The Book of Worlds

Miles Breuer | published Jul, 1929

added Jun 1, 2024
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First Date of Publication
Jul, 1929
Original Source
Amazing Stories
Original Source Type
Magazine - Pulp
Medium
Short Story
Original Language
English
Kasman Review
ISFDB
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Summary: A mathematical physicist builds a 4-dimensional stereoscope and finds out the ultimate fate of our world…

Story Tag Line: “As a matter of fact” he continued, “our three-dimensional world is merely a cross-section cut by what we know as space out of the Cosmos that exists in four or more dimensions. Our three-dimensional world bears the same relation to the true status of affairs as do these flat photographs to the models that you photographed. Surely you can grasp that from our equations?”

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Reviews

  • Vijay Fafat
    Published on

    Another story of 4-D from Miles Breuer, this time with Prof. Cosgrave who builds a “hyper-stereoscope” that can combine 3-dimensional views (“geometrical stereograms”) from different angles into a 4-D composite using the extended holographic principle. With his instrument, he finds out that Total Reality is like a book, with each page reflecting the stages of the universe’s evolution, including the rise of organic life. On finding that our future evolution dooms us to an inevitable, self-destructive war, he goes mad. Written in a very skimming, peremptory style, especially the teleologic description of our pessimistic fate.

    There are quite a few pithy lines scattered in the story, such as:

    “I worked out the mathematics of a very ingenious instrument for integrating light rays from two directions into one composite beam”

    And:

    “Points on the adjacent leaves of a book are far apart, considered two-dimensionally. But with the book closed, and to a three dimensional perception which can see ACROSS from one page to another, the two points are very near together”

    and one unusual line for most stories back then:

    [Professor’s assistant mathematician]: “he asked me to work out the equations for the projection of a tesseracoid: c1w^4 + c2x^4 + c3y^4 + c4z^4 = k^4 from eight different directions, each opposing pair of right angles to the other three pairs. Most of the problems he gave me were projection problems.”