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The choice.

25 September 201003:50PMfiction

It happens to every planet. You don't go extinct, you manage to avoid killing yourselves, and all of a sudden you've got a hundred times your planet's capacity and nowhere to put them. Too many people, not enough space, and your population is still growing exponentially cause nobody dies any more. So what do you do? Well, you either implode, or you explode.

The imploders are easy to deal with. They keep to themselves, that's the nature of implosion. We see all sorts of ways. Racks of frozen bodies in relativistic orbit around ice moons, waiting for your turn to be thawed and live a little and be put back on ice. Planetwide rabbit warrens, with every cubic centimetre of space on every planet and every moon hollowed out for bunks. Uploading's always a popular option- scrape together all the iron in the system and you've got yourself a nice little hard drive, or thread the asteroid belts with ultrafast superconducting substrate, or even stick a satellite at each end of your solar system and beam the mind patterns back and forth, spending decades as a dissipating signal before being picked up and boosted and beamed out again. Sure you only get a few seconds of actual consciousness every few decades, but hey, it's better than dying, right? Heck, you might even enjoy it.

The exploders. Oh, the exploders. Cause so many problems. There's no creativity in exploding- it's just 'Hey, we're out of space! Let's change nothing and just take up some more!'. You think you have so much vision, you're going to colonise the planets, and the stars, and every last galaxy. And boy have we seen some explosions in our time. Quite impressive to watch. A hundred million needles balanced on spears of nuclear fire heading off-world, out into the universe. Generation ships teeming with untold billions, hitched to a ramjet the size of a star. Even the planets themselves, gravity-locked between a sun and an enormous solar sail, dragging an entire star system through the cosmos on its own solar wind. But that's not the problem, it's not technological, it's psychological. For an exploding civilisation, there's not enough space in the whole universe to keep you happy. You burn up a planet and move on, never learning, always breeding, and before you know it you've time- dilated away everything you remember, or hit the edge of the galaxy or run out of stars to burn and then what? Nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing left to live for.

So, Planet Earth. What's it going to be?

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