of one of the Martians, looking like a sad dachshund with elongated seal-flippers for limbs, one of the poker players stirred and cried: “I got a Martian joke! Why doesn’t a Martian swim in the Atlantic Ocean?”
The Day the Martians Came was first published in Dangerous Visions in 1967. You can read it online for free at the old Scifiction.
You can learn more about the author, Frederik Pohl on Wikipedia.