Three Million Square Miles



A man learns that three million square miles of land are unused in the United States. He goes looking for this land and has a frightening experience when he finds some between two highways.


  • The total area of the United States is 3,719,000 square miles (according to Wolfram Alpha). The story gives 3,628,150, which is a common textbook figure for this area. It doesn't seem to be true (today) that 90% of it is undeveloped -- it ought to be at least 95%. Is the protagonist wrong, or is this story set in an eco-catastrophic future? (The publication of this story in an anthology called The Ruins of Earth is a strong hint.) His attitude toward nature, that all land should be "used" by man, is immoral by our standards. Getting him lost in the remaining wilderness may be nature's revenge.

Unresolved Questions

  • Was it A or was it B, or was it X or Z?
  • Was it he or was it she, or was it you or me?
  • Who dunnit?
  • Did the Star Child really start WWIII at the end of 2001?

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