Author's Commentary: ".EXP"
It took me a little while to figure out what to do with this one. The concept of a “post-science” civilization* is a strange one, and, as I discovered while thinking about it, one that would change the very nature of how humans think. No big thing. So I channeled my inner Calvino and created an anthropomorphized timeless race of beings at the end of the universe living in a cluster of black holes. Obviously 😊
I think, of the very different stories that have come out of this project, this one is the most different. For me, story almost always grows out of the structure, and that helps to create the characters who develop within the narrative. But it’s difficult to develop a character whose nature is so alien to a human that it’s nearly impossible to fathom philosophically. So I guess that tension—or the inversion of it (for Balcombe)—became the quest that drove the story. That and a collection of angry SRBS!
I enjoyed writing this one, but I think for the sake of trying to cultivate a more traditional sci-fi audience, I’ll do my best to write much more traditional stories on the regular. It’s just such a challenging concept that I ended up deep in philosophical grounds. Hopefully this change of pace reaches some of the deep thinkers out there and occasionally elicits a chuckle.
And, yes, Calvino totally would end a philosophical story with a dad joke. Just because. What a badass.
* This is a civilization that exists past the point science has been exhausted—everything that can be discovered or understood, at that point, has become known.