Monday, April 4, 2016

The Knobby Giraffe, by Rudy Rucker

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(Hard SF) Irit wants to do her Ph.D. thesis on quantum physics and the mind. She lost her girlfriend four months ago, but she thinks there may be a way to change reality. (3,383 words; Time: 11m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended
Recommended By: RHorton:4

"," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 71, published on .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

It's impossible to believe that Irit got a bachelor's degree in Physics, much less that she's a Ph.D. candidate. She knows a lot of physics buzzwords, but seems pretty ignorant overall. In particular, she seems to think that the quantum physics idea that "you alter things by observing them" refers to human observers. In fact, a particle is "observed" when it interacts with another particle. Shirly's advice to Irit is similarly ignorant.

Beyond that, most of the story is just an exercise in magical thinking, at the end of which, Shirley comes back from the dead.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 71)
Rudy Rucker Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

3 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Well, that was totally whack-a-doodle. I don't think you're meant to take Irit seriously as a Ph.D. candidate. Her research consists of taking a lot of naps in the MRI machine, and everyone knows she's sleeping with her thesis advisor. I assumed the story was making fun of pseudo-science and people getting carried away with crackpot theories. I'll also note that Lightspeed labeled it as fantasy.

    1. I didn't notice the fantasy label, but I'll call a story SF if it presents itself as real, and hard SF if the plot revolves around some aspect of the science--even if the science is wrong. (Otherwise there would be no such thing as "bad hard SF."

      I suppose it's possible that it was meant as humor and I just didn't get the joke . . .

    2. Oh, I didn't mean it should be re-labeled. I really wouldn't consider it fantasy either. I was just pointing out that the Lightspeed label shows it might be meant as more fantastical. Although since they always have 2 fantasy and 2 science fiction stories, this might be somewhat arbitrary. This one might just have been less science fictional than two of the other stories they were publishing that month.