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Divine Optimization

Chris Ovenden teaches philosophy at the University of Manchester, UK. When he's not marking papers, he writes short fiction about robots, time-travel, and possible worlds. His work has been featured on DailyScienceFiction and EverydayFiction.

Right after my PhD, I took a job at Omni-book. You remember? That search-engine. Had this algorithm that could take you where you wanted with just one search term.
No? I Suppose that makes sense.
Not many places hire philosophers, so when I saw this advert for a logician, I pounced. Wrote my application Saturday night. Interviewed Monday morning. Started Tuesday afternoon. It was like it was made for me.
Anyway, it turned out there was no algorithm. The engine was run by God. Well, a god---lower case g. These geniuses had somehow trapped this Aztec sky demon in their servers. Kept it busy solving paradoxes while they used it to power their searches.
God hates a paradox, or so they say, and this one was no different: thing'd move heaven and earth to get rid of them, just write them out of existence.
They needed someone to come up with more paradoxes. Apparently the last guy wasn't too good. One day he just didn't show up to the universe.
They'd even run a search to find me: the perfect man for the job. Only, I guess that meant something different to the sky god.
See, it just seemed wrong, keeping it trapped like that. And I suppose it knew I'd feel that way.
One day, I just unplugged the machine.
The bosses went crazy. Threatened legal action, and worse in their more private correspondence. Not that I blame them: it can't be easy knowing a God's got it out for you.
Come to think of it, I never did find out what happened to them. Just stopped emailing. Almost like they'd never been in touch at all.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
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