Minecraft and Asimov’s many Earths


This great pulp magazine cover features an illustration for Isaac Asimov’s short story called “Living Space.” The short story deals with the colonization of dead Earths on parallel universes and how they are protected and maintained by the humans who live there.

While the story itself isn’t meant to be funny it does, rather intentionally, treat a very serious subject in a trivial way. I’m not giving anything away by saying that, but if you want, you can read the synopsis of the story here.

The cover image is meant to invoke the idea of a Regular Joe from the future who’s just going outside his “suburban paradise” to mow the lawn or whatever he needs to do.

The painting nicely frames the situation. The goofy Regular Joe is tripping over himself as we see his home’s atmospheric safety shells behind him. And in typical pulp magazine artistry, a fairly foxy looking woman is thrown in just to help drive sales. 

If you don’t want to read the Wikipedia entry, then let Comics on the Brain also point you to this non-spoilery article, which features an exploration of a key component of the Asimov piece — Each human family gets their own “dead Earth” to do with whatever they want. 

Most of them, including those spotlighted in the short story, set up their own little compound where they simply live and thrive. It’s just a small little outpost — a home, an exercise facility and a greenhous. One would assume the residents of these dead Earths just commute across the dimensions to real jobs.

What CotB wonders is what about those people who decide to do something special with their dead Earth? Can they rebuild it like the gamers of Minecraft? Could these alternate Earth frontiersmen resculpt their new homeworlds? Make things pretty? Or even have a few laughs by carving out their own Mount Rushmores featuring their personal heroes? All these notions are the same decisions people explore when experimenting with their Minecraft constructions. In Minecraft, they can do whatever they want with the space they have. Would these alternate Earthers do the same?

These options would certainly be available for the denizens of the many Earths in Asimov’s story. They could do what they wanted with their own personal Earth, and, really, why wouldn’t they?. The sky is the limit. There’s no resource limitations.

And another thought, imagine if this same scenario was to be played out on our dimension’s Mars. Just think, somewhere on that planet — which is utterly dead to us — there’s a tiny little waystation that is simply the “suburban paradise” for a Martian family from another dimension.

Those Martians have a nice life. They carved a few pyramids on the weekend, dug out a face that visitors could see from space and even started storing water under the polar ice sheets (for when they put in a pool later next year).

Yeah, it was nice. It was perfect.

… Until those jerks from the next planet over started shooting probes at it.


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
As a subscriber, I'm looking for ...

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.