Dimensional Analysis and Mr Fortescue

Eric Claire | published Jan, 1965

added Jun 19, 2024
cover Image
First Date of Publication
Jan, 1965
Original Source
Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy
Original Source Type
Magazine - Pulp
Short Story
Original Language
Kasman Review
Summary: Mr. Fortescue had real problems. He was losing everything that walked into his brand new House of Fun, Magic and Mystery. Which naturally called for some very fancy dimensional analysis...

Story Tag Line: “ “The nonth dimension!” Ivan said firmly. “Your slap-dash, dimensionally improper, way of figuring inevitably ended up with a dimensionless lay-out. So, naturally, the people and my ballpoint pen!—slipped into a space of no dimension, the nonth dimension. QED.” ”

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  • Vijay Fafat
    Published on

    A fairly silly story typical of pulp magazines. Mr. Fortescue wanted to to build a funhouse (“House of Fun, Magic, and Mystery”) in his town. Why? Read with an eye-roll:

    “This town needed a good fun house where young fellows could steer their girls through dark and scary passages with lots of green skeletons lurking, ready to lunge—at which the girls would holler, and throw their arms around the fellows necks. Many an ice-pack that had dammed the river of romance would be thereby broken up.”

    In particular, he hoped to take his love-interest, Maureen Wellesley, through the dark passages in hopes of winning her affection. Well, something went wrong in the construction of the funhouse. People started falling into another dimension at a specific place in the funhouse. Completely befuddled, Mr. Fortescue went to demand answers from the architect, Floyd Wright – as a play on Frank Lloyd Wright. When he recounted the full story, Wright could not explain what might have been happening, but his lackey, Ivan Splasz, did. Ivan was a “quantum mechanician”, a bit of an idiot savant. A self-proclaimed expert of “Dimensional Analysis”, he was convinced that traditional constructions were flawed and Wright had accidentally made an error which created a dimensional rift in the funhouse. As Wright said,

    “ “It is Topology” Floyd said. “I must accidentally have made a Moebius Strip. People go round and round, and come out there. Or it is a Klein Bottle —” ”

    To demonstrate this, Ivan wrote down a complicated geometrical equation which turned out to have two solutions. When he implemented the first solution using some origami-style paper construction, the paper vanished into an unseen dimension with unknown dangers visible. So he implemented the second solution, which caused the paper construction to stick out into a different dimension, one which fulfilled all wishes.

    So now, Ivan had provided a paper/plywood construction for an implement which could reach into the “Nonth” dimension, as Ivan called it, and fish out the people and objects which had fallen in there. And one can guess it – inanimate objects like currency notes came out mirror reversed while humans came out having experienced their deepest desires in the nonth dimension (no mention if their physiologies were mirrored…)

    The story very naturally reminded me of Heinlein’s “And He Built a Crooked House…” and Martin Gardner’s “The No-Sided Professor”…