The Precambrian Conspiracy does not involve time travel. This will be important to keep in mind. However, it co-opts and subordinates other conspiracies involving time travel, ancient astronauts, and alien visitors in a way that reveals them to be naïve and provincial.
I’m not telling you this to promote the Precambrian Conspiracy. I’m just making an observation. I do not believe in the Precambrian Conspiracy.
In my last post, I related some of my discussion with Rob. He was a fellow student at Clarion West in 1997, and we’ve kept in close contact ever since. Unfortunately, because he teaches zoology on the East Coast, and I live in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t see each other in person as much as we’d like. But having discussions online does make it easy to render a transcript. Here’s some of our exchange after I told him about the USB drive.
BK: The kicker is that it’s a 128 GB drive.
RF: Keep going!
BK: I did something stupid with it, but I’ll get to that later.
I plugged it into an Internet-connected laptop.
RF: Stupid but you still have it, intact, right?
I can’t find this book online. I’m sure you already know that.
BK: Let me tell you about the book.
RF: Are you making this up?
BK: It’s a conspiracy-nut book.
Let me tell you.
It’s kind of a clever book. It recognizes some ironies about conspiracy theories.
For one thing, it points out how grandiose conspiracy theorists are.
Only they have the secret knowledge, notwithstanding that they’re often not the sharpest knives in the drawer.
Then it goes on to lay out a conspiracy.
It predicts that the true technological Singularity will be preceded by what it calls a “Singularity of Bullshit.”
It observes that it’s easier to fake a Singularity than achieve a real one.
This is an important point in the book, which casts some doubt on everything else in it.
I think the book is performance art, like the Discordians or the Cult of the Subgenius.
Well, I used to think that.
I’ve kept this back because I wanted to write stories based on this idea.
I wrote 50K on a novel last year with this as background.
[I leave out a chunk here. It’s important, and I’ll bring it back in later. I need to give context, though. Of course, you’re going to lose some context here, but Rob and I agreed that we need to go slow, see what kind of attention we get with this. Get a sense of who’s watching….]
BK: There’s a subtitle to the book.
The Precambrian Conspiracy.
RF: And a publication date?
BK: None. It doesn’t have press information or anything.
RF: Or copyright?
BK: It was hand-typed. But it’s a copy.
RF: Author name?
BK: [Answer redacted.]
So not a book at all, really?
BK: Yeah, a paste-up job.
No, it’s a book, like The Anarchist’s Cookbook.
Have you seen that?
Similar production value.
RF: yeah, I’ve seen it. It shows how to attach a Molotov cocktail top a broom handle and fire it from a shotgun.
So how is this book like a child’s book?
BK: It’s written in a simple style. Any ten-year-old could understand.
Kind of monotonous in sentence structure.
Almost no conjunctions.
Well, that’s an exaggeration, but it feels that way.
Here’s the thing you might have figured out already: almost any fantasy or science fiction world could be real according to this book.
RF: As long as the worlds are virtual and not limited by physical laws
BK: Well, that brings us back to the fake Singularity thing.
All this could be revealed to be “true” and still be bullshit.
There’s the puzzle of this USB Drive.
RF: A virus from another iteration
BK: I think I’ve done a bad thing.
RF: You released it
BK: Well, I don’t know what “it” is. I plugged in the drive, and my computer couldn’t read the volume.
But my malware checker gave me a warning.
I mean, my computer couldn’t read the volume at first.
But then I got the warning.
RF: That’s weird too. A 20-year-old piece of software
BK: So I unplugged it.
And then I ran a system scan, and there was nothing.
So I figured nothing happened.
So I plugged it back in again.
And then the volume came up.
I didn’t recognize any of the file extensions.
They weren’t three letters; they were four: ghys, cthl, bbgq — stuff like that.
I spent a few minutes looking at them and then I got a system warning!
RF: But the format was compatible enough with your OS?
Windows is backwards-compatible, so that wasn’t a huge surprise. Also, being able to open a given jump drive isn’t OS-specific.
But 128 GB?
FAT 16 couldn’t address more than 2GB.
File Allocation Table — the then-current Microsoft standard.
Also, 128 GB worth of memory would have cost a fortune. Hard-drive storage was a buck a megabyte, and RAM was about 25 bucks at the time.
RF: And jump drives didn’t come out till 1999. So a piece of weird Microsoft tech.
BK: Uh. Well…
I tried it on my Mac Mini too.
A dmg came up.
But back to the system warning. It said my drive was full.
And then my computer shut down.
RF: And Linux or some other OS?
BK: I freaked out. I tried rebooting.
It took forever to reboot.
RF: Did it load something to your machine?
BK: Eventually it came up.
Not that I can see, and here’s the funny thing.
My computers won’t read it anymore.
But our network gets slow.
Heck, I don’t really know if it’s 128GB.
That’s just what it showed during the brief time I could read it.
RF: Take it to a Best Buy and try again.
BK: No, I won’t do that. And you know why, don’t you?