Salutations, TerraGaians. Or Earthlings as I believe you may prefer to refer to yourselves. Or mirthlings, for those of you who have read Desiderius Erasmus. Or Earthseasers, for those of you currently living on ships, in underwater cities, or working as customer service representatives on marine-located space elevators. Nice to meet you. May you boatswain all your bosons. I come in peaches.
I believe that I may be speaking to you in your 21st century, within one of your calendar systems. I am speaking to you from my e-bookshop on Titan, the moon of Saturn (although in the more upmarket ends of town we consider ourselves superior to the Saturnines and so they may as well be orbiting us), and I am speaking to you from what you might consider to be the 28th century depending on your ideas about the Christina Ricci curvature of spacetime, the cosmological principle, the big rip down the back of the big freeze inside the big bang, and so on. Is it your 21st century that I’m speaking to? It is difficult for us to keep abreast of developments in your calendar systems, which I believe are ruled over by some of your number called Calendar Girls. You seem to have a number of them dispersed across your population with different numbers for different factions. This is what has always struck we Titanians about you TerraGaians: your propensity to form complex triangulations of different groups. Here on Titan we are all one interconnected unity and we act accordingly. We don’t have sport, for example. I have seen your bizarre animistic ceremonies, including the odd weather-worshipping religion of cricket. While they strike us as fascinating, we have no purpoise (or porpoise) for them here, since we do not have a concept of a zero-sum, win/loss operation. Everything here is a 50-50 Nash equilibrium exchange. A sport which is a perpetual draw is not much of a draw. And anyway we’re so busy exploring the multiverse right now that we don’t have any time for such fripperies. I believe that the moment that I speak to you is the early stages of your construction of a Base Lansdorp or a city of Elongated Musk or a Tito-Titan on Mars and your Norman Fost-Star on your little Cynthia-Moon or Diana-Hecate or Armstrongium or whatever you call it these days. Or those days. I wish you good luck with those. Of course since I am speaking to you from your 28th century I already know how those two projects ended up (assuming that you manage to get your act together, work together and herd your Schrodinger cats), but I won’t spoil the Kermodes and the Mayos for you by telling you how your little efforts ended up. I see that your terraforming is in its early stages – I note your success at Luton Town football club in 1985, for instance. I understand that many people travelled from far and wide, even from a place such as Australia, to see your astralia turf. It’s a start. Of course, I shouldn’t say ‘little efforts’ so dismissively. We Titans can be a little arrogant sometimes. I genuinely admire you TerraGaians although there are a few of your foibles that I find rather amusing. But I’m sure that we Titans have our own marble losses from your perspective. Anyway, here we’re all in a state of great excitement because our hot new Lad Gagarian, Lee Lyons, is making his first trip to VY Canis Majoris this year. Of course there are nay-sayers who say that he can’t do it but then people said that about your Magellan when he first circumnavigated a cloud computer didn’t they. As we Titans say in our self-help and sheila heti ebooks: you can do anything that you put your mind to, as long as it’s within the realms of fundamental physics, and assuming that there are realms of fundamental physics, and as long as you throw in a spoonful of cosmic energy into the mixalot.
Anyway. I digress like a tigress. The last time that I got an opportunity to speak to you was in your 17th century. My friend and neighbour, Richard D. Grew, invented a device called the Writer Whisperer in his shed using an Ariel and a Plath and we tried it out enthusiastically. At that time I managed to channel some messages about what our lives are like through one of your lowest classes, the writers, called William Shakespeare-DeVere. You know – the writers, those odd ones who hang around in the back of places like the Herbert George Wells tavern and other shuttlepuck cafes drinking too much moonshine and kobonic acidulous and brian moloko and reading their kindlings and scrabbling about with words that never sell enough to keep the writer’s rent paid. He got a few things right here and there but I am afraid to report that he got a lot wrong. For starters, I don’t have books, I have ebooks. Or more specifically, an ebookshop. And my name is Prospereux, not Prospero. And my daughter isn’t called Miranda. Your man with the quill got that one awry; I was talking to him about the Great Wall of Miranda at the time. And my ebookshop isn’t called the Tempest, it’s called the Tempalimpsest. And I’m not Richard Burton. Nor am I Richard Burton. I apologise for these various misunderstandings. I probably should have bypassed old Will-I-Ambit and whispered straight to his wife Anne Jacqueline Hathaway – it would probably have been a more successful enterprise. Anyway, after all that palava, I have tried to zone into your 21st century and locate another of your low-classes to channel to, but am a bit disappointed to discover that despite the legislative passage of various Alan Moore Laws and a rise in dating sites for your singularities, and despite your recent discovery that light is neither a wave nor a ray, but is instead a kurzweil, that in many ways your history in the period between the 17th and 21st century has witnessed as much retrogression as progression. Certainly many of your writers have got an awful lot worse. Or at least worse-off. I am channelling messages through a certain M.A.Devereux who is proving less accurate than Shakleton. He seems a pretty heureux sort of chap but, alas, he doesn’t seem to have the business acumen or acuity of Shakin’ Williams and isn’t, therefore, a full-time writer yet, so I have to channel to him in scattered moments like the dreams that he has in between his insomnia, and he has an alarming tendency to forget what I tell him by the time he’s friar tucking into his porridge and ginger tea. So I apologise in advance for any further miscommunications; I don’t want to have to go and get a third writer in, say, your 25th century and have to put everything even more straitjacket.
So I wish you TerraGaians well. I do not know when I shall next be able to get a message to you. As I say, if this M.A.Devereux continues to be so unreliable, I may have to discover another one of your lowlies and luvvie lovelies. Perhaps a more successful writer like your Will Bookshelf – you know, the one who wrote that codex, you know, those books you had before ebooks, what was it – “The Johnny Rotten carcass of the Butt” or something – or that Hilary Mantlepiece, the one who used to just have a nap on the hill and who wins all your literary prizes – maybe they might prove a more harmonious and accurately receptive 21st century ear. Or maybe I’ll go for Christopher ‘SimCity’ Simmons, the famous author of the nonvel “Coup d’Oeuil Painting”. It’s rather hard getting messages through such a lot of timespace-causality without it all getting a bit Chinese whisper room. But I shall keep trying and who knows – perhaps one of these days you’ll be going to see a version of the Tempalimpsest in one of your New Interplanetary Globe Theatres, where hopefully you can get more of a detailed insight into the lives of we Titaniums under the wise and beneficient stewardship of our great Kingmensch Uberwrong-UbuRoi and our new space exploration programme, Zara-rocket-thustra. Perhaps you 21st century TerraGaians might also learn a few things about our homeostatic regulation of our planetarium, where everything from our economy to our ecolonomy to our aquaponics and aquaphonics are in constant balance. I hear that sometimes you get a few little inequalities and bubbles and chewbacca lip manias here and there. I heard some of your Zero Hedge funds get a bit overexcited here and there…and you seem to sometimes have rather a lot of Bell’s inequality of wealth on your planet….But there I go again – that propensity for arrogance. I do admit that we sometimes get a bit proud of ourselves. Particularly when we compare our sidmeiers with those mime-artists over on Mimas or those spiders from Mars or the total drop-outs from Venus or those Mercurians with their eccentric orbits, or those lot who are tethered to Tethys (they’re very nice actually, a lot of my very best friends live there, but they are more isolationist than Tokugawa-era Japan and they don’t tend to like to travel beyond Tethys very often).
But look at me moaning – that isn’t very Thomas Nashe equilbrium is it?
It’s just that we Titans have organised one or two things rather well and we’re very positron about it all. Which is why we want to share and exchange so much with you. Though I do confess that while within our planetary domain and demesne we have solved the 50-50 equilibrium problem by using an Equilibriometer, which assesses what both sides of a transaction require from each other, we do sometimes struggle when we encounter other civilisations to find what we can meet each other halfway on, simply because of our tendency to consider ourselves superior. I mean, I can’t help but feel so sorry for you all when I see the state of your dating sites. Here on Titan we have algorithms that chart an exact 50-50 match prior to first date so that people find their exact platonic other half without having to spend uncountable light years and kiloparsecs going on embarrassing and fruitless speed dates eating dates with people with the wrong length of eyelashes or a lack of requisite interest in the brush style of Renoir.
But I’m sure there is plenty we actually can learn from you if you manage to get an astronautilus up to meet us by, say, the 22nd century. Which may have already happened or not, but I don’t want to spoil the story and tell you what the uncertain view from Heisenberg mountain here on Titan is.
Anyway. I must away now, because I have to close up the shop for the night and then go and play my Fender Stratosphere and organonitrogen for a few hours before bedtime. I did get invited down the Xanadu Nightclub again (the famous one here in Shangri-Las-Angeles with the massive subwoofers in the Krylov subspace) by my friend Netizen Kane but I’m not sure I can be bothered to be honest. As you pass your seven hundredth year – which I believe approximates roughly to your thirties in TerraGaian years – you start to slow down a bit. I’m not quite the ravi shastri raver that I used to be. Can’t always find the tesla energy for revels and revellions and Inigo Jones masqueraves the way I used to. I used to be leader of the pacman but I’m getting a bit shangri-la as I age. After a certain orbital period you find yourself wanting to stay in a bit more often listening to Orbital records. And eating a jolly tasty dark matter pie with a cheeky Chocky-Icy and drinking a nice cup of tranquili tea, which is harvested on your Cynthia base from the Sea of Tranquility…but I better not mention that, of course, because you don’t know yet, presumably, if you’re in the early 21st century, whether or not you TerraGaians manage to co-operate enough to set up a base there, and I don’t want to spoil your narratives for you….
Also I have an exciting new product that I’m diversifying into, the Rubikon cubesat, so I need to get that ready for the shop…
Luvved-ups and kissfishes, particularist accelerations, exponential growbags, peter greenaways and greenaway petri-dishes and fundamental fizzy icicles,
And don’t let the nay-sayers and their dark energy get you down – none of it really matters, after all. If something upsets you, get back on your feet and make the world beautiful and rainbow-coloured again. Don’t cry like a cryovolcano. And always look on the bright eyes side of life.
64 Moonington Crescent
Huygens Heights (just round the corner from the Hotel Arcus)