Dalrymple's Equation

Paul Fairman | published Jun, 1956

added Jun 19, 2024
cover Image
First Date of Publication
Jun, 1956
Original Source
Imagination
Original Source Type
Magazine - Pulp
Medium
Short Story
Original Language
English
Kasman Review
ISFDB
Tags
Summary: An alien helps local police detectives solve a baffling murder case…

Story Tag Line: “You meet a lot of screwy people when you do police work. Like the guy who popped up in a murder job. Offered to solve the case with…. Dalrymple’s Equation”

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Reviews

  • Vijay Fafat
    Published on

    A tall tale about an alien “from Arva Majoris […] a planet in a galaxy beyond the conception of [humanity’s] most brilliant minds.” . He’s taken on the name, “Tennyson Dalrymple” and uses his alien mathematics to help 2 police detectives solve the mystery of a death at a local bar. To quote the relevant sequences:

    “Dalrymple split a sneer between us. “It’s nothing but a mathematical problem. In the world I come from, students corresponding to your first-graders are started out on far harder equations.”\ “So you can just take a pencil and figure it out, eh?”
    “Certainly.”
    […]
    “As every school child on my planet knows, each of these facts must be given a symbol and must become a part of our exploratory equation.”
    […]
    There is no such thing as chance in a civilization or a culture which is properly based upon mathematics. In such a civilization lies and evasions are unheard of because all action and motivation past, present, or future, can be evaluated and revealed in complete exactitude.”\

    […]

    Dalrymple had the pencil racing over the paper, laying out a series of weird symbols the like of which I had never seen. They were neither numbers nor letters; nor the kind of geometric or algebra symbols used on earth either. Of that I was sure. The closest I can come is to compare them to Egyptian heiroglyphics and yet that’s far from the mark. But whatever they were, Dalrymple seemed to know exactly what he was doing.
    […]
    “There - the exploratory equation is complete. Now we search it for flaws. […] The flaws in this equation stand out by themselves. For instance, our zong is implicated -but must obviously be supplemented in order to balance the terz shading of the exploratory equation.” ”

    Dalrymple later deploys his powerful mathematics to steal a sufficient amount of money to stay on earth comfortably as he explores the local culture.