One of my favorite passages from Lovecraft is the first paragraph of his short story “The Call of Cthulhu“:
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
As I’ve argued here before, while Lovecraft is most often classified as a horror, dark fantasy, or weird tale writer—he might classify himself as a writer of supernatural horror—much of his Mythos stories can classified as a science fiction as it is a response to contemporary scientific thought.
All this is simply to preface my favorite passage from Charles Stross’ The Fuller Memorandum:
Magic is a branch of applied mathematics, after all, and when you process information, you set up waves in the platonic ultrastructure of reality that can amplify and reinforce—
To put bluntly, there are too many humans on this planet. Six-billion-plus primates. And we think too loudly. Our brains are neurocomputers, incredibly complex. THe more observers there are, the more quantum weirdness is observed, and the more inconsistencies creep into our reality. The weirdness is already going macroscopic—has been, for decades, as any disciple of Forteana could tell you. Sometime really soon, we’re going to cross a critical threshold which, in combination with our solar system’s ongoing drift through a stellar neighborhood where space itself is stretched thin, is going to make it likely that certain sleeping agencies will stir in their aeons-long slumber, and notice us.
No, we can’t make CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN go away by smashing all our computers and going back to pencils and paper—if we did that, our amazingly efficient just-in-time food delivery logistics would go down the pan and we’d all starve. No, we can’t make CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN go away by holding a brisk nuclear war and frying the guys with the biggest dicks—induced megadeaths have consequences that can be exploited for much the same ends, as the Ahnenerbe-SS discovered to their cost.
CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN is the demonological equivalent of an atomic chain reaction. Human minds equal plutonium nuclei. Put too many of them together in too small a place, and they begin to get a wee bit hot. Cross the threshold and suddenly and emphatically and they get a lot hot. And the elder gods wake up, smell the buffet, and prepare to tuck in. (61)
Just a bit of Stross’ science fictional thinking of which I think Lovecraft would have approved mightily.