Codex Entropia is a work of historical fabulation with echoes of Liu Cixin’s Three-Body Problem and Charlton Heston’s Soylent Green.
Information is usually eaten up by randomness, or entropy. The entropians—a lost civilization within Pell’s universe of speculative fabulation—once developed a vast system of informatics. Insects, livestock, and bird flocks and vibrating threads were all entangled in a massive multispecies assemblage of calculation. But, then a bug crashed the system. Random entropy disrupted entropian enterprises.
Messages cease to be messages when nobody can read them, as Gregory Bateson once observed. The code books can be lost. With the discovery of the Codex Entropia, we glimpse messages that plead for help amidst growing evidence of systemic planetary malfunction. Plans for technical fix, of biblical proportions, aspired to save this imperilled civilization. But, the narrative arc is unresolved. We are left to stare into the fabulated past and into possible futures with wonder and horror.
The quaint and tragic tale of the entropians offers commentary on the contemporary search for meaning. A viral bug—a glitch in our multispecies assemblages—has disrupted the modern world system. Archaeologists of the future—human or otherwise—will one day seek to mine the data of the anthropic deposit for significant stories. What kinds of cryptic and playful messages in a bottle will you be sending to these future makers of meaning?