A Tale of the Eighth Mental Structure

Hurrah! Gardner Dozois and Jonathon Strahan, the editors of the anthology NEW SPACE OPERA II, have accepted my short story, ‘The Far End of History’ for their anthology.

Authors such as Neal Asher, John Barnes, Kris Rusch have also sent in stories. Other big names have been asked, but I am not sure who will be in the final anthology.

(I hope John Scalzi will be in, because he and I are allies in the endless struggle against the Pluto-hatahs. Plutonianism is paramount over all other loyalties and considerations: I will vote for any candidate who will officially declare Pluto a Planet. We are planing a Million Mi-Go March on Washington at the end of the year, during a month that we hope to have renamed to "Tsoggoth".)

What is in my story, you ask?

This short story takes place in the same background universe as THE GOLDEN AGE, and details one battle in the long war between the Golden Oecumene and the Silent Oecumene.

A group of dissenters, wishing to leave the war behind them, have fled the 8000 years and lightyears to Eta Carina, there to establish the Chrysopeaen Oecumene: the pacifists have vowed, should they be attacked, not to resist the Silent Lords, on the grounds that slaying a Silent One slays him forever, whereas slaying an immortal only requires he download his next copy from backup archives. However, the peace-lovers fear that they may have brought the deadly soldier Atkins with them, hidden in some coded form in some level of their mental hierarchy.

I enjoyed setting a story in the Eta Carina system: it is an astronomical wonder. It is four million the brightness of our sun, and one hundred times the mass. Eta Carina boasts two giant stars in close orbit, both B-type stars nearing the end of their carbon-burning stage of stellar evolution, which emit thousands of earth-masses worth of matter each hour, so that the shockwaves of the two star’s solar wind causes X-ray bursts that can be detected from Earth. When they ignite, some astronomers think they will not just go nova, but be the type of hyper-supernova whose gamma ray emissions can be detected from other galaxies.

One unrealistic detail in the story, which I hope the readers will forgive, is that these stars are so massive and so unstable that they may go nova at any time. The chances that they would still be in the same unstable condition in the far future when the tale takes places is a little unlikely.

It made me appreciate calm little Sol.