“Billennium” — J. G. Ballard

J.G. Ballard is best known for his novels Crash and Empire of the Sun, both of which were made into major motion pictures. He was also the author of sixteen other novels, including The Drowned World, The Burning World, The Crystal World, Super-Cannes, Millennium People, and Kingdom Come. Ballard was also the author of more than 100 short stories, all of which are collected in the mammoth collection The Complete Stories of J. G. Ballard. He died in 2009.

In the 1960s, the National Institute of Mental Health funded Dr. John B. Calhoun’s famous mouse research.  He built a Mouse Wonderland with all the food, water and nesting materials a mouse community could ever need.  The little creatures rejoiced in their new, predator-free environment.  They lived good lives and had many babies.

Too many babies.

Without any kind of predation or undernourishment, the mice soon filled their wonderland—then over-filled the space.  Problems flared, with mother mice failing their maternal duties and male mice sinking into passivity.  At a certain point, society crashed.  No new mice were born.  And the mouse wonderland went from overcrowded to empty.  The mice simply went extinct.

There are scientists who believe that unless we change our behavior, humans might face a similar future.  They predict a world too crowded for sane living. 

Perhaps those scientists have peeked into the world of our next story.