Science fiction hunt: no one ever dies
November 26, 2008 6:09 PM   Subscribe

A science-fiction story which claims that no one ever dies.

I read once a science fiction story in which no one ever dies. As any one person dies, their consciousness leaps to a less-likely version of themselves which manages to live, no matter how unlikely this may be. Everyone ends the only person alive, living on and on by themselves for millennium. Can anyone remember who wrote this story? I think I found it online once, but I've got no idea where now.
posted by stoneegg21 to Writing & Language (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Try this list of quantum immortality in fiction?
posted by pravit at 6:36 PM on November 26, 2008

Clearly not the same story, but MeFi's own localroger wrote an online fiction about a universe manipulated by a robot who cannot allow humans to die.
posted by pwnguin at 6:52 PM on November 26, 2008

A lot of SF at least touches on this kind of thing. Greg Egan, for one, writes about human consciousness being uploaded into computers, and effectively living forever. I'm not sure about his short stories, though.
posted by zardoz at 10:28 PM on November 26, 2008

Was this something that was written for an online audience primarily, or could it have been published in an actual collection? Are there any more details you can think of? Any of the main characters, or a plot, or another notable detail of the setting? This sounds intriguing.
posted by Bakuun at 10:39 PM on November 26, 2008

There are elements of this sort of quantum tunneling into the best possible (or at least survivable) outcome against all probability in Greg Egan's "Quarantine" as well, but not this exact story.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:00 PM on November 26, 2008

Not your story specifically, but it is also used as a subplot by Iain M Banks in "Feersum Endjinn"
posted by michswiss at 11:25 PM on November 26, 2008

I know this has been asked and answered on RASFW, but I can't recall the answer offhand. It's not "All the Myriad Ways" or Egan. If nobody knows I'll find out from RASFW again.
posted by Justinian at 11:38 PM on November 26, 2008

This happens in a book I read recently, but it's a long book and it's only revealed at the end. To give the title would be a real spoiler.

gur obbx jnf nangurz; urer'f fbzr whax gb znxr vg uneq gb thrff.
posted by grobstein at 12:11 AM on November 27, 2008

Response by poster: It hasn't been anything posted so far, I checked out "All the Myriad Ways." The story was pretty scary for me, because it postulates that everyone will essentially end up permanently alone and end up mad. It stuck in my memory pretty well.
posted by stoneegg21 at 7:37 AM on November 27, 2008

Well, that would be not the thing I suggested.
posted by grobstein at 7:46 AM on November 27, 2008

I can't imagine it's what you suggested; the OP wouldn't say "I once read" about a book he had to have read in the last month and a half, as it was just recently published.

OP: How long ago did you read this story?
posted by Justinian at 8:42 AM on November 27, 2008

Response by poster: I most recently read it within the last couple of years. I think I'd read it before, when I was younger, but I'm not really sure. If it helps, I think it was written in a sort of 'Hey, you" style, where the supposed author was addressing the reader.
posted by stoneegg21 at 8:49 AM on November 27, 2008

It really sounds a lot like Robert Charles Wilson's "Divided by Infinity" (also on the link pravit provided.) IIRC it's written in a style similar to what you described, with the protagonist telling his story. It was published in 1998.
posted by Authorized User at 10:18 AM on November 27, 2008

That really does sound like a Robert Charles Wilson device! (I haven't read that one though.)
posted by grobstein at 1:40 PM on November 27, 2008

I sort of feel like I've read that one, and I almost want to say it's by Harlan Ellison, but I'll be damned if I know how to figure out which one.
posted by Caduceus at 11:49 PM on November 27, 2008

The story was pretty scary for me, because it postulates that everyone will essentially end up permanently alone and end up mad.

This description certainly leans towards Ellison.
posted by Caviar at 11:54 AM on November 28, 2008

If I were you I'd take this to rec.arts.sf.written (the RASFW that Justinian mentioned). There's no one out there better at identifying half-remembered science fiction stories.
posted by Kattullus at 8:29 AM on November 30, 2008

« Older What does "time of birth" really mean?   |   Is there a proper name for feather hair pieces? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.