Via Sentient Developments, here’s some brainfood for them as likes their high-concept cosmological hard SF. Y’know how SETI has yet to locate any alien civilisational traces by looking for large-scale exploitation of stellar energy sources? Well, perhaps they’re looking in the wrong cupboard; a new paper from Clement Vidal of the Evolution, Complexity and Cognition group at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel posits that black holes are the ideal energy source for an ultra-advanced civilisation, and that our own universe might actually be “a science fair project of an entity from an exo-universe”:
Energy-hungry galactic empires might skip tapping stellar energy and simply go to extracting energy from black holes. These collapsed islands of space-time are the universe’s ultimate Energizer Bunnies. They are far more efficient at converting mass to energy than are the fusion engines of stars.
But more than that, says Vidal, is the ability to control the microcosm as well. Today we can manipulate individual atoms via nanotechnology. But advanced alien physicists would tinker with elementary particles and the very structure of space-time itself.
Having mastered control over space-time, a super-civilization might want to fabricate their own black holes for a variety of tasks: waste disposal, starship propulsion, hyper-computing, maybe even time travel.
On the macro-scale, super-civilizations might re-engineer stars using black holes. The quest for immortality beyond a star’s lifetime would be a big motivation.
Suppose extraterrestrials manufacture a black hole to accrete material from a burned-out star, a white dwarf. This would provide abundant energy beyond the star’s fusion-burning stage.
It may be impossible to define sensawunda, but I can sure as hell point it out when I see it. *points*