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Tom lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He’s an English teacher and has advanced degrees in Creative Writing. He has published short fiction and is working on a novel.
“Living in the Singularity” is a title that may seem to promise readers a down-home twist on Einsteinian physics. Not so fast there. In fact, not so close to the speed of light, please. “Singularity” means something else entirely in this story.
Tim has lost his wife Mary to the “Integration” offered by the Solacium Corporation. “Integration” is touted as a state of transcendent bliss where all minds become one — a “singularity” — inside a computer. So many people fall for the scam that depopulation ensues. The only ones left are those who work in or for Solacium, and their job appears to consist in confiscating the property left by the “integrated” ones.
The Solacium Corporation thus constitutes what amounts to a suicide cult. In a way, it’s reminiscent of Gore Vidal’s bitter satire, Messiah, where the televangelist John Cage hypnotizes people into believing that death is better than life. Of course only lunatic-fringe death-wish cults preach that. The Solacium Corporation has no John Cage, only transparently unpersuasive infomercials.
Tim rightly doesn’t believe for a minute what Solacium is peddling, but the story‘s strength lies in its depiction of his grief. What else can he do but get “integrated” if he wants to rejoin his beloved Mary?
Solacium can be interpreted any way the reader wants: as a government, a cult, or a concept of Heaven. For all practical purposes, Mary has died. Tim may want to rejoin her, but he realizes too late that he can’t.
Tom Borthwick’s bio sketch can be found here.
Welcome to Bewildering Stories, Tom. We hope to hear from you again soon and often!
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