Mathematics In Sci-Fi: A Wrinkle In Time

I just read A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle, one of two dozen young adult books my wife won at a church fair. It was a disturbing book for me. I did not like it.

Why? How could I dislike a classic? Jealousy? Maybe. You see, I tessered in my first novel without even knowing it. Tessering, as in using a tesseract to travel through the universe faster than the speed of light, is L’Engle’s method of getting around. I, on the other hand, used a four dimensional hypercube! Check out Wikipedia to discover the difference. And I used a deus ex machina of hyperthreads instead of mental powers to achieve the physical jumps.

Even worse were the few diagrams used to explain the concept of folding space-time so that one could leap across “the wrinkle.” The diagram uses an ant crawling along a string. Horrors! One of my favorite scenes in my Time Travelers Are Schizophrenic was when Krizel Kane explained how they all got to Altheris by having a Prometheus beetle walk across his blue bandana. Prometheus beetles are deadly, and you would not want one walking toward you.

Then there was L’Engle’s “it is exciting to discover that matter and energy are the same thing, that size is an illusion, that time is a material substance.” You see, in my multiverse, it is time that is the illusion! I never thought about size.

So, was IT the black spectre of plagiarism that disturbed me? No. This was the first time I read her book. One of L’Engle’s main philosophical points is that “like and equal” are not the same. Everyone is unique. Her style left many of the details unexplored, which is what really bothered me about the book. It was too fuzzy. Good and evil were almost abstract concepts. My style is much more detailed and my evil is solidly based in the Empire Of The Foreverones. As in evolution, my Family Of Man series solved similar creative problems in similar ways, so there are intersections in our ideas. Whew!