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 Isaac 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?


1 Answer 1


"The Last Question", a short story by Isaac Asimov, has its own Wikipedia page. It was first published in Science Fiction Quarterly, November 1956, which is available at the Internet Archive. The text is also available at Thrivenotes.

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-—


  • 1
    Thanks man. I read it in high school between periods, so the details were a bit fuzzy. Commented Feb 9, 2014 at 7:12
  • This is in the recent VanderMeer anthology, The Big Book of Science Fiction.
    – Spencer
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 3:10

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