Recently I was reading a collection of short stories by Arthur C. Clarke, one of my favorite science fiction authors. The collection included a few short introductions to some of the stories. In one case, he lamented how many would-be SF writers fell into overused tropes, using as his example a story of two space travelers who land on Earth in the ancient past to become Adam and Eve.
I chuckled, albeit awkwardly, as I thought about “Enmity.”
In my defense, “Enmity” isn’t about the origins of Adam and Eve, but rather what led to their infamy. The serpent, in this case, isn’t the ground-slithering creature we know. Given that the Genesis account puts special emphasis on the creation of humans, made in the image of God, and that the serpent’s “snakeness” happens after it’s cursed, I thought the serpent here ought to be exceptionally unusual. Enter Herpet and a little twist in time.
The title is a direct reference to the Genesis story, by the way. And Herpet (get it?) is the one who instigates the enmity that marks the rest of human history.
This story was another community literary award winner. I thoroughly enjoyed those contests and the opportunity to read excerpts to an audience.
Before anyone gives me grief: Yes, I realize the forbidden fruit almost certainly wasn’t an apple. But I mean, come on, it makes for a great final line!