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I am looking to identify a story that I read around 2001 (it is probably much older). Someone showed me the story on pages printed from the internet, and it was attributed to Issac Asimov (although I cannot state that is the true author).

The story is told in glimpses at different points of time in the future. In each glimpse, humans are asking a more and more "intelligent" computer how to prevent the universe from collapsing into a singularity in the future, and the computer states it needs more computational power and resources to solve this problem. At some point, man becomes one with the computer, and the computer exists in hyperspace (or subspace?).

In the final glimpse, it is the end of time and the universe is collapsing into a singularity. At the instant the universe reaches the singularity, the computer figures out how to prevent it and says "Let there be light" and the universe begins to expand again.

Is anyone familiar with this story?

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My first (and irrelevant) thought was the movie "The end of Dark Star" :) – Hagen von Eitzen Feb 9 '14 at 14:42
@SethMMorton Sorry, but I have to ask. What exactly did you search for on Google? You know it was attributed to Asimov, and you knew it contained "Let there be light"... If I search for only that, even without any quotes, "The Last Question" is the first link that comes up! – Mr Lister Feb 9 '14 at 15:33
@AntalS-Z: this is repeated in an entry from the Isaac Asimov at which claims that “Asimov's own experience was that if someone couldn't remember the title of one of his stories (and especially if they weren't entirely sure if it was by him), then it was ‘The Last Question.’” – b_jonas Feb 9 '14 at 15:33
@MrLister You're right. I looked under a list Asimov's works and couldn't see anything obvious, and searched for "let there be light story". I don't know why I didn't just toss in "Asimov" in the "let there be light" search. At the very least, it looks like others also had the same question, so I suppose some good came out of my search engine ineptitude. – SethMMorton Feb 9 '14 at 19:45
up vote 68 down vote accepted

"The Last Question" (ISFDB, Wikipedia) by Isaac Asimov.

Only the universe is not collapsing into a singularity, it's the heat death. Trillions of years after the end of the universe, the Cosmic AC finally figures out how to reverse entropy:

The consciousness of AC encompassed all of what had been a Universe and brooded over what was now Chaos. Step by step, it must be done.


And there was light--

Here is the full text, also the audio and the graphic novel.

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Thanks man. I read it in high school between periods, so the details were a bit fuzzy. – SethMMorton Feb 9 '14 at 7:12

There's a short story named 'Let There Be Light' written by Robert Heinlein under the pseudonym Lyle Monroe.

Corruption and monopolists stall the sales of a solar power device, so the inventors do the unexpected.

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Could you add a link, or at least more information, as to why you think this is the correct answer? – James Sheridan Jan 4 '15 at 1:08

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