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Congratulations on the Purchase of Your new Universe!

Simon Kewin is the author of over 100 published short and flash stories. He lives in England with his wife and their daughters. His cyberpunk novel The Genehunter and his fantasy novels Engn and Hedge Witch were recently published. Find him at simonkewin.co.uk.

Congratulations on the purchase of your new universe! Your SingUlarityTM is the product of entirely natural universe-formation processes within the greater multiverse, and has been carefully handpicked to offer you a literally infinite range of possibilities! And thanks to our patented CosmOSTM cosmological engineering technology, you now have complete freedom to establish the fundamental physical properties in your universe that you want to see.
Please take a few moments to read this quick-start guide, as mistakes in the formation of your cosmos cannot usually be rectified once the laws of physics have been established. In particular, please note that MultiversalityŽ Inc. cannot be held responsible for the nature, character, content or arrangement of your creation. All universes are formed entirely at their owner's risk.
1. Set aside sufficient space in which to work. A void limitless in extent is ideal, as exponential inflation in the immediate aftermath of your BigBangTM means your universe will rapidly become quite large. Don't be fooled by the current size of your SingUlarityTM; remember that it has infinite density and that all the energy and mass required for the creation of an entire cosmos has been carefully packed into this single particle, ready for use.
2. Study the diagrams of the component parts of your new universe carefully before you start, playing close attention to their orientation and how they fit together. For instance, if the spin or electrical charge of your subatomic particles are placed the wrong way round, unfortunate side-effects may result, e.g. a universe that moves backwards through time, or that has exactly the same amount of matter and antimatter, resulting in its annihilation.
3. Pay particular attention to the values you assign to your fundamental physical forces, cosmological constants and equations. Many combinations will mean your universe won't survive very long, or may not even expand from its SingUlarityTM in the first place. Values assigned at random, while entertaining, have a very low chance of yielding a viable creation. It is perfectly possible to create a universe whose basic physical parameters mean that the development and evolution of complex physical structures (including organic life) is either impossible or extremely unlikely. Or, while organic biology may be possible in your new universe, it may be severely limited, e.g. by short life spans or an inability to attain the level of cultural sophistication required for the establishment of interstellar civilization.
4. Be careful not to spill anything on your SingUlarityTM as you prepare it, as this may introduce random effects in your universe that yield unknown consequences.
5. Take time to follow the steps set out in the enclosed blueprints carefully. While they may seem complex at first glance, remember that your new universe may survive for many billions of years, and may even be ageless. Note, also, that since time does not yet exist within your creation, there is no hurry at all to initiate your BigBangTM. Take your time. Savor the possibilities.
6. Your new SingUlarityTM contains precisely the correct amount of matter/energy required for the creation of your cosmos. Should you find you have any parts left over once your BigBangTM has initiated (e.g. missing mass that is required for the successful operation of your universe), don't panic. In rare circumstances it might be possible to make corrections once expansion has begun. However, such action should only be attempted in an emergency and is not guaranteed to succeed. Don't leave any such corrections too late, e.g. until sentient life has evolved to the point where it notices the mistake.
7. Note that your universe may experience any of the following over the course of its life time: a failure to form stars and galaxies; galaxies engulfed by supermassive back holes; mass life form extinction events; the collapse of the entirety of space/time back into a singularity; the entropic decay of all creation into low-energy uniformity. MultiversalityŽ Inc. cannot be held responsible for any such outcomes. Remember that, with an effectively infinite number of universes in the multiverse, all such outcomes are not only possible, they are inevitable.
8. Please note that MultiversalityŽ Inc. is unable to offer any assistance in the running of your new universe once your BigBangTM has been initiated. Support lines are not guaranteed to be manned. While we take customer satisfaction very seriously and will undertake to attempt to resolve any requests for assistance satisfactorily, no guarantees are extended in this regard. Please note, however, the existence of the Forum, where you should be able to find answers to most questions on the successful creation and operation of a universe.
9. Be wary of intervening too much in the operation of your new cosmos once it is operational. In particular, interventions that fundamentally contravene the basic laws of reality will have a severely deleterious affect on your universe, and the resulting contradictions and paradoxes may even cause the entirety of your creation to collapse or explode. Be wary of revealing yourself to any intelligent life forms that may have evolved within your cosmos. While it may be possible to instill in them some explanation or justification for the apparently miraculous, e.g. with talk of quantum fluctuations, this should generally be avoided as it can cause confusion and distress.
Thanks for reading these instructions and enjoy the creation and operation of your new universe. With luck, your creation will go on to give you many billions of years of entertainment and pleasure.
CosmOSTM, SingUlarityTM, and BigBangTM are trademarks of MultiversalityŽ Inc. All rights reserved.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Author Comments

I was erecting some flat pack bookshelves--trying to work out how Part D fitted into Part K, reading the dire warnings about making sure Part F is the right way round otherwise the back will be the front, wondering where the single left-over bolt was supposed to have gone--when the idea for this story materialized in my head. "Set aside sufficient space in which to work" it said in the instructions, and the rest of the story pretty much flowed from there.

I have no idea whether the multiverse model of reality will turn out to be accurate, but I can report that the bookshelves look great.

- Simon Kewin
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