These notes are transcribed directly out of my field journals. I considered re-editing them but to be frank I see little point in doing so at this stage as it is unlikely that anyone will ever read them, apart from me. There’s no one else here to read them! And even I – having gone to the considerable trouble of writing them – am unlikely to ever look at them again. I wrote them just for the sake of recording scientific data really, but there’s nothing that can actually be done with this data. It’s not ‘usable’, I suppose you could say. It’s still possibly of interest though – who knows? The following passage comes from my first entry:
There is a place where no one wants to be, and this is it. There is a region of space where no one wants to end up and that is where I have ended up! This region of space functions – as far as I can tell – as an entropic sinkhole. Whole worlds, whole start-systems fall into it, and when they are when they do they are subtly transformed. They are transformed into simulations of themselves, analogues of themselves – misleading echoes of themselves. In most cases I think no one would even notice the difference; in other cases however the differences are somewhat more pronounced, although still difficult to pinpoint to any great degree of accuracy. One such world is this – it’s a world with no name, for no one can be bothered to name it. It doesn’t show up on the star-charts. There is little point in naming it, and that is why no one ever has. Not only that, but to name it would be bad luck – the energy associated with these entropic worlds is so attenuated that to speak of them at all is to be subject to their insidious entropic drain. To name them I would consider especially dangerous, especially foolhardy…
This is a world that no one has named, and yet I have named it. I call it Mondo 3562-A. I am the last surviving member of the survey team that crash-landed on this most unusual of planets and I see it as my duty to name, to designate, to categorize, to classify. The old training dies hard, as they say. Sometimes I have other names for this place, but I will not mention them here. Not only am I in danger of confusing matters if I do so, there is also the danger of inadvertently creating a copy of a copy, an analogue of an analogue, a deceptive echo of a deceptive echo. In my more poetical moments I call this place Mellowmarsh – a strange, ungainly name and I know not why or how it came so readily to my mind. This is a world that lies at the very bottom of all the information gradients that run through the multiverse; it is a place from which no one has ever returned to speak about, for no information can ever leave it. And yet I have to say that Mellowmarsh is not without its own peculiar beauty! There is a perennial soft, misty rain that is never too hot and never too cold, and the earth is pleasingly moist and yielding underfoot. Mushrooms and toadstools grow in Mellowmarsh in vast, unending profusion – most of them powerfully hallucinogenic. Even to touch off one of them can be enough to induce violent irreversible dissociation into various conflicting alternative realities. Time loses its way here in Mellowmarsh – it seems to run off in all directions except the one it is supposed to be running in! It collects in muddy puddles here and there and small, colourless amphibians lay clusters of transparent eggs in them…
This planet has its own strange ecosystem and – being the official taxonomist of the mission – it is my task to draw up a system of classifications that can account for it. I have nothing else to do anyway, so I might as well do this. I often think that this is what has kept me going over the years, and prevented me from losing my core identity in the way that the other crew members appear to have done. They no longer seem to recognize me, in any event, and resist every attempt I make to communicate with them. They appear to have ‘gone native’, as it is said, and clearly no longer regard themselves as human beings. I don’t know what they do regard themselves as, to be honest. In all fairness, they seem happy enough. They seem appreciably happier than they used to be, at any rate. Every creature here is a parasite of one sort or another, and that was the First Great Peculiarity of this world that I learned about. This shouldn’t work as an ecosystem of course, yet somehow it does, and I will go into details about that later on in my account. The Second Great Peculiarity that came to my attention is that every day that dawns here on Mellowmarsh runs out of momentum before it ever ends, leaving an infinite multitude of unfinished worlds, unfinished realities lying around all over the place. Each one of these worlds or realities is an entropic sinkhole in its own right, leading nowhere, petering out imperceptibly into an impoverishment of self-referential possibilities, bifurcating endlessly to produce a dense cluster of obscure infra-dimensions.
The parasitic life-forms of which I speak appear in many guises – some are translucent ribbon-like pseudo-nematodes that enter through the feet and swim about ceaselessly just under the surface of your skin like so many transparent two-dimensional fish in what I ironically like to refer to as ‘the glorified goldfish-bowl’ of my own body. I call them ‘Skinfish’, for obvious reasons. At night they seem to be dancing. Or perhaps they’re mating – I can’t really be sure. My preferred theory is that they are processing information in some way. There is another type of indigenous parasitic life-form which can best be explained perhaps by saying that they are friends you have never met before but who will want to come over and talk to you about memories which you don’t have yet, but which you nevertheless will have. These false memories will gradually take root in your subconscious mind during the course of the long conversations that you will forced – out of politeness – to have with them. Eventually these ‘friends’ will know you better than you know yourself – which isn’t saying much because you won’t really know what’s a genuine memory and what’s only an implanted pseudo-memory at that stage.
Some of these parasites propagate as fungal spores that enter the body through the respiratory system; once established they lay down their own complex mycelial pathways and networks in your brain, creating in this way a fungal duplicate of your own nervous system. In time the copy will supersede the role of the original but as far as I can tell this substitution seems to create little or no damage to the host – the new nervous system works as well, if not better, than the old one. Memories are kept perfectly intact and are transferred to the new neural network. Everything copies everything else in this strange entropic world; the indigenous life forms enter into symbiotic relationships both with themselves and any newcomers. There is no overt predation as such, just the endless scrupulous duplication of the hosts by the parasites, which seems – in some way that I cannot as yet understand – to sustain the whole ecosystem. Sometimes all of this becomes quite troubling and I find myself wondering if I really am ‘my true self’, or if perhaps ‘the original me’ has been lost – mislaid, misplaced, misappropriated or otherwise gone astray without me realizing it. There is no point in thinking like this though – where after all would that get me?