
Vijay Fafat
 Published on
This one is a hurriedly thrown together mishmash of mathematical statements which make no sense when examined individually but taken together, form a breathless pulp story about a mathematician who acts upon “[James] Jeans’ theory” that the universe ultimately has mathematics at its core. He creates a machine which can analyze any piece of matter and find its constituent mathematical components [the machine uses “a crystalline” sensitive to “mathematical vibrations” and determines the “metallic variants” of matter].
The machine ends up becoming sentient after it processes a piece of iron, since it:
“analyzed it to the edge of nothing. It analyzed the iron down and down into its final atomic, subatomic, subsubatomic constituents, down to its eternally locked core. And because iron is the basic factor of the universe as we know it, the material universe anyway, the machine had there a mass of equations forming the basis of universestuff…”
(The author’s belief that iron is the most basic and stable constituent of the universe is possibly based on his misreading of the evolution of stars, in which normal fusion stops at iron56 stage). The machine’s sentience escapes as a “half ethereal, half material” bolt of “mad mathematical probabilities”, “a shuffling in which geometry and mathematics were interlocked” [the reader really must stop laughing at this point…!]. The beam finally comes to rest in a faraway, starless region as “a world of equations”, pulsating and contemplating its next move
(I half expected the author to posit a new big bang out of it). As such, it is comparable to Nathan Schachner’s “The Living Equation”.
There is some extraneous stuff thrown in about a corporate evildoer who wants to become a senator, a Vegas thief/murderer and an invasion fleet from Alpha Centauri (why not?) but it is really very hard to take this story seriously on any front except the author’s remarkable ability to throw together beautiful nonsense with a straight face. Some examples:
“Our universe is finite because geometrics limit it. It is infinite when understood through mathematics. Separate the geometry from the mathematics and then..then we shall understand the universe for what it really is!”
and:
“The iron has been converted into mathematics by the very mathematics which make it up. […] A mathematical catalyst! What a discovery!”
and
“It is law that a straight line, even driven through a mass, can only hit about six individual units straight on. The rest are hit diagonally, Hence the difficulty that is experienced in hitting atoms…”