Monday, May 12, 2008

The Suspension of Disbelief

The planet is a ball of fire, and space is cold as ice.

Between the two is a thin layer where the planet's fire, exposed to space, has cooled into a crust and a mist of strange gases.

And in the crust there are places where the water gathers.

And you and I can float in those places, with the water between us and the crust of this burning planet, with a thin layer of mist between us and the cold and endless depths of space.

That is where we live, that is where all the things we know are, even the biggest things, sunny days and blue skies that "go on forever" and sea shores, everything, they are nowhere else.

All of that is contained within this thin layer of mist.

All the wars we ever fought with nature, and each other, and ourselves, all our most daring sea voyages and campaigns, all the things we thought really mattered, all our thoughts and dreams and hopes and fears, all of it happened within that thin layer of mist between an inferno and the deadly cold and empty heavens beyond the skies.

We're made of the mist, strange materials coughed up by one inferno after another as it travelled all the way out here from places unimaginable, debris that cooled under the light of the stars, and warmed slightly under the light of the sun.

And we are so small, really, so small that it really doesn't matter whether the planet is round or flat, whether it is a ball of fire, or a wall of flame, or a bottomless inferno, it is all the same to us.

And space is so large and hostile and inaccesible that it might as well be an infinite wall of cold, a prison at the center of an endless wasteland has no need for walls.

And as we sail through the seas of this world, in this thin layer of mist that we are allowed to travel within, and we come to see the same familiar islands, once again, it doesn't really matter whether the planet is round, or that the gods were just being cheap with the expansion packs.

It doesn't make the beer taste any different.

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