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Misque Press

Burst (Science Fiction short story)

Burst (Science Fiction short story)

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This hard science fiction story, in the tradition of Ben Bova, Stephen Baxter and Greg Egan, looks to the most unexpected place for intelligent life…the raging inferno of heat and energy that existed right after the Big Bang.

Microseconds after the Big Bang, the universe seethed at a temperature of trillions of decrees, with a superdense soup of quarks and gluons. These particles were almost evenly divided between matter and antimatter, which collided in “bursts” of tremendous energy. With so much energy and so many kinds of exotic particles created in the bursts, it is possible that life could have existed in those few microseconds. Such lifeforms would have had a metabolism and lifespan trillions of times hotter and faster than our own…and any sentient beings would have experienced consciousness at superspeed compared to our own lumbering thoughts. To them, it would have seemed only normal, since everything in their environment would have been just as hot, dense and fast.

Thousands or even millions of generations could have passed for such lifeforms before the matter-antimatter bursts burned out. But no matter how long it seemed for them, eventually it was doomed to end, as the antimatter ran out, the cosmic soup cooled, and quarks and gluons bonded into protons and neutrons. The process that eventually enabled our form of life would have been their death knell.

What if they knew?

What if they fought their fate?

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