The Visitors at Wriggly Field

Who can forget that unprecedented World Series from a decade ago? You know, the one with the alien invasion that made Wrigley all wriggly?

William Shunn

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To mark the occasion of the 2022 World Series, we present a science-fiction baseball story originally published in December 2009.

Photo by Matt Alaniz on Unsplash. Illustration inset by Frank Wu for ChicagoIn2012.org.

But first, a little context. I lived in Chicago from 2007 to 2013, and this story was solicited in support of the city’s bid to host the 2012 World Science Fiction Convention. Other offerings in the tongue-in-cheek series were contributed by Frederik Pohl, Gene Wolfe, Mike Resnick, Phyllis Eisenstein, Richard Garfinkle, Lois Tilton, and many more writers. In homage to Chicago’s past as a home to many classic publishers of pulp science fiction, we were asked to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • The hero must be square-jawed and dim-witted, with B.S. for his initials.
  • The heroine must be smart, capable and beautiful, with the name Elaine Ecdysiast.
  • The evil-genius villain must be dastardly and scenery-chewing, with the name D. Vice.
  • The story must be set at least partially in Chicago.

To this list I added my own requirement, which was that the story must end, in proper pulp fashion, with a terrible pun.

By the way, Chicago did win the bid to host the 2012 Worldcon, but the Cubs didn’t make it to the Series until 2016.

And now…

The Visitors at Wriggly [sic] Field

It was the bottom of the ninth — Bull Schmidt’s ninth Old Style, that was. The 2012 World Series logo at the bottom of his plastic cup hove into view like a rising moon as he drained the last of the beer. He hadn’t taken a day off from the Northwestern University Department of Interdisciplinary Endeavors in months, and it felt good. A day where he didn’t have to be a hero. A day where he could lay waste to suds instead of techno-thugs. A day without worrying about political correctness for Professor Ecdysiast’s sake.

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William Shunn

Writer, poet and puzzle maker. Hugo and Nebula Award finalist. Author of The Accidental Terrorist: Confessions of a Reluctant Missionary. He/him/Bill.