NB: This is not "The Last Question" by Asimov.

Very many years ago (I think around the late 1950s) I read a very short story (about 4 pages) about computers at a time when they were in their infancy.

The story started in the past but then went forward explaining how computers would become more and more centralized. First in towns/cities, then counties, then countries, then continents, then one large computer for the world. When this became too small a larger one was created on the moon and later a bigger one in space which everyone could access. Subsequently the sun cooled, life on earth died and the computer gravitated to the nearest shining sun. When this sun cooled it made its way to the next sun, etc., etc.

Finally the computer ended up at the last shining star in the universe which was also dying. But there were other similar computers orbiting the sun. As this died the computers did the only thing left. Together they "said" "let there be light" and there was light.

So, who wrote it? Was it called Let There Be Light?

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    I mean... that sounds a LOT like The Last Question. Sep 22, 2017 at 19:19
  • 23
    I don't mean to sound condescending, but is it possible that it was The Last Question, but you read it so long ago that you forgot the exact plot details? Or perhaps that you merged two separate stories in your mind? Sep 22, 2017 at 19:22
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    Curiously a major SF series that was four books long ended with those same words. Obviously it can't be what you are looking for. Dec 19, 2017 at 5:34
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    For those voting to close as a duplicate, you might want to note that OP stated that The Last Question definitely isn't the story he's looking for.
    – Valorum
    Jun 24, 2020 at 23:54
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    There are several other stories that end with the phrase "let there be light", but none of them even nearly match the description of a final computer approaching the heat-death of the universe, THEN making that statement.
    – user133621
    Oct 29, 2020 at 6:26

1 Answer 1


This has got to be The Last Question, slightly misremembered. In this story, a series of people ask the computer of their era the question of what happens in the end. Until the end, the computers keep saying that it simply doesn't have enough information.

Mankind is seen advancing through the years, first on Earth in a society like our own, then moving out through space until the universe is mastered. At the end there is a single disembodied megaconsciousness and the equally unphysical computer, who still doesn't have enough information. The universe is dying at this point. They merge, and after an uncountable time the computer restarts the universe in the fashion you mention.

If it's not that story, then it's a direct rip-off of it.

  • 2
    Sorry everyone but The Last Question is definitely NOT the story I am looking for. The story I am trying to find starts with the history of computers from the abacus. It is also only 3/4 pages long max not the 15 of The Last Question. But thanks for trying to help. Derrick
    – Derrick
    Sep 27, 2017 at 15:22

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