Mine is not a particularly happy story but I want to tell it nonetheless: I had spent the best part of my life – the largest part of it, at any rate – working away in secret on what I like to call my ‘magnum opus’, which – to put it as briefly as possible – is an elaborate proof that Piddle-Doodley-Frigglepop–Gumbel-Poon-Scollop-Pat-7 (a thing of my own invention, which I say in all modesty) is sometimes, but not always – equal to Neymar-Nimos-Fartwangle-Muttamoon-Zebrog-Ruumborg-6 (again, an entity of my own invention). I was to be awarded the Nobel Prize for extreme theoretical excellence in the field of Pure and Applied Speculation and I had already composed my speech of gracious acceptance. I was to appear on all the usual chat shows and morning TV slots. I had given Channel Four permission to make a documentary of my life. New Scientist magazine had approached me to write a series of articles. Only that’s not true. None of the stuff that I just said is true. Nothing of the sort is going to happen either now or at any other time. There’s no acclaim, no recognition of any sort – absolutely nothing, zilch, nada. The academic world doesn’t have the slightest interest in my work; I can’t get an article published even by the most disreputable half-arsed type of pseudo-scientific crackpot journal, never mind anything actually respectable. No one will touch my work with a barge pole – people back away when they see me at conferences, muttering incoherent apologies. So you see my situation, you get a bit of a glimpse of what I’m going through here. Perhaps you can grasp something of the unbelievable frustration that I’m feeling right now! Only none of this is actually true – I made it all up! It’s pure poppycock. It’s pure fiction from beginning to end. It’s utter howling balderdash. Or maybe it is true – I don’t actually know! I’m just trying to reach out, I guess. I’m just trying to open up a dialogue. Do know that thing where you’re hallucinating like crazy and you’re hallucinating that you are a person and everyone is telling you to cop on and stop being such a space cadet but it all seems so real – it has so much internal consistency that you can’t understand how it could possibly be unreal? Anything with that much internal consistency can’t be unreal – what is reality anyway but 100% internal logical consistency? What does it mean when an hallucination has more internal consistency than reality itself, I wondered – lost in the maze of my own rapidly decaying thoughts. Only I didn’t really wonder that at all. I only hallucinated that I did. I was trapped in the simulation of myself.