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Museum

Actually, it's a one-item museum, but some have expressed an interest and so here it is.

You remember that in 'The Story', Errol and Pilgrim talk, during the 3rd Picnic, of how Errol, as a young man came to write a short story about a computer that consumed the universe…..?

"Errol, you seemed to know that all this was going to happen before, …long before…?"

"That's right. Funny that all that should all have come about. I only started it as a kind of joke. Well, more than a joke I suppose, but still something so extraordinarily unlikely, even if possible…"

"Just how did the idea first occur to you?"

"It was odd really. I used to work in London in the late 50s, '58 or 9 I suppose it would have been. I worked at a library in Battersea, in Alternberg Gardens. I used to walk over there from Balham and invent stories for myself as I went along. Sometimes I'd be daydreaming so much about the story I'd take the wrong path. Anyway, on one of those hot afternoons I was thinking about how computers might one day be as bright as humans, and then my daydreaming got more intense and I was suddenly at work with the whole of the short story firmly laid out in my mind. I wrote it up as soon as I got home."

"And the story described all this?"

"No, not quite. The story certainly involved a great computer and its absorption of one human personality, John Derlen as I recall. He makes use of the computer to become the richest man on Earth and then invests the proceeds in extending the computer to which he has a direct mental connection. Eventually the computer consumes the world, and then, well, as you know..."

"I don't actually. I knew of you and your idea, and the Foundation, but I didn't follow how it all started."

"Well, in the story the computer goes on to absorb the sun and the planets of this solar system. It then reaches out to nearby stars and chews its way through the galaxy, steadily converting all the matter than it consumes into a greater self, that is, an ever larger computer. I was writing in 1958, the era of the horror film when all aliens, and in fact anything new and sciency was a threat to the human race, so although I hadn't imagined it that way I now began to shape my story to the current commercial values and made the computer absorb the universe malignantly, destroying all it met."

"So how did it end?"

"Just the way Allta told you. The quest for completeness."

And that is indeed exactly how it happened in (this) real world. The photos below are of that schoolboy's short story. There are two versions; the original manuscript, and a version picked out on a typewriter by a one-finger typist, myself. Neither alas is complete but it is a kind of miracle that they survived at all.





















Finally, let me repeat here Question and Answer22 from FAQs.

Q22. In The Story you say, you imply, that Errol, as a very young man, was somehow "guided" to write the short story that essentially describes the AllTime-Universe scenario, and that this is what actually happened to you. Do you believe that that was one of the 'arrows of destiny' from the preceding universe? And is there anything else you'd like us to believe while you're at it?

A22 I wrote that story when electronic computers were little more than a bright idea and the brightest computer on sale was a not very efficient cash register. There are no actions without causes (sorry Werner, but that's how it is) Exactly what the cause was -who knows? I don't want you to do believing about anything, but I also don't want to stand in the way of any reasonable logical conclusion that you find fits satisfyingly into a bigger picture.