Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Schild's Ladder 1 - Greg Egan

"“The danger doesn't seem real to me,” Yann admitted. “Viro is seventeen light-years away, and we can't be sure that this thing won't snuff itself out before it even grazes the shell of the Quietener. But I would like to know the general law that replaces the Sarumpaet rules. It's been twenty thousand years! It's about time we had some new physics.”

Cass turned to Bakim.

He shrugged. “What else are we going to do? Play charades?”

Cass was outnumbered, and she wanted to be swayed. She ached to get her hands on even the smallest piece of evidence that the disaster could be contained, and if they failed, it would still be the least morbid way to go out: struggling to the end to find a genuine cause for optimism.

But they were fooling themselves. In the few subjective minutes left to them, what hope did they have of achieving that?

She said simply, “We'll never make it. We'll test one hunch against the data, find it's wrong, and that will be it.”

Rainzi smiled as if she'd said something comically naïve. Before he spoke, Cass recalled what it was she had forgotten.

What it was she had become.

He said, “That's how it will seem for most of us. But that shouldn't be disheartening. Because every time we fail, we'll know that another version of ourselves will have tested another idea. There will always be a chance that one of them was right.”"

5 out of 5

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