We have figured out how the series ends, if anybody cares. (Apart from Father and Mrs. Annonymous who -- choking up here -- maybe care a little too much, okay?). Not a spoiler, just a guess.
Arguably the best space opera of all time, and certainly the only television program we have ever seen which attempts to address both religion and politics without dumbing either one down, Battlestar Galactica is drawing swift to its close. Humans and robots seem, at last, more interested in shared survival than in mutual assured destruction. Their fragile alliance, almost destroyed last week, now seems secure. Or secure-ish. And oh, yeah, they found Earth but it was a radioactive wasteland. So what's left?
Only one thing: the Omega Point.
For those who have missed the fun, Frank J. Tipler is a mathematician at Tulane who has been slowly building a truly wacky hypothesis: that he can prove mathematically the existence, in this order, of eternal life, God, and the other truths of Christian dogma, including Incarnation and Virgin Birth.
His theory is that, someday, as the universe contracts toward its eventual "Omega Point," a moment will occur at which Life, broadly defined, occupies the entirety of space, and the universe itself becomes a vast living computer. At this point, the computer will have the capacity to obtain and store virtual records of everything, and everyone, who has ever existed. To the cybernetic constructs themselves, it will seem as though they are alive, and that they remain alive forever.
This is pretty much useless as theology, despite -- or perhaps because of -- its family connection to Teilhard de Chardin (near whose gravesite, incidentally, we have eaten several fine meals at the Culinary Institute of America). Mathematical certainty leaves no room for faith, and the contributions of science to doctrine require a high level of scientific consensus. There is, and we stress this, none whatsoever about Tipler's theories. If there were, it would be a consensus that he's a silly mathematician, playing silly head games. Sort of like the Joyce character who proves by logic (and, n.b., theology) that "Hamlet was himself his own father."
But as science fiction, this is an awesome tool. Among our teen favorites was Philip Jose Farmer's To Your Scattered Bodies Go, in which every human being who had ever lived (along with one alien) was resurrected along the banks of a vast river. Eventually, you had weird connections -- between Mark Twain and King John Lackland, or Sir Richard Francis Burton and Cyrano de Bergerac. It was, as we said in those days, trippy.
Anyhoo, Farmer never gave a workable explanation, that we can recall, for how this miracle occurred. Tipler does, and his explanation has been snapped up by a few writers. We don't read much fiction anymore, and what we do tends to involve the bone-crunching adventures of Jack Reacher. But we did enjoy Darwinia, by Robert Charles Wilson, because it explained how a World War I doughboy could encounter dinosaurs in Brazil. And yes, the explanation was the Omega Point.
So, Battlestar Galactica. Well, the robots -- Cylons, they're called, which we thought was one of the postwar miracle fibers -- already have the ability to "resurrect" themselves, by transferring memories from one body to another. And one of the running arguments of the show has been whether Cylons are alive, and if so, what relationship their "life" bears to human life. This question was sharpened considerably by the revelation that a significant number of human beings were actually Cylons -- and at least one of them, dead for some time, has already been resurrected.
So the plot device is already there, in the form of this marvelous technology and of the fungibility of "natural" and "artificial" forms of life. It is a comparatively small step, and a dramatically logical one, for the remnants of the human race to discover that they are in effect all Cylons, in the sense that none of them exists anymore except as an Omega Point construct, a tiny subroutine within a vast celestial computer. Their real task was never to find Earth, but only to discover the truth about their own existence.
That's our prediction, for what it's worth.