“If you accept that the universe is infinite” – From “The beach” by Alex Garland

“OK.” I coughed quietly. “If you accept that the universe is infinite, then that means there’s an infinite amount of chances for things to happen, right?”

She nodded, and sucked on the red coal floating by her fingertips.

“Well, if there’s an infinite amount of chances for something to happen, then eventually it will happen – no matter how small the likelihood.”
“Ah.”
“That means, somewhere in space there’s another planet that, by an incredible series of coincidences, developed exactly the same way as ours. Right down to the smallest detail.”
“Is there?”
“Definitely. And there’s another which is exactly the same, except that palm tree over there is two feet to the right. And there’s another where the tree is two feet to the left. In fact, there’s planets with infinite amounts of variations on that tree alone, an infinite amount of times…”

Silence. I wondered if she was asleep.

“So how about that?” I prompted.
“Interesting,” she whispered. “In these planets, everything that can happen will happen.”
“Exactly.”
“Then in one planet, maybe I am a movie star.”
“There’s no maybe about it. You live in Beverly Hills and swept last year’s Oscars.”
“That’s good.”
“Yeah, but don’t forget, somewhere else your film was a flop.”
“Oh?”
“It bombed. The critics turned on you, the studio lost a fortune, and you got booze and Valium. It was pretty ugly.”

Françoise rolled on to her side and looked at me. “Tell me about some other worlds,” she whispered. In the moonlight her teeth flashed silver as she smiled.

“Well,” I replied. “That’s a lot to tell.”

Alex Garland – “The beach”

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