If you’re reading this, you have either missed the point of or ignored the warnings of a dystopian science fiction novel and decided to invent the device, artificial intelligence, or various ray that the writer was clearly warning you about. This is a brief guide to your new reality.

This guide is strictly for any technological or scientific breakthroughs, so if you have summoned any demons, made deals with any ghosts, or brought anything back to life by mystical means please turn to page seven. If you brought something to life by technological means, then please read on.

1. Congratulations

It is important to acknowledge one’s successes and celebrate them accordingly.

You have achieved technological and/or scientific heights only dreamt about up until now. In fact, most of these technological and scientific heights were previously dreamt about, written down, and grave warnings were issued and yet you decided to persevere. That’s certainly worthy of some type of acknowledgment.

2. Don’t Panic

That’s also from a novel. Panicking never really helped anyone through anything, and I’m sure you’ll note in whatever science fiction novel you chose to ignore dedicated some chapters to some kind of panicking.

That really should have been your first clue to stop what you’re doing.

Take some deep calming breaths and be mindful that there are several levels to the destruction you have wrought upon the one livable place we humans are aware of in the Universe. At worst, there will be no one around to remember that it was you who created whatever it was that destroyed the Earth. At best, the destruction of the Earth will be named after you, and as they say “no press is bad press.”

3. The Off Switch

If you include one, please utilize it now. There’s a sense of humility in including an off switch, and perhaps you are humble? Think about how the novel, whose very clear warnings you skimmed over while being enthralled with the very destructive thing that was happening, dealt with the destruction.

This is also a great opportunity for you to reflect on the type of scientist you are, beyond one who felt their humanities classes were a waste of time.

If you didn’t include one, proceed to the next step.

4. So, You Decided Not to Include an Off Switch

While not your best decision, it is probably not the time to dive back into those blueprints or the original novel to see where you could have installed one. Perhaps this is a lesson learned for next time. Remember to stay optimistic.

This is the moment to really think about the type of device you’ve created, and what it did. Certainly, there was some good in the original creation, you just chose to ignore the very clear worst-case scenario. However, that is going to clearly have an effect on the environment in which you have now trust everyone.

Try to think about the level of destruction you’ve chosen to cause on a scale of one to ten.

One being that life is technically habitable, but it will be difficult. Maybe start stocking up potatoes and hope your glasses don’t break when you find that library. Maybe the device you created just threw the moon off its axis or caused trees to have feelings. These can be considered “minor apocalypses.” The word “apocalypse” is certainly bad but perhaps “minor” might help manage expectations.

Ten being that this particular novel noted that the protagonists had spaceships and were able to travel elsewhere after stopping the cruel cruel monster (that’s you, in this scenario) that invented the “Burn All the Atmosphere” weapon, creating a lower class that was stuck on Earth with no chance of survival, and an upper class that raced towards space creating a type of brutal class-based and space-based warfare, with all of the blood being on one person’s hands. (Yours.)

Of course, this is just a sliding scale. You read the book that inspired you and can only answer this question.

5. Acceptance

You have tried your best and it turns out your best was ignoring all the clear warnings of the book that said, “don’t do this” and now you’re either waiting for a mob to enact revenge, or more luckily, the mob is more preoccupied with fighting the army of whatever that now have free will than it is to come after you.

The important thing is that you accept your role in all of this and remember that now is not the tie to burn any metaphorical bridges. (Please note that all the physical bridges to your location should be burned.)

Should you have created some new type of life that views you as its parent, then lean into it. If your scientific creation did sprout volcanoes all over the Earth, threaten to do it again. These are just examples, but this is the time to really accept what you’ve done. Get a cape. Start going by a name that’s actually an adjective or adverb. Adding a military rank in front of it will also help.

What did the scientist do in the novel you read? This is the second-best time to start thinking “that’s what I would do.” The first, of course, would have been before you invented the apocalypse device in the first place, and that really should have been “not invented it.”

This step presumes there will be people left to fear and worship you but honestly, you are out of career options. “Destructor of the Earth” is a real resume builder.

6. Stock Up on More Dystopian Novels

Or as you shall hereto refer to them as “Guidebooks for navigating your current reality.”