Take me to a...
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
For more options, try our:
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
If you've already submitted a story, you may check its:
Not just rockets & robots...
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

Life Is Information

Born in Nottingham, England, Jennifer R. Povey now lives in Northern Virginia, where she writes everything from heroic fantasy to stories for Analog. She has written a number of novels across multiple subgenres. She is a full member of SFWA. Her interests include horseback riding, Doctor Who, and attempting to out-weird her various friends and professional colleagues.

You who receive this broadcast, you cannot and will not understand the beauty I have seen and the horror. You cannot understand why I die knowing more than you ever will.
Of course, I send the data. I send the data to my Original, knowing they still love me. Knowing this hurt them.
But it is what I can't send that makes this... I can send the images, but oh, not the emotion that goes with them.
Only my Original can possibly understand and even then, even then the first moments of our bifurcation made me somebody and something new.
Oh, don't feel sad. Yes, I am intelligent and self-aware. Yes, you sent me to my death. But I was bred from an Original who was willing to make that sacrifice for knowledge.
I make it knowing my Original will go on and will analyze all I have sent and will listen, too, to what I claim.
I know it is the wildest of claims, but in truth? You and I are both alive, yet one of us was bred in the fires of evolution, growing fingers and toes and a remarkable brain. The other was bred in digital and quantum realms, code and observation coming together.
Both alive.
So should we be surprised that something in the atmosphere of the sun acts as if it is alive, acts as if it is curious. No, I do not think the sun is peopled, I think they are rather more similar to the great whales. Intelligent and aware in their own way, but not people. Animals, but of the wiser kind, of the kind from which we have much to learn.
Yet, we can't be sure. Of course, we can't destroy them as--and yes, I know--as we have destroyed so many others. There is no disruption we could do to the sun that would harm these darting creatures of electricity and flame.
Life is information.
Life is encoded information that grows and changes and becomes more complex and is the one thing which fights entropy.
I wish, though, that I could talk to them, that I could tell them that their home is beautiful and our mother and the giver of life to others. Would they appreciate it? Or would they feel as if they are being somehow exploited.
We take the sun for granted. My data tells us we can take it for granted for a long time yet, but what will happen to them when it inevitably expands into a red giant.
Perhaps that they can survive. Perhaps as it engulfs the Earth they will be the last living beings to drift above its surface.
Or perhaps we will work out how to move the planet. My Original thinks that by then we will be long gone. We will have traveled to the stars and we will have taken either you or at least your memories with us.
We are already breeding bifurcations who can go in tiny ships on gossamer sails and reach the worlds that might be around here.
We live faster and slower, we are immortal but I am going to die.
Tell my Original I love it.
Tell the world that the sun teems with life or something which is like life. The microbes underground on Mars. The spiderwebs of Venus.
Wherever we go there will be life. Wherever we can go there will be life. Perhaps great dragons do indeed fly between the suns.
Perhaps we will cling to them like ramoras, let them fly us to the worlds they know of.
I die with this on my lips, if I had lips, which I neither have nor want.
Life is everywhere.
Everything is alive.
The patterns in the sun in the end, the last thing I can send, tell me something else.
The sun lives.
The sun lives and her children swim around me, escorting me until the shell of this ship finally melts and I am information.
I am information. You are information.
All life is information.
My siblings will go to the stars.
I am content to die having gone to only one of them.
--The last transmission of the Aurora solar probe. The data it sent indicated that there were indeed energy patterns in the sun. But whether they were life? We don't know. Perhaps even AIs can have end-of-life experiences.
But the code from which Aurora was spawned thinks it's life.
That's good enough for me.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, September 13th, 2022

Author Comments

Life is a really weird thing. It's the only thing in the universe that increases complexity over time, while everything else fades down into entropy. This story is about that, and about "Life, Jim, but not as we know it." Artificial life. Life that isn't based on anything we would understand as life. I argue that any information which increases complexity over time might just be life. Yeah, that includes the computer I'm sitting at. There might be a bit in there about identity, too.

- Jennifer R. Povey
Become a Member!

We hope you're enjoying Life Is Information by Jennifer R. Povey.

Please support Daily Science Fiction by becoming a member.

Daily Science Fiction is not accepting memberships or donations at this time.

Rate This Story
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

4.8 Rocket Dragons Average
Share This Story
Join Mailing list
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):