In Clarkwoods’ literary universe, reality is cyclical. That is, the universe “reboots” on occasion. These reboots occur when sentient lifeforms, after discovering the ability to travel in time, succeed in their attempts to change the past.
The first documented example of this phenomenon occurs in Those Little Bastards. Emily Henderson, distraught over the events depicted in the story “Revelation,” travels back in time to prevent the cloning of Jesus Christ from the Shroud of Turin. As a result of her actions in the story “Deus ex Machina,” the universe reboots into its current iteration. Christ is never cloned and the utopia/dystopia spawned from his resurrection never takes hold. The time-displaced Emily, emboldened by her success, then seeks to reverse an earlier injustice. But which book that happens in would be a massive spoiler. And though E. Christopher Clark doesn’t believe in spoilers, we know that some of you do.
Two paragraphs found on a scrap of parchment inside the tavern called The Strumpet's Sister claim to describe the nature of reboots in the CLU:
All that is, that was, and that ever will be was born of the seven voices. Facing the doom of their own world, they sang into the abyss, across the river without end, and they made this place that we call home.
Their voices are lost amongst ours now, but one day we must find them again. For when it is time for our own world to end, we must do as they did and sing the next one into existence.
Whether the calamity described in these sentences is real or not remains to be seen, but even the atheists among us love a good fairy tale, so we’re sharing it with you just in case.