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Why There Are No Type-C Civilizations

Written by Marvin Minsky and David Gerrold
Illustrated by Jonathan Rollins


On the scale of hypergalactic events, names are unnecessary. Any event occurring on the hypergalactic scale is, by definition, unique. Therefore, naming the event is redundant, unnecessary, and irrelevant.

Nevertheless, for the convenience of the moment, let us identify two phenomena; call them Fred and Ethel. These names are only for convenience. Make no assumptions of gender, nature, or personality from either of these identifiers; only that we identify Fred and Ethel as two hypergalactic phenomena existing as wavelike phenomena moving through time-space.

The delta-vee of their passage is not measurable in linear three-space; therefore, the originating point of their journey and the even-more-distant termination point are also not knowable. The linear map is insufficient to reflect multistate existence. (Although some ripple effects of their passage might be observable to certain kinds of deep-space gravity-wave detectors, sensors on a scale large enough to detect such ripples would need to be of such a size as to be impractical for any three-space beings to construct.)

But in this particular intersection of temporality and location, the manifestation of their passage is solely worthy of notice because it occurs near an unimportant, mostly inconsequential, small galactic object of oblate spiral conformation.

"Hey, Fred! Listen! Do you smell that? Over there—two-thirds out on the spiral arm! Coherent radio spectrum!"

"Mm, yes. Relativity buds! My favorite! Let's go!"

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