(This post relates to ‘The Famous Cave Paintings on Isolus 9’ in the Peacock Cloak collection. It was first published in Postscripts).
Perhaps there really is only one soul in the world, looking out through the eyes of every living thing in turn? Perhaps the difference between one person and another is like the difference between a person and their own self at a time they don’t remember.
When I’m walking along a road, I sometimes fix my attention on some landmark up ahead (a lamp post, say), and think about the me that will shortly be walking past it. Even though that other me will exist in only a few minutes, he seems to me to be a stranger, because I don’t have any recollection of being him: as much of a stranger, in a way, as a completely different person would be.
* * *
Clancy and Com appeared in my previous short story collection, The Turing Test. (So in fact, did three other characters in this book.) This means that, although Clancy doesn’t know it, one of the reasons why things can’t possibly work out with for him and Elena, is the existence of another story, already written, about a time in the future when he will set out on his travels again, and will still be on his own.