What Caused the Apocalypse in The Road?

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  • 18 Jun 2017 at 10:45 am #9640

    Richard L.

    This is a laugh.

    I checked and McCarthy could not have known about Element 117 because the element 117 which was named Tennessine was not discovered until 2010.

    Yeah, but here’s the funniest part:

    Milton K. Smith kinda predicted Element 117, which is the second-heaviest element, but in his story which appeared in Amazing Stories, December, 1949, he says that the element was found to be unstable and appeared to be divided in the quantum state, part here, part there, but where there is seems always uncertain.

    Smith could be anybody, a pseudonym perhaps, but like a lot of Arthur C. Clarke stories, it is more about ideas than story. As it happens, on page 117 of this issue, Smith says,

    “Freud had a theory about a censor that prevented the subconscious from being conscious except in a sort of symbology, and that most of our mental processes owed their origin to factors lurking in the subconscious. Looking into that plane would be something like getting rid of the Freudian censor.”

    The plane he speaks of is another dimension. Earlier he says:

    There is only one clue that I know of to account for it. That’s the square root of minus one. It’s used generally to indicate a magnitude at right angles to some direction, and a real number indicates a magnitude along the line. If we use ordinary symbology we have x, y, and z for the three dimensions and i, a substance with imaginary mass for that plane…

    I don’t think that Smith predicted the actual Element 117, but he did predict that some would see the square root of minus one in the God Equation:


    The H. L. Mencken in me finds it all irresistibly funny.

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