I think this may have been featured on Escape Pod or The Drabblecast.

Main plot of the story that I remember is that someone figures out how to go faster than the speed of light, but because when you get closer to the speed of light your mass increases, their mass increases to infinity after going FTL

and the universe collapses back into a singularity.

  • 1
    I am in search of this same story....it drives me crazy that I cannot find it, I got excited seeing your question! I remember in the story it says that light speed had been attained before, 17 times(some specific number of times, I can't remember) and each time it caused a mass increase to infinity thus causing the whole universe to collapse into this infinite mass in a big crunch. Another big bang would ensue then life evolves to space travel capabilities, and somebody else attains light speed and the universe collapse again! Does any of this sound familiar? I hope it clues you or another bec Jun 18, 2022 at 0:42
  • Does this person going FTL kick him into an alternate dimension? Jun 18, 2022 at 19:29
  • @EmsleyWyatt No, basically Spoilers the act of going FTL causes a "Big Crunch" of the universe, where everything is pulled back into a singularity like before the Big Bang, presumably to restart the cycle.
    – AndyD273
    Jun 27, 2022 at 13:09
  • @YendorElraeEnotsnhoj Definitely the same story. Glad I'm not just getting stuff mixed up in my head after all this time. I had forgotten about the big crunch happening a specific number of times, but that does ring a bell for sure.
    – AndyD273
    Jun 27, 2022 at 13:12

1 Answer 1


Maybe "Tom the Universe" (2011), an Escape Pod original by Larry Hodges.

Meet Tom, an undergrad in neuroscience, Mary, his girlfriend, and Joey, a friend of his.

Tom wonders about how the "interconnectivity required for human consciousness" can possibly happen, and theorizes that it's due to a singularity (by physics definition) in the brain. Thrilled, he decides to experiment on it, especially, to expand it - as he has no expertise in physics though, he asks a physics grad student for help. The other student doesn't dwell into the consequences of such a thing if it was to be done, thinking it's pure theory talk.

The interconnectivity required for human consciousness could only be satisfied by infinite density at a single point. A singularity.

Unless Mr. Holmes was mistaken, every one of us carries a singularity in our head. The mass doesn’t register in our universe, or else your body–and everything else for a long way around–would fall into it and squoosh, a quick way to end one’s existence. No, the singularity is just a point that floats around, stuck in your brain, presumably created while your brain was being created, with its mass in some alternate universe or state.

Tom then proceeds to blast himself with tachyons thanks to the physics lab's tachyon emitter; but upon doing so, he makes his own expanded singularity disbalance the universe, and colliding with a nearby "brane" - a kind of universe container? - which destroys the concept of existence in the universe, and turns Tom's expanded consciousness into a whole universe, which he also names Tom.

The tachyons were travelling faster than the speed of light.

He assured me that tachyons were harmless, essentially massless–my eyes glazed over when he started talking about “imaginary mass”–and would shoot right through anything at faster than light speeds. I felt in sudden need of a tachyon shower.

Mary and Joey had wandered off, which I thought strange at the time since we were at a key stage of our work, but I didn’t need them for this and so didn’t stop to wonder where they might be. (If I knew then what I knew now. . . .) When no one was looking, I turned the tachyon emitter on full blast, entered the tachyon field chamber through the “Do Not Enter!” sign, and the rest is. . . .

I started to say “history,” but of course it was actually the end of history. The singularity in my brain expanded like any other “Big Bang,” creating a universe and destroying ours.

By this point the level of Physicese goes way too far beyond my reach, to the point that I can only tell you he fiddles with the universe, tries to replay/simulate scenarios, and eventually gets destroyed in turn when he tries to save Mary from a meteor by "expanding" her singularity; but Joey's gets expanded too, colliding with Mary's, and colliding in turn with all the other branes, ending Tom's universe.

Singularities everywhere begin to expand. Not just the billions inside human brains, but also the quadrillions inside intelligent creatures throughout my universe. Quadrillions of new universes emerge and expand, in close proximity to their neighbors, overloading the uncountable branes. The branes, no longer in equilibrium, collide with each other like dominoes throughout the cosmos. One by one they pop like soap bubbles, until there is nothing, there never has been anything, and just as my existence ends, there is no pain.

Found with the Google query "singularity" "mass" site:escapepod.org.

  • Confused? Yeah, me too. This is probably the story-ID answer I've had the hardest time writing (summarizing stuff I didn't quite understand, etc). Physics people, if I (likely) got something wrong, feel free to correct :-)
    – Jenayah
    Jan 17, 2019 at 18:30
  • I do remember this one, but its not the one I'm thinking of. I'm likely forgetting some big important detail that has fled my memory over the last (almost) decade since listening to it. Thanks for reminding me about this one though.
    – AndyD273
    Jan 20, 2019 at 23:36
  • @AndyD273 you're welcome! (and so the search continues, then :) ) just a thing - "almost a decade"? "Listening"? I'm not familiar with Escape Pod and Drabblecast but in case this got re-posted without a transcript somewhere else, it might be worth editing the question with that "when" and "what" info. Cheers :)
    – Jenayah
    Jan 21, 2019 at 0:03
  • Escape Pod and The Drabblecast are podcasts that were some of the really early short story podcasts with high production values that focus on science fiction and/or light horror and/or really weird stories. I linked to their websites, and it's possible that it's not even one of those two. I'm kind of treating this as a long shot.
    – AndyD273
    Jan 22, 2019 at 20:46

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