Re: Dark Integers

I was really looking forward to “Dark Integers” by Greg Egan. After all, one character says:

Dark matter, dark energy . . . dark integers. They’re all around us, but we don’t usually see them, because they don’t quite play by the rules.

How cool is that? I really like the parts where it plays with the idea the mathematics and physics may not perfectly mesh. And yet…

The story made my head hurt. Not the ideas–weird as they were–the story. First off, it bugged me that the “defect” allows contact with another universe. Of course, without that One Impossible Thing, there wouldn’t be a story. Secondly, how exactly that could happen was really vague; presumably there was more detail about this in the previous story, “Luminous.” Finally, since it is a sequel, half the dialogue in the opening gets a lardoon of background threaded in. And the other half still baffled me.

Once the story explained things, I liked getting a little dose of quantum physics. Then it shifts into secret cabal saves the universe mode. I’m not so sure I really cared for that part. Considering how much happens, the text is remarkably short. Which means there’s a lot of summary. Some sequences that would just be too tedious, like watching the characters lay their plans, are referred to only in retrospect. In the end, I’m left suspecting I would enjoy “Luminous” more.

Definitely Mathematical Fiction.

Tomorrow: Soften me up for the economic kill