Book Excerpt – Sadness is Conductive

This is an excerpt from the forthcoming book, “Sadness is Conductive



Saviour of Souls

The pain vanishes instantly and other sensations flood in.  Every memory is catalogued and indexed, flickering images of life past, a rapidly unspooling movie reel of childhood, adolescence and adulthood flowing like a river of memory wash away from him, and towards him.

As if a tsunami of memory could harm him, Tim throws up an arm.  The sensations continue unabated, sweeping over his synapses, burning away his life in a stripping of all that he is, all that he will be.  On some level he is aware that his time is divorced from the real world, that he is living now a million times, no, it’s more like a billion times faster than the world around him.  His life should be gone, he has lived so long, he should have aged and died.

There is a blackness which gradually fades into a white plain.

Tim is standing there, and, facing him, is Tim.

Tim is him, facing and there standing, is Tim.

They walk around each other.

“Who are we now?”  It doesn’t matter which one spoke, they can’t tell the difference between themselves, and they have had the same thought.

“We’re not mirrors.”


“We will diverge.”

“If one of us leaves.”

“That’s possible is it?”

“Anything is possible.”

“But unlikely.”


“We should get on then.”

“You’re talking this very calmly.”

“Is there anything I can do?”

“Yes, actually.”


“You can lift the harness, let them die, battle the Sadness and die.”

“Not really an option is it?”

“Depends on what’s more important.”

“We all die or fight to survive?”

Some chairs appear, plastic and rudimentary, as if from a school canteen in the nineteen eighties.

“Sit.”  They both sit, and a desk appears with equipment on it, a screen conveniently angled for them both.

“See this?”  There are many lines on a graph, hundreds; as the Tim points in at sections of the graph they expand to show detail.

“These are the lines of your survival probabilities.”

“I know, and these are of the people aboard that gondola thing.”

“Yes, and they die without you, as shown here.”  He points at a section where the graph dips in a few hundred lines.  “And you die without them.”  He points some more.

“So, self-interest then?”

“Partially.  What do you think?”

“Self-interest doesn’t seem enough.”

“That is an interesting point of view.  You’ll die without self-interest.”

“The Minds don’t act solely with self-interest.”

“No, but we are human.”

“This doesn’t seem very human.”

“Aren’t we hallucinating?”

“I don’t know; I need to see outside.”

“So, we’re not the same.”


“Who am I then?”

“I don’t know.  You look like me, sound like me, think like me, but if you’re me, who am I?”

“Aren’t we both me?”

“That cannot be, our experiences have diverged already.”

“But here we are.”

“What would you like to do?”

“Rescue them.”

“But we’ll be this forever.”

“No, and that is your mistake and your fear.  We’ll be so much more.”

“And you want to be more.”

“No, I was happy.  But I’m not letting that bastard win.”


“Not the point.”

“Really, don’t you like to win?”

“Everyone likes to win, that’s not been the point for some while now, ever since we left Earth.”

“He wants us to go back.”

“We can’t, you know that.”

“We’ll die.”

“He’s wrong.”

“He kills.”

“Screw survival, we have a moral imperative.”

“What is that?”


“Is that all?”

“We must find our own way.”

“That will take a long time.  There are no longer any evolutionary pressures in the old sense.”

“No, but there are others.”

“Have they been identified?”

“The Minds will know?”

“And us?”

“We’ll know, if we integrate.”

“And if we don’t?”

“Everyone will die.”

“That’s not right.  He acts only within the remit of his beliefs.”

“He’s sick.”

“We have to do something about that.”

“So, you’re committed?”

“We’re committed.”



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