The Myth of the Nested Reality

I am just a copy of a copy of a copy.
— Trent Reznor

“The Myth of the Nested Reality” is a theory within the Clarkwoods Literary Universe that reality is naught but a simulation, and that the people running said simulation are inside of a simulation themselves. It builds upon “The Story of the Sisters,” one of the foundational myths of The Old Faith.


The sister goddesses, River and Eden, are the only survivors of an expedition which began on Earth and was tasked with finding new sapient species and new habitable worlds. They’ve realized that their two sister ships have been lost or destroyed, and they’ve decided to repurpose their vessel’s artificial reality system to begin running simulations of their people’s history.


After a number of unsuccessful attempts, they begin adding “fun” things from their own reality’s fantasy and folklore into the simulation. Then, after one of their creations—the dwarf from the story “The Sisters and the Simulation”—finds a way to cross the barrier between worlds, the sisters begin seriously questioning the nature of their own reality.


The sisters come to believe that they exist only in the mind of a writer and illustrator from another universe, the person who is typing these words right now and wondering how his creations figured it all out. The sisters wonder how their creator can call himself an atheist when he has now created a universe within a universe, and why he can’t see that he must simply be but one part of a stack of Russian nesting dolls.


And now that they’ve wondered that, I’m wondering that too.


Lucky for me, Eden and River disagree on whether they’re living in my head or in a simulation I designed, and that should keep them busy for a while. And lucky for both them and me, almost no one inside the CLU believes this nonsense to be true.

Date of Setting
53.4 Billion BCE
Related Ethnicities


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Aug 1, 2023 01:50 by Chris L

The meta is metastasizing! Are they writing you writing them? Is there someone watching you as you type? (It's me, Mon-Thurs 1PM - 2PM.)

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Aug 1, 2023 10:42 by E. Christopher Clark

it's Chrises and simulations all the way down!

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Aug 2, 2023 12:53 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

It's meta all the way down! :O

Aug 3, 2023 00:28 by E. Christopher Clark

Yep, mighty meta!

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Aug 7, 2023 04:05 by Deleyna Marr

It is ridiculous how much I love your writing. Love the meta-meta-meta aspect of this and the way you bring it back to your about page. I love the introspection as well. SO well done!

Aug 7, 2023 04:06 by Deleyna Marr

I also like that I'm reading and critiquing this on the day that we were on stream talking about giving critique. This is one of the articles that just blows me away and leaves me with: there's nothing to critique!

Aug 7, 2023 10:33 by E. Christopher Clark

It's so meta that it's meta is meta.   Thank you for reading, and thank you for all the kind words.

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