n. fictional Philotes are subatomic particles. The smallest in the Universe that are known to humans, forming strands and threads between other particles. Philotes are thought to have a connection with intelligent life, being perhaps even the stuff of consciousness itself. When matter changes form or physical connections are changed or broken, the philotic links between the particles will linger for an amount of time proportionate to their size. Interstellar communication is made possible by splitting a subatomic particle and conveying one part to another star system. Each segment of the particle will be sympathetic to manipulation of it's twin and the philotic connections convey messages faster than light.

Philotic threads also appear between people, forming a sort of physical bond between them at the subatomic level, usually with family, but also in any case involving strong feelings on the part of either. The buggers, an alien race consisting of hive organisms, uses philotic connections to bind the queen to her drones and workers. An intelligence, calling herself Jane was born in the philotic threads between ansibles, the devices used for interstellar communication.

Orson Scott Card first introduced the idea of philotic threads in his novel, Xenocide, the third in a growing series of books that was originally intended as one short story. The idea of a sentient being rising out of an electronic web connecting various planets was also explored in The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons, which, curiously enough, came out one year before Xenocide, although both novels deal with different subjects and in a vastly different way.

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