This is the inaugural issue of Z-Sky, the first issue of a triannual journal focused on deep futures, futures studies, near-term and maximal-term science fiction, and other future-forward creative work.
Z-Sky is a free-form forum for futurists, science fiction fans, scientists, transhumanists, posthumanists, philosophers of technology, even theologians, and a whole omnium gatherum of thinkers beyond the blue sky (into the z-sky).
The concept of a "z-sky" is not new; the concept has had other names, e.g., "eschaton," from the Greek ἔσχατος. The eschaton refers to endings, last things, closings, extremes, and ultimates; the eschaton can be something ultimate in time, space, or degree, but it is the category of time that dominates the history of eschatology (the study of the eschaton). Eschatological questions are some of the profoundest: What will become of human life in the omnivorous temporal total? Is the future infinite? Does time end?
Religions, traditionally, have offered the ultimate context to life, the vastest field of vision, where one's inward life becomes an inward sky, limitless in its ascent into a perpetual divine arrangement; but that context has dropped away for so many, especially in the "developed" world. A cautious scientific culture dimmed the inner sky, dampened hopes, and left us with an indeterminate ultimate context for life. Our best minds have shown us our own deep ignorance, but now what?
Z-Sky is a forum for searching our indeterminate ultimate context; searching without the certainty of the traditional faiths, but with the clarity and candor of a scientific caution. We wish to reimagine the ultimate, to explore the absolute, the endless, the whole whole-of-it. That is Z-Sky's existential vision-a creative, philosophical, and fundamental one-to re-open the view from everywhere and every-time.
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Table of Contents
Foreword from the Editors - i
Museum at the End of Time - STEVEN FRITZ - 5
What of these last traces of a lonely species?
The Observers - CONNOR MILLER - 25
The simulation is simply a history course.
The Last Apocalypse - ANGUS MCINTYRE - 27
Some say the world will end in fire, some say ice. Some say all of the above.
Maximus - NATHAN ZELLER - 43
What happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted?
Manufacturing Mankind - STUART HARDY - 46
Victorians - E. ERASMUS - 53
Shame is forever.
Hypothetical Alien Biology - JONATHAN LACHER - 80
Earthy extrapolations for a better astrobiology.
BR: THE MINISTRY FOR THE FUTURE - PIERS RIPPEY - 86
Possibly the final novel from Kim Stanley Robinson, and its place in his oeuvre.
Noon - JOHN G. BATTELLE - 93
Good morning, from we who bear witness and uplift.