The Rude Mechanicals, subject of the forthcoming novel of a related title, fly around in space. Nothing noteworthy about this. Fictional outer space is more crowded than a Beijing interchange, what with all the millennium falcons and Enterprizes and whatnot rattling around up there.
In this telling, however, the theme is mighty: to wit, the Universe we know and love — is a giant rubbish heap. A disaster area, a Superfund site.
Before the catastrophe of the Big Bang, the universe was a perfect singularity.
No Time, no Space, no Birth, no Decay, no Beginnings, no Endings.
Beings of inconceivable perfection enjoyed perfect stasis and nonbeing. Elegant Abstractions, Magnificent Conundrums, Esteemed Paradoxicals knew all there was to know and did nothing at all … and is this not what a Heaven’s for?
But a Contradictory Aspersion had other plans. He touched a match to a keg of flammable Reality. And the whole edifice blew cosmos-high.
And we’re living in the aftermath – a giant sooty Void full of glowing embers (OK, stars, but you get it). Chunks of random matter hurtle willy-nilly along vertiginous curves of spacetime, rollercoastering this way and that, banging into each other.
Worse than Gravity, worst of all — Time! Who unleashed this corrosive slop on undeserving lifeforms? Time makes fools and atoms of us all. No sooner do you get a good construct going than it decays into glup. Eventually, every living thing will die, and every chain of atoms will decouple, and every atom will devolve into iron-56. Nothing but a dead haze of isotopic rust.
Who could live in such a catastrophic wasteland, in a dangerous Nothingness hung with gobs of burning nuclear fuel, hurtling along a temporally-destabilized one-dimensional butterslide towards death?
The Abstractions and Conundrums, safely ensconced in a pocket universe, were stunned at what they saw. Flecks of carbon — building cities! Zipping around in rockets! Heating frozen foods with toaster-ovens!
TRM is the story of unlikely beings who survive in a hostile universe. Really, isn’t every story about that?