The Cosmic Codex
The Cosmic Codex
Before the moment of creation

Before the moment of creation

What preceded the Big Bang?
“Quantum vacuum fluctuation, observed” by Brian S. Pauls, 2023; Digital illustration created using Midjourney
My novelette "An Illicit Mercy" is part of a new promotion in September: Genetic Engineering Gone Bad.
Check out sixteen novels, short stories, and excerpts available for free.

Book Cover
Star Rider and the Golden Threads, by Heidi Skarie
While Toemeka is living in a secret dome-city for refugees, an urgent message arrives from Queen Koriann of Jaipar. Planetary-conqueror and sorcerer, Samrat Condor, is threatening to attack unless they surrender.
Toemeka goes to Jaipar, where she is reunited with Agent Erling Fenian, her former Coalition partner.
Can they save Jaipar together?

Club Codex is reading and discussing “The Kaiju Preservation Society” by John Scalzi in September. Please join us!

by Brian Scott Pauls, written using ChatGPT 3.5

Where did we come from? Humans have been asking this question at least since the time of the Sumerians.

Our scientific age requires scientific explanations. But where theory and evidence fail, imagination still fills the gap.

Thanks for reading The Cosmic Codex! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.

Science fiction has a few stories about what happened at or before the beginning of the universe.

Here are some examples:

The Last Question by Isaac Asimov

Humans ask the most powerful computer in existence how we can stop the heat-death of the universe. The computer and its successors analyze the question for ages. The story ends with a fitting proclamation.

Making Light by James P. Hogan

The General Operations Director of the Celestial Construction Company struggles against government regulators. He's determined to finish the creation of our universe in a timely fashion. Once readers realize the true nature of the title, they may wish this satire had succumbed to heat death.

Cycles by Don Sakers

A neophyte creator bucks conventional wisdom. He produces a universe lacking “…sufficient mass-energy to become cyclic.” Doing things in an unconventional way produces an unconventional result.

What preceded Cosmic Inflation?

In our real universe, we’ve traced events back to Cosmic Inflation. This was a period of exponential expansion that preceded the hot Big Bang.

Cosmic Inflation is a modification of the original Big Bang theory. At first, cosmologists thought the Big Bang must have started from a singularity. But this approach failed to explain certain observed phenomena. These included the homogeneous nature of the universe, and the fact that the amount of matter balances so well with its rate of expansion. The Big Bang theory also predicted certain phenomena we don’t see, like magnetic monopoles and domain walls.

Thank you for reading The Cosmic Codex. This post is public so feel free to share it.


Alan Guth and Alexei Starobinsky each proposed an early phase of rapid expansion. Other theoretical physicists and cosmologists further developed the framework for Cosmic Inflation.

Theorists have inferred five significant predictions from Cosmic Inflation:

  1. The universe is so close to flat we don’t notice the difference

  2. The Cosmic Microwave Background exhibits fluctuations at superluminal scales

  3. These fluctuations exhibit equal entropy throughout the observable universe

  4. The fluctuations exhibit a scalar spectral index with a value very close to, but not quite, 1

  5. The spectrum of gravitational wave fluctuations exhibits specific profiles for different theoretical models

Of these five, all but the last have been confirmed.

So, we're pretty comfortable about Cosmic Inflation preceding the hot Big Bang. But Ted Sturgeon would encourage us to ask the next question. What caused Cosmic Inflation?

We don’t know. It may be impossible for us to answer this question, “…because the data necessary to determine the answers may not be present in our observable Universe.”

On the one hand, this is disappointing. We are a species which likes to ask questions and then answer them. But it provides an open field for the speculation foundational to science fiction.

Share The Cosmic Codex

Consider three scenarios rooted in uncertainty about the origin of Cosmic Inflation:

The Inflationary Nexus: Humanity has harnessed the power of Cosmic Inflation. We have developed the ability to create pocket universes. At first, we see them as sources of unlimited resources and refuges from an overpopulated Earth. But each universe has its own set of physical laws. The consequences of tampering with the fabric of space-time can be catastrophic. A team of scientists and explorers faces the challenges of controlling Cosmic Inflation. And the moral dilemmas of playing God.

Legacy of Creation: We encounter an extraterrestrial civilization that can manipulate Cosmic Inflation. The aliens reveal it wasn’t a natural occurrence. An ancient, advanced species started it for a specific purpose. Our new acquaintances offer to share their knowledge if we agree to assist them in a cosmic mission. Our species cooperate to uncover universal mysteries and fulfill the ancients' grand plan. As we learn the true nature of the mission, humanity must grapple with the price of knowledge. And the consequences of meddling with the cosmos.

The Chrononauts: Our descendants have learned to travel back before our universe's creation. A group of elite “chrononauts” goes to observe and document the cause of Cosmic Inflation. Navigating the pre-universe void, they journey to the very edge of existence. The travelers encounter mysterious entities and ancient intelligences that defy known science. These benevolent and malevolent beings hold the keys to the origin of all reality.

Leave a comment

The Cosmic Codex
The Cosmic Codex
Living in a science fiction universe...