Monday, February 23, 2015

A strange attractor in the car park at Wells

Greg Egan has a short story in Axiomatic, "Unstable Orbits in the Space of Lies", where humanity has had some kind of mass sea change in which prevailing belief systems manifest as psychic forces that compel all within their range to believe, and the city of the story is divided into zones of belief that vie and shift, with the protagonist one of a minority who seem to have kept free by constantly keeping between the zones, never being overwhelmed by any one belief system.

The protagonist finally realises that his nomadic journeying around the city is not free at all: he is confined within the physical limits of the strange attractor which corresponds to his own libertarian beliefs.

I thought of this as we walked across the car park in town towards the library this morning. Clare kept pulling off to the right. Eventually, as I gazed at her oddly, she became self-aware and advanced an explanation: "I'm being pulled towards Whiting's."

This being the hardware emporium  which could keep a body entertained for a week.