The Universe Broke Down

Robert Arthur | published Jun, 1941

added Jun 6, 2024
cover Image
First Date of Publication
Jun, 1941
Original Source
Additional Publication Information
Published in June 7, 1947 issue
Original Source Type
Magazine - Pulp
Short Story
Original Language
Kasman Review
Summary: A funny tall-tale about shooting bullets and golf balls through holes in space, shots heard around the universe…

Story Tag Line: “Yes, Lucius,” he said, as the bullets began cracking past us for the third time. “Those objects are circling the entire universe every fifteen minutes. Naturally, since space is curved, they return to their starting point, whisk through the gap of thirty feet of real space unaffected by my pseudo fourth dimension, and are off again into infinity.”

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  • Vijay Fafat
    Published on

    Jeremiah Jupiter is an extremely rich, eccentric genius who builds an antenna which can take some strange meteorite material called “magna” and amplify cosmic rays to disintegrate the magna, giving rise to what he very modestly calls, “Jupiter Fourth Dimensional Effect”. As he explains:

    “It’s the heart and soul of my apparatus for short-circuiting the spatial dimension: for — to make a crude analogy in an effort to get the whole thing clear inside your unscientific mind — drilling a hole sideways through space.
    “I’ll give you an example. Suppose two ants are on a sheet of paper — a two-dimensional world. Suppose they’re on opposite sides of the paper, and want to join each other. One of them will have to crawl clear across the sheet, over the edge, and clear back on the other side. That’s equivalent to traveling distance, or through space, in our three-dimensional world. But suppose one of the ants invents an apparatus for drilling a hole in the paper, through which it can crawl in an instant to join the other. That would be equivalent to my Spatial By-pass apparatus, which utilizes a pseudo-fourth dimension of its own creation to make it possible to move from one spot to another without traversing the intervening distance.”

    The genius does not take into account the 15-minute travel time through the hyper-spatial jumps when he fires some bullets, golf balls, a tomahawk hatchet, etc. through the spatial hole he creates with the apparatus, resulting in a very silly situation of objects hurtling “around the universe”, passing the firing location repeatedly. As to why he thinks they are going “around the universe” I don’t know.

    Very childishly written fiction but hinges entirely on the geometry of higher dimension.