by Kaolin Imago Fire
No street led to just one other; no window faced another; no entrance was for just one house. Sewer flowed through boudoir with an elegance that defied reason–but that was art in the hands of masters. Cube, as it was prosaically called, was the result of studied generations, clones and imitators, working towards a harmonious cacophony of architecture. Out of the void of other beings, mankind creates its own others–and Cube was the ultimate inhuman thing, an entire planet manufactured to break down the mind and recreate it from environs that knew no boundary.
The greatest living-art project of any time, Cube was populated slowly despite the near-fanaticism it inspired. Volunteers were seeded across the planet to build their own “worlds”. Were allowed nothing that could contact Off-cube, simply given the means to support themselves, to provide for the world they inhabited. Were left to fall into madness and either come out the other side or die. Only then were more seeded: hundreds, thousands at a time, all segregated from each other but provided for. And again, madness ran its course.
Slowly they found each other; some madnesses were compatible, some were not. Extremes of violence were removed, the rest were studied from afar. And slowly, ever-more-slowly, they evolved. Technology was remembered, reinvented, re-imagined. Language was a game, never left to one set of rules for too long. They learned to walk through walls, and were never seen again except as ghosts–though it was rumoured that they stepped out as sooth-sayers to sundry wheres and whens. The planet continued to change and be changed by them–in time, it too began to fade, escaping both space and time.
Kaolin Fire (http://www.erif.org/) is a conglomeration of ideas, side projects, and experiments. Outside of his primary occupation, he also develops games (http://www.erif.org/code/games/), explores fractals (http://www.fractroam.com), and very occasionally teaches computer science. He has had short fiction published in Strange Horizons, Murky Depths, Crossed Genres, and M-Brane SF, among others. There are rumors he’s walking through an experiment at this very moment.