The cosmology of The Book Of Lost Doors series is inspired by a number of sources, primarily C. S. Lewis’ Paralandra trilogy, William Burroughs’ Nova Express novels, H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos and Robert Wilson’s Illuminatus. The psuedo-scientific justification is my own, and I take full responsibility for completely mangling quantum mechanics theory to serve my narrative purposes.
Basically, my thesis is that order is a thing in and of itself. Information exists independently of the medium that expresses it. For example, a deck of cards that is arranged in a particular sequence exists as both the physical objects and the sequence of those objects, and that–like energy and matter–information is conserved, and cannot be created or destroyed, merely changed in form.
Now, the nature of the universe is that order degrades over time. What is called “the arrow of time” goes from order to chaos. When you shuffle a deck of cards, it becomes intrinsically more disordered. So where does that information go?
In the BOLD cosmology, it gets eaten. I posit the existence of informational organisms that have no physical bodies that I call (as a class) orthovores.
I also like the idea of an entire ecology on non-material organisms. I think of the loss of information through random entropy as a gain in information in the orthovore ecology–something like the ecology of the oceans, with the top layers gaining biochemical energy from sunlight (via photosynthesis in plankton) which then filters down to the depths.
So, on the simplest level, the basic tendency of energy in a system to become more disordered fuels the simplest non-material organisms, just information-sinks without any deep structure. This “information-plankton” serves as food for more complex entities, which in turn are eaten by more complex entities, until we reach the level of self-aware and conscious orthovores, which is where things get interesting.
When orthovores become self-aware they stop simply feeding on entropy and begin to actively influence events in the material world to promote it. They do this by influencing information in material consciousness. Hence the Outsiders are able to communicate, after a fashion, with living things, and to influence their behavior.
I further posit that other planets in our universe have had conscious life and that life has, in some cases, anyway, been influenced by their orthovore population to increase the disorder of their native planets to the point where life becomes impossible and the local entropy is maximized.
Think of the Outsiders as parasites on the systems they inhabit, draining the order out of their worlds and leaving chaos, madness, and death in their wake. After the systems die the orthovores (who have no physical form and hence unaffected by physical disasters like war, famine, and ecological collapse) will need a new source of order on which to feed.
Being non-material, distance is irrelevant to them (the speed of light is a limit for energy, not information) and so they are able to target consciousness on Earth just as easily as they could on the dead worlds that spawned them.
Okay, his is running longer than I expected, so I’m going to cut it short here. Next up I’ll discuss some of the Outsiders I’ve come up with and the worlds they came from. Also, how Catskinner fits in all this.