I once read a story about a class of god-like beings who were learning to create universes. Most of them created their universes to be just the "right" size, with enough mass that the universe would collapse in on itself, thus yielding an unending cycle of big bangs. But the main character designed a universe that never stopped expanding (yielding a universe much like our own).

Ultimately, the main character's universe does devolve into heat death, but somehow achieves rebirth anyway. (I don't remember the exact justification, but it seems reminiscent of Penrose's Conformal Cyclic Cosmology)

The story is at least two decades old (when I read it), but possibly older.

Does anyone know what the name/author of that story could be? (I realize that isn't much info to go on.)

Note: I am not thinking of Asimov's The Last Question, despite the similar theme.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F! I'm almost positive I've asked about this exact same story! Check out scifi.stackexchange.com/q/246046/101407 and see if it sounds like the story you're looking for. (Note that even if it is likely the same story, having 2 questions open can increase the chance of getting an answer.)
    – DavidW
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 4:16
  • Do you remember if you read it in a magazine (like Analog or IASFM) or in an anthology?
    – DavidW
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 4:18
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    I've a feeling that I may have read it i Analog but haven't a clue as to when.
    – Mike Stone
    Commented Dec 22, 2021 at 21:16
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    @MikeStone I'm almost certain I read this in Analog as well. Around 1990/1991. Analog was nearly impossible to get here in The Netherlands, but the City Library in a town 20 kilometer away had all issues going back for many years. They didn't lend them out, but you could read them in the reading corner. I bicycled there every Saturday afternoon and spend a couple of hours reading them. Stopped doing that in 1991 because I got a weekend job. When I got back to that library in 1993 they had taken them out of the collection.
    – Tonny
    Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 19:26
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    @superbatfish Yes. The Analog collection at the library went back at least 15 years. Last possible date would be late 1991. I started working weekends at a petrol-station in mid-February '92. As the Analog issues in the library typically took 10 weeks to arrive from the US, the most recent issue that I could possibly have seen on my last visit early February '92 would have been from November or maybe early December '91.
    – Tonny
    Commented Dec 24, 2021 at 9:25

1 Answer 1


The story is Cycles by Don Sakers in Analog, January 1985, pp 64-70.

It tells the story of a novice named Kaishyy who insists on creating his open universe without, according to his fellow students, sufficient mass-energy to become cyclic. He persists and waits for heat death, at which point the conditions became isomorphic with the starting conditions.

The first few lines are "At first, there was no space. How could there be?" They are echoed near the end, "In Kaishyy's universe, 10^250 years after creation, there was no space. How could there be?"

The Analog tagline is

"Rules" for creativity tell how to produce results that will, almost certainly, be "acceptable." To do exceptional work, you may have to try something different!

I've been following these threads since I've been looking for the same story - I just happened across an old box of periodicals in my attic that I'd thought was long ago donated and immediately starting poring though them in search of this very story!


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