If the universe of the aliens has a stronger strong nuclear force than what we experience here in our universe, would that mean that the alien life forms should have "more empty space" in the material of their bodies than we do? Asimov's aliens can "attenuate" and then merge the material structure of their bodies with each-other.
Asimov suspected that many of his own story ideas could be traced back to roots among the pulp magazines he read during the 1930s. In 1932, "The Dimension of Chance" was published in Wonder Stories. Imagine the young Isaac Asimov trying to make sense of such stories in which people would "cross over" into alternative universes where the laws of physics (as known to us) did not apply.
In the mid-1950s Hugh Everett first imagined and published the central idea of what became the "many worlds" interpretation of the mathematical theory of quantum states. In these interpretations, each quantum state with a non-zero probability is assumed to be equally real, even if not observed.
popularizer during the 1960s. Asimov's big (three volumes) book on physics (Understanding Physics) was written not too long before The Gods Themselves. In the third volume of Understanding Physics, published in 1966, Asimov provided an account of how physicists had discovered particles such as protons, neutrinos and pions. Pions are mediators of the strong force that holds together nucleons. He briefly mentioned that physicists were interested in the possibility of "parallel realities".
In 1968, Larry Niven had published "All the Myriad ways", a story that assumes the discovery of a technology that allows Earthlings to start visiting other parallel universes that arise spontaneously at each "branch point" of our historical timeline. As a student of mathematics who started writing science fiction in the 1960s, Niven became one of the popularizers of physics and the "many worlds" interpretation of the wave function.
|The Exode Saga|
In his science fiction novel Contact, Carl Sagan imagined that aliens might use advanced technology to create new universes with precisely tuned natural laws. For the Exode Saga, I imagine that the Huaoshy are able to alter the physical laws of the universe, but I've never tried to imagine how that might be done.
In The Gods Themselves, Asimov used an imaginary future technology, the "pionizer", to open connections between parallel universes. When the pionizer was used, that allowed leakage and mixing of the physical properties of the connected universes.
In Part 2 of The Gods Themselves, Asimov imagined that the alien "emotional" named Dua could attenuate and spread out and collect information like an antenna. Was Selena (in Part 3) able to do something similar? Were Dua and Selena telepathically in contact with each other? Once a "pionizer" existed in one universe, was it inevitable that another would be made in our universe?
|"Sense from Thought Divide"|
|Foundation and Earth|
I've long been puzzled by the prominent role that Asimov gave to intuition in some of his stories. Back in 2010 I blogged about the purported intuition of Golan Trevize at the end of Asimov's Foundation saga.
It is a basic fact of human brain physiology that we can know things without understanding how we know them. Still, it is endlessly tempting for science fiction writers to imagine future science that would account for mysteries like telepathy or intuition. Asimov was audacious in suggesting that it might be possible to genetically engineer humans to be "intutionists".
Next: Isaac Asimov's novel: The Caves of Steel
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