The Server and the Dragon by Hannu Rajaniemi is a story about the mindscapes of machines, of the infinity of universes contained in the confines of a mind.
“I am not afraid anymore”, the server said.“Then it is time to show you my cave”, the dragon said.
In the beginning, there was infinite darkness and from that, the server sprung to life. It was an alien thing, all circuitry and mind and from its thought-processes life was spawned. But the Server is not God and neither is the Dragon. They exist in the same continuum and they lock minds, their clash the stuff of legends. It is a brief and terrible struggle, however, that births new life, that sets out to explore the vast and empty universe that its parents inhabit.
“And there, in its code, a smell of gunpowder, a change.”
I have had my brushes with Finnish SF in the short time I lived there and always had a soft spot for it. It is almost dreamlike in its grimness, mostly because its writers are few in number and far between and secretly know that their work is only intended for a hardcore caucus of readers, which allows them to pull off whatever the heck they like and my God, is it glorious.
The Server and the Dragon was one of those better trippy examples of Finnish SF that I have read. It is a story that deals with a narrative which takes place in the span of millennia and feels like a dream-quest. The Indians have a term for the kind of time-span that this story takes place and I think it’s called Kalpa. It means time, moving at a cosmic pace, heartbeats taking place in the span between millennia.
It’s pretty damn epic, is what I am trying to say.
- 3,000 words
- The term kalpa cannot be translated in the English language, which is a crying shame.
- Hannu Rajaniemi is a Finnish author whose book, the Quantum Thief, has been published by Tor Books.
- He’s also a member of the Writer’s Bloc, which counts Charles Stross as one of its members.
- This story is included in the 2013 anthology of European SF. You can get it here
Konstantine Paradias is a Greek science fiction and fantasy writer. He has a blog, called Shapescapes (shapescapes). He’s also hard at work writing a book about Mongols in Zastavas, tearing through Asia all the way to your back yard. He has been offered a chance to know the moment of his demise, which he described as ‘hillarious’.
For comments or plain old contact, you can find him at email@example.com