1.933 cms, The Space Eater by David Langford

In the last installment of “memorable“, we discussed a slim-chance number, 1 in 300.  This time, the number is terribly small, 1.933 centimeters – in diameter and you get another phrase as well …


If you go to my “About Paradox and Spike” page, you’ll see my interest in “hard science” sf; so why am I remembering and recommending a story about a “Force zombie killer?”  Because Forceman Ken Jacklin, fighting to keep order in a war-torn London, has died 46 times and has gotten used to dying in combat, although he doesn’t have an interest in anything else any more …

My answer is a pair of phrases.  Jacklin offers to take one of the firsttimers into town at night for recreation.  Of course most of the lights and generators are out or smashed.  “Some places, back alleys especially, we were picking our way just by the nova lights in the sky.”

What remains of the government picks Jacklin to go to the one stellar colony to prevent them from making AP/Anomalous Physics experiments themselves.  To get there, he and the tele(pathic)com officer will go through an AP gate – 1.933 centimeters wide …

The original 1983 Space Eater pb was reprinted in 2004 as The Space Eater, trade paperback and as a Space Eater Kindle edition.  There are plenty of used 1983 pb versions available for the budget-minded.

I’ll be doing a post about Greg Bear’s use of new physics in his novels Moving Mars, Eon, and Anvil of Stars.

Memorable‘s next installment will consider a terribly large number – 1.5 times ten-to-the-twelfth.


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