Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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The warlord Thon-Gul X has sent a swarm of scissors to destroy the world; and a world-killing meteor; and an evil prophecy; but something still disturbs him.

“It is possible,” he says, “that the Earth will survive all these things by using a principle outside of and transcending the rock, paper, and scissors known to space.”

He wrestles with intimations of hobbits, Spock, and spiders.

He cannot grasp them. He cannot grapple with them. He cannot conceptualize them.

They haven’t even heard of the planet Vulcan, in space.

He simply knows that — outside the boundaries of his knowledge, his understanding, his intentions — there might be something more.

That is why there is a monstrous needle-thin ray racing towards the Earth even as we speak.

It has been traveling for nearly seven hundred years. It is coming to unmake the Earth, to blast the whole of it into nothing, to turn it into the Decohesion Engine, the Principle of Thon-Gul X’s omnipotence: an ultimate, glorious power born of death and a terrible light.

And sometimes he thinks, but can a needle-thin ray really break a planet?

And he starts to answer —

But then he stops.

He resists that thought. He assumes he will be successful. He daren’t even wonder.

It is ultimately, fundamentally, and structurally undecidable; to think too much upon it would lure his thoughts into a trap set long ago for him by Hans.

To answer is to rule that “space laser” either beats, ties with, or loses when opposed by “rock;” and this thing, until the cosmic institute of rock-paper-scissors makes its ruling, not even a wicked god may do.



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