[5] Merlin Dreams of Newton

Merlin Dreams of Newton

Here everything is bound by magic, which is to say it is tacked together haphazardly.

Suppose one wishes to fly away on holiday, one must open a book, gather herbs in the forest, mutter and stir. Though it won’t work without a certain knack, and no-one can explain what that is. Indeed, no-one can explain much of anything. Children’s stories tell of a place where a small set of rules, stronger than any spell, governs all nature, where the alignment of planets leaves daily lives untouched. Where stars and people are made of the same democratic atoms. A scientific republic.

[4] Landers


This world is inhabited by a lethargic species, whose members’ skin harvests energy directly from light. Neither do they die, nor do they reproduce. They are capable of racing across their planet’s featureless surface at great speed. Yet they never move. Their minds are able to weigh up many million thoughts at once. When meteor showers streak across the cloudless sky, they can tell instantly where each rock will be in ten thousand years. They would beat you at chess, Starcraft or Go, should they wish to do so. And that is the problem. They have no need of wishes.

[3] Faith


In this world God exists and undertakes many acts to prove it. She has written “I exist (God)” in stars. She often swoops down to Earth to pat babies, cure the sick and give clues to physics problems. She is an unusual dancer. Her grooves are mysterious.

Despite all this, a large group of people refuse to believe in her. They gather to spread the bad news, insisting you must have faith, and that – although they provide no evidence beyond their own intuitions – “that lady ain’t God, and you better not believe in her, otherwise you’re headed straight to hell.”

[2] Freedom of youth

Freedom of youth

Here each generation is long lived.

They have sufficient time to develop languages, agriculture, civilisation; to invent religions and sciences; to reflect on their condition through art. When they reach maturity, they lay eggs deep within the planet in caverns warmed by nuclear heat.

While the eggs gestate, their parents-in-waiting return to the surface where they dismantle everything: raze the cities, pulp the books – until no work of their hands is left. Once they die, the eggs hatch to a world that appears untouched.

Why go to all this trouble? Because they want their children to have what they had.

[1] Snow


For the most part this is a tranquil place.

An ancient castle overlooks the houses below, snow lies thick on the ground and on the roofs, all encompassed by the great glass dome of the sky.

But infrequently and without warning a terrible disaster befalls those here. Black shadows trace across the heavens, five dark pillars.

A heaviness comes as gravity increases, relaxes, disappears, returns stronger, repeats. The snow rises from the ground and swirls about in the air. After an age, with a thud the world stops moving; the snow continues to draw wild spirals, before finally settling again.