Emacs and Markdown. Astronomical calculations were made using the HYG database, Python, and Jupyter. Coordinates are J20001.

The network route from Ctesiphon to Wepwawet was calculated using a variant of Dijkstra’s algorithm, modified so that each jump is limited to 15 light years, to account for beam divergence over interstellar distances.


Great thanks to @93odradek, Abe Voelker, @CineraVerinia, Fred Kozlowski, Jack Kausch, Jordan Chase-Young, Julien Nguyễn, @mind_procedure, @mr_yong_tau_foo, @ObserverSuns, and @star_lings, whose kind comments on my fiction fragments got this past the finish line.

Thanks to Cameron Pinnegar and Steven Wittens for reading the late drafts.

Index of Things Stolen

From Orion’s Arm: the terms toposophy (in turn from Stanisław Lem) and intelligent superobject, the name The Futurological Congress (also from Lem), the idea of using magnetic monopoles for propulsion, femtoscale matter made of magnetic monopoles, dynamically-supported megastructures, magbeam-pushed magnetic sails, an interstellar communications network based on optical laser links, and the image of a black torus with a chunk blown out of it.

From David Zindell: the use of the term “gods” for posthuman superintelligences.

From Greg Egan: the names of Tiet and Timon.

And other things:

“And she dreamt of Hinton Station…”
from Neuromancer:

A year here and he still dreamed of cyberspace, […], and still he’d see the matrix in his sleep, bright lattices of logic unfolding across that colorless void…

“… the Miranda Institute…”
from The Invention of Morel (where, in turn, it is a reference to The Tempest). Likewise the references to Malthusianism.
“… 0630 UTC on October 30, 1969, …”
the idea that the Singularity happened when the first ARPANET connection was opened is from Accelerando.
“… noocene…”
I surely stole this but I don’t recall where from.
“… we recede into ever greater antiquity…”
From Cybergothic Hyperstition:

Think of Cyberspace as a black mirror. It is where time flips over: collide with it and you travel backwards. As telecommerce accelerates us into the net, it seems that things of ever deeper antiquity awaken, and begin their return.

“Now all are fled…”
paraphrased from Timon of Athens: “… now are all fled, / Save only the gods”.
“We are memories”
The idea of an eschatology inspired by the works of Nikolai Fedorov and Frank Tipler comes from, particularly, this paragraph from The Quantum Thief:

“I lost my faith in the past. Something is wrong with it. Something is wrong with what we know. That is why I didn’t want you to study the texts in the library. I would not wish this feeling on anyone. Perhaps the old philosophers were right, and we are living in a simulation, playthings of some transhuman gods; perhaps the Sobornost has already won, Fedorov’s dreams are true and we are merely memories.”

“… I am crowned, I am mighty; I sit among the gods, and even among the gods I am mighty”
from Sir E. A. Wallis Budge’s translation of the Book of the Dead (Plate XXVII):

I sail (6) among them, and I come; I am crowned, I am become a shining one, (7) I am mighty, I am become holy among the gods. I am the god Khonsu who driveth back all that opposeth him.

“… hyperboloids of wondrous light…”
from a poem by Alan Turing, our patron saint:

Hyperboloids of wondrous Light
Rolling for aye through space and time
Harbour those waves which somehow might
Play out God’s holy pantomime

Star Positions

All place names:

Detail of the stars around Gliese 581:

The network route from Ctesiphon to Wepwawet:

Table of Travel Times

Outward Journey
Origin Destination Distance (ly) Time (y)
Beta Pictoris (Ctesiphon) Gliese 238 14.1 14.1
Gliese 238 HIP 27887 12.1 12.1
HIP 27887 HIP 31293 16.3 16.3
HIP 31293 HIP 31292 1.1 1.1
HIP 31292 HIP 58910 15.5 15.5
HIP 58910 Gliese 563.2A 13.0 13.0
Gliese 563.2A Gliese 555 6.2 6.2
Gliese 555 (Wepwawet) Gliese 581 4.3 35.4
Time Spent in Gliese 581
Activity Time (y)
Rebuilding Parandé 0.8
Exploring the Dyson swarm 0.5
Exploring the torus 0.04
Building the Epiphany 0.9
Return Journey
Origin Destination Distance (ly) Time (y)
Gliese 581 Gliese 555 4.3 9.4
Gliese 555 Beta Pictoris 70.9 157.3
Time elapsed 282.6 years
Distance traveled 157.3 light years

Icon Sources

  1. The Cartesian Theatre: Magdalene with Two Flames, Georges de La Tour.
  2. Wepwawet: Airborne Event, Fred Tomaselli.
  3. Objects in Space: Black Panther, by the sadly largely unknown Georgian painter Merab Abramishvili.
  4. Without Organs: The Man with the Golden Helmet, by an unknown student of Rembrandt van Rijn.
  5. Ring Zero: The Sorceress, John William Waterhouse.
  6. The Book of Days: Religious Procession in Kursk Governorate, Ilya Repin.
  7. The Lunar Surface: Black Square, Kazimir Malevich.
  8. La Sienza Nuova: The Roses of Heliogabalus, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.
  9. Colophon: Saturn’s rings, photographed by Voyager 2.


  1. More-or-less accurate velocity vectors for stars can be obtained in the databases, however in the short term these don’t matter, since stars move slowly, and the story does not take place far enough in the future for stellar motion to matter (e.g. Beta Pictoris will take 10,000 years to travel 0.6 light years). In the long term the velocity vectors are useless since stars don’t move in a straight line, and thus calculating future star positions accurately requires solving a large n-body problem with huge positional uncertainty, which is beyond my limited skills.