How to Seduce Apophis

Mary Soon Lee

How to Seduce Apophis


Open with an invitation
to the little asteroid,

a private appointment
with the planet Earth:

Friday 13, April 2029,
a day ripe for apocalypse.

Raise Apophis’ hopes
as you nudge him nearer.

Even little guys dream
of making an impact.

Whisper of the dinosaurs
destroyed by an asteroid.

Toy with him till you tire
then break your promises.

Cancel your invitation.
Let him look, but not touch.


Mary Soon Lee was born and raised in London, but has lived in Pittsburgh for over twenty years. She writes both fiction and poetry, and has won the Rhysling Award and the Elgin Award. Her work has appeared in Analog, Asimov’s, Daily SF, F&SF, Science, and Strange Horizons. She has an antiquated website at and tweets at @MarySoonLee.

Editor’s Notes: Apophis (also known as Apep) is the Great Serpent, enemy of the sun god Ra, in ancient Egyptian religion. But here, Apophis is a 370-meter diameter near-Earth asteroid that caused a brief period of concern in December 2004 because initial observations indicated a probability of up to 2.7% that it would hit Earth on April 13, 2029, but NASA scientists effectively have ruled out the possibility the asteroid Apophis will impact Earth during a close flyby in 2036 []. The impact odds as they stand now are less than one in a million. According to Allen Marquette (education coordinator for the Prince William Sound Science Center), asteroid 99942 Apophis, though a mere 900 feet across, weighs hundreds of thousands of tons. An impact would destroy an area the size of Texas. But I hasten to add that extinction level event would result from an Everest-size rock—10 km. The artist impression is that of a grossly oversized killer asteroid:

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