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The Higgs and I: A Science Fiction Writer's Apology

Friday 28th May, weather same as it was an hour ago, minus some wind chill and plus a few reluctant drops of rain.

The Ultimate Particle? Back in 1984, I think, (of course, I was a mere child at the time) I found out about the Higgs Boson -and bubble universes, and the possibility that we're living in the middle of a cosmic void (fooled by lensing effects that seem to show a busy neighbourhood)- in a series of articles for New Scientist by Stephen Hawking. The science fiction novel I wrote under the influence of these things is called Escape Plans, an adventure set on a far future alternate Earth. Very little read, it's just too impenetrably geeky, as obviously I had to strip out all identifying features such as terms like "Big Bang" "Standard Model" "Higgs" "waves" and so forth. Also, I was convinced I had to write it in a special SPACE RACE COMPUTERESE jargon I had devised...

I decided I would bite the bullet and re-read it myself, first time in twenty-odd years, and I have tracked down the Higgs Boson passage, see below:

"A long time ago," I said, "there was a lab assistant called EAROM*, a highly skilled science Code Reader. She was working on a project to librate the mass of the universe. As you know, that's impossible. The equations just won't stabilise. For a while after we discovered we were in a trapped region this was looked on as a hopeful line of research. EAROM imagined an esosteric particle with a property called co-presence-"

"Connection," murmured Dat

"Sorry. An esoteric connection. The 4-dimensional mass of these particles, or connections -or this connection- would make up the balance. EAROM said that if these particles existed they must exist in the whole universe. If you see what I mean. Not just in our area. I suppose Yolande thinks Millie must have co-present particles in her, and that this proves we have them too. We have to find them, and that's the way it's done."

Himem frowned.
Dat smiled.

"You've described the Intersection, Alice. The solution that all Subs hope for... In the beginning light and matter were one. Something tore them apart, and in that event we were trapped here. The Intersection is what closes the gap again..."

*Electrically alterable read only memory. All the characters had computerese names, the high class folks had acronyms, the underclass had instructions, mostly from Basic.


Anyway, just thought I'd share that with you.

On a more intelligible note, we went to see Attack the Block last night and it is FANTASTIC. The best rollercoaster ride I've had at the movies in a long, long time. Never a dull nanosecond, truly. In Wyndham Tower, by Ballard Street, one dark Bonfire Night in South London, a heroic battle is fought and won. Very lively triffids this time round!

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