24th August

The Kites

‘You all know about the cloud?’ the professor asked. ‘Of course you do. Is there any one of us who doesn’t have their photos, their music, their ebooks and emails – their life, in fact – backed up in the cloud? Well, the kites work on the same principle. They’re just more personalised. Completely and uniquely personal to you, in fact.

‘What kills us,’ he continued, ‘isn’t the disease, the crumbling of body parts or the unbeating heart. None of these things can happen without time. Stop time and you stop death.

‘It has taken millennia to reach this moment. Generations of astronomers, philosophers and scientists have chipped away at the concept of time, and time chipped them into dust. Their physical frames, not the ideas, not the dream. We inherited the dream, but we can make it reality.

‘Already we can copy and save the contents – the entire history – of a brain, and reconfigure it on one of these. Look at the size of this thing: it’s smaller than a SIM card, but it contains your entire life. Every thought, every sensation, every memory your brain ever recorded. And on top of that, it can store all the data your brain could ever need to keep it occupied for eternity: the cloud to the power of x. Effectively, we’ve invented immortality.

‘And now we move to the next phase, beyond the cloud. With the kites, we can book our minds into Paradise.

‘Soon we’ll be able to do even more. At the moment each kite is isolated. It’s tethered to the mainframe but can’t connect to other kites. So it could – eventually – get pretty lonely up there. You can access all your old friends but you can’t meet new ones. But we’re working on this. Yes, there will be social media in Paradise.

‘The usual cranks and fanatics will tell you we’ve gone too far this time. They’ll say we’re playing at being God. These people would have rejected the wheel if it had rolled into their cave. They’d have stamped out fire, horrified at the possibilities. That’s their prerogative. But what about you? Do you really not want to fly like a bird, for eternity?’

Reader: Michael Kelly
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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