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Observer Acceleration

A while back I concocted a physics theory. It’s more likely mysticism dressed in physics terminology, but on the off chance there’s something to it…

I’m calling the theory ‘Observer Acceleration.’ OA posits that dark energy is observation of the universe. In other words, observation of the universe is accelerating expansion.

Observation by photon

Experiments have confirmed that observation affects quantum systems (double slit, Zeno, etc). I know this doesn’t mean observation by consciousness. It means interaction with another particle, like a photon—but if enough brains were using particles to collapse wave functions, it might impact the universe in a novel way.

Probably a coincidence

The emergence of life as far as we know was about 4 billion years ago. Accelerated expansion began 5 billion years ago. The universe is 13.8 billion years old.

A far-reaching effect

Quantum entanglement allows for instantaneous data transmission across vast distances. This could allow for a unified field of observation.

Collapsing the wave function

If the entire universe were a wave function, the ‘collapse’ of that wave function might look like accelerated expansion.

New information

Dark energy as a kind of reflection—accelerated expansion reflecting accumulated knowledge and awareness. As brains gather knowledge of the cosmos, the universe responds with greater complexity. Dark energy as an information field.

The mystic circle is incomplete

Consider a circular continuum where the quantum scale, or something below it, comes back around to the macro scale, in terms of observer effects. In that gap is consciousness. Is consciousness quantum? Are there particles of it? Discrete, disconnected brain-states? Everything is quantum, supposedly. There are even particles of spacetime.    


In my fiction, so-called “higher” consciousness imparts greater acceleration to the cosmos. Human observation, and/or knowledge-gathering, takes the lion’s share of the blame—but that’s just fiction. I don’t really believe in higher/lower consciousness. If OA was real, a slug might impart as much acceleration as a dolphin.

I did get to wondering if different kinds of observation had different effects. Is gazing at your toenail on par with scientific study or stargazing? What about reading a book? Smelling a fart?

I came up with OA in 2017 or ’18, I think. It soon crept into various sci-fi musings. The first of these to be published was my short story ‘Salvage’ (Interzone Jan/Feb 2020, The Year’s Top Hard Science Fiction Stories #5 edited by Allan Kaster, & The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 6 edited by Neil Clarke).

I’ll be using OA once more in fiction before I move on with my life.

There and Back Again: Translation Shenanigan 1

My tale of ultimate reproductive agency, ‘Cryptic Female Choice’ (Interzone 271), was translated into Mandarin by the inimitable Ladon Gao and sold to Works/作品. It shared the January 2020 issue with Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan.

I took Ladon’s first paragraph and fed it to Google for translation back to English. The result is interesting. Part of the linguistic drift is Ladon’s deliberate stylizing (He did a superb job and his choices totally worked). The rest of the drift is Google hallucinating, but all in all it didn’t do so bad.

So, my original opening paragraph, then Ladon’s version, then Google’s English rendering of Ladon’s Chinese:

In the dream-state of my polyploidal mixing fever, I see your fathers as they were. I smell and touch them again: Henry, Jinshuo, Hadi, Arkady. Each is beautiful in his own way. I meet them and fall for them again, as though for the first time. And I have sex with them again.


I fell into chaos, like a dream. Polyploidy fever-one of the costs of “mixing you” makes me confused. I saw your fathers. Still the same as it was back then. Once again, I breathed their breath and touched their skins: Henry, Jin Shuo, Hardy, Arkadi, each has a unique beauty. I met them again and fell in love with them, as if it was still the first time. Then again, we enter each other.

My Eligible Works Published in 2020

I had three originals and six translations come out in 2020…

The originals:

‘Songs of Activation’ – Clarkesworld 171

‘Midstrathe Exploding’ – Analog Science Fiction and Fact, March 2020

‘Salvage’ – Interzone 285

The translations:

未马的《从前慢》’Formerly Slow’ by Wei Ma, Future SF Digest/FAA

‘Niuniu’ by Baoshu, Clarkesworld 170

‘Forger Mr. Z’ by Chen Qiufan, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Nov 2020

‘Casualties of the Quake’ by Wang Yuan, Analog Science Fiction & Fact, Sep 2020

‘The Plague’ by Yan Leisheng, Clarkesworld 167

‘Three Stories Conjured From Nothing’ by ShakeSpace, Clarkesworld 166

My CoNZealand Schedule!

(These times/dates are New Zealand time. Follow link at bottom to the con site and you can set a local time for your membership account.)

“Science Fiction/Fantasy from the Chinese Diaspora”
29 Jul 2020, Wednesday 11:00 – 11:50, Academic Programme (Programming)
Along with the language, the centuries-old Chinese diaspora has produced science fiction/fantasy for decades. How does it differ; how is it influenced by its environment and mix with local cultures? It’s considered mainstream in some areas yet not in others. What myths echo from Chinese culture and how has it been made unique to the countries where the diaspora settled?
Joyce Chng, Dr. Bradford Lyau (, Andy Dudak (, Kin-Ming Looi (Quantum Security Services Ltd) (, Joe Monti (Saga Press) (M) (

“Epidemics and Plagues in the Real World and in Fiction”
29 Jul 2020, Wednesday 15:00 – 15:50, Programme Room 2 (Webinar) (Programming)
Epidemics are on the mind of many of us. The panel looks at the science and history of epidemics, as well as how they have been treated in fiction.
Andy Dudak (, Mason A. Porter (University of California) (M) (, Dr. Perrianne Lurie (, Freya Marske (

“Reading: Andy Dudak”
30 Jul 2020, Thursday 12:00 – 12:25, Reading Room 2 (Programming)
I plan to read from my Interzone story ‘Salvage.’
Andy Dudak (

“Killing Your Own Grandparent: Time Travel in SF”
31 Jul 2020, Friday 02:00 PM NZST, Programming – Programme Room 2 (Webinar)
Time travel has been a popular subject in SF in all its forms. How is this tricky subject handled in a way to make it believable? Which popular time travel gimmicks or ideas work, and which seem silly?
Amal El-Mohtar, Elizabeth Knox, Gillian Polack, and this guy.

“Post The Three-Body Problem: What Is Happening in Mainland Chinese Science Fiction?”
31 Jul 2020, Friday 17:00 – 17:50, Programme Room 3 (Webinar) (Programming)
Remembrance of Earth’s Past novels made mainland Chinese science fiction much more prominent. Was it the same in China? How were young mainland Chinese authors influenced by these books? Did it make a difference for the kind of mainland Chinese science fiction being published today?
Andy Dudak (, Rebecca Kuang (Harper Voyager) (, Yen Ooi (, Taiyo Fujii (SFWJ) (, Regina Kanyu Wang (M) (

Come one come all! Here’s the whole schedule. So much good stuff…

Love in the Time of Immuno-Sharing

Analog has made my Locus-recommended story available to read for free! Enjoy…

Click to access AFF_JanFeb2019_LoveInTimeOfImmuno_Dudak.pdf

UPDATE: Great news! This very weird story is a finalist for the Eugie Foster Award and I couldn’t be happier…

I used to do screenplay coverage, so here’s my logline…
“In a world of engineered, fast-evolving plagues, survival means sharing immunity, and loving it.”

“A mind-blowing trip that must be experienced to be believed.”
– Jacob A. Olson, Realms and Robots

Love in the Time of Immuno-Sharing: Short Review

“Simply weird!”
– Rich Horton

Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Analog, Asimov’s, Amazing, and Longshot Island

Analog interviews me about the story:
Q&A with Andy Dudak

With the likes of Ken Liu, Nnedi Okorafor, and Joe Hill, I’m in great company on the 2019 Locus Recommended Reading List:

2019 Locus Recommended Reading List