# History Literature / TheImaginary

Go To

* FictionalDocument: ''Helo's Tables of Time Integrals'' is a mathematics book similar to the real life ''CRC Standard Mathematical Tables and Formulae'' or ''Standard Four-Figure Mathematical Tables'', which Lor Haridin uses to look up complicated mathematics answers.
--> "You look 'em up in a table, taking half an hour to find the proper entry, and they give you seventeen possible answers. You have to pick the one that makes sense, and - Arcturus help me! - either they all do, or none do! Run up against eight of them, as we do in this problem, and we've got enough permutations to last us the rest of our life." -- Lor Haridin

to:

* FictionalDocument: ''Helo's Tables of Time Integrals'' is a mathematics book similar to the real life ''CRC Standard Mathematical Tables and Formulae'' or ''Standard Four-Figure Mathematical Tables'', which Tables''. Lor Haridin uses ''Helo's'' to look up complicated mathematics answers.
--> "You look 'em up in a table, taking half an hour to find the proper entry, and they give you seventeen possible answers. You have to pick the one that makes sense, and - Arcturus help me! - either they all do, or none do! Run up against eight of them, as we do in this problem, and we've got enough permutations to last us the rest of our life." -- Lor Haridin'''Lor Haridin'''

With the problem solved, Porus goes home to his wife. In his absence, a pair of underlings, Lor Haridin and Eblo Ranin, attempt a mercury-vaporlamp stimulus involving the unusual squid, to see what a predicted reaction which includes an imaginary quantity looks like. Dealing with the imaginary numbers, however, was unwise, because the squid reacts by dying, and creating a SwirlyEnergyThing that kills everything it comes into contact with it.

to:

With the problem solved, Porus goes home to his wife. In his absence, a pair of underlings, Lor Haridin and Eblo Ranin, attempt a mercury-vaporlamp stimulus involving the unusual squid, to see what a predicted reaction which includes an imaginary quantity looks like. Dealing with the imaginary numbers, however, was unwise, because the squid reacts by dying, and creating a SwirlyEnergyThing SwirlyEnergyThingy that kills everything it comes into contact with it.

* BrownNote: A [[GreenRocks new stimulus]] is tested on the Beta Draconis IV squid, creating a SwirlyEnergyThing of exotic radiation which kills all organic life.
* CasualInterstellarTravel: In the time it takes the university to send for Tan Porus, and for him to return, the [[SwirlyEnergyThing glowing field of death]] has [[TravelingAtTheSpeedOfPlot only grown]] to one thousand square miles.

to:

* BrownNote: A [[GreenRocks new stimulus]] is tested on the Beta Draconis IV squid, creating a SwirlyEnergyThing SwirlyEnergyThingy of exotic radiation which kills all organic life.
* CasualInterstellarTravel: In the time it takes the university to send for Tan Porus, and for him to return, the [[SwirlyEnergyThing [[SwirlyEnergyThingy glowing field of death]] has [[TravelingAtTheSpeedOfPlot only grown]] to one thousand square miles.

* FeaturelessPlaneOfDisembodiedDialogue: HumanoidAliens from the same planet are given consistent descriptors and aliens from different planets can almost be told apart without their names, but buildings and rooms get less than minimal description. Notably, the [[SwirlyEnergyThing strange glow]] from the squid is never given a colour, perhaps to support the assertion that it isn't electromagnetic in nature (light and colour are part of the electromagnetic spectrum).

to:

* FeaturelessPlaneOfDisembodiedDialogue: HumanoidAliens from the same planet are given consistent descriptors and aliens from different planets can almost be told apart without their names, but buildings and rooms get less than minimal description. Notably, the [[SwirlyEnergyThing [[SwirlyEnergyThingy strange glow]] from the squid is never given a colour, perhaps to support the assertion that it isn't electromagnetic in nature (light and colour are part of the electromagnetic spectrum).

With the problem solved, Porus goes home to his wife. In his absence, a pair of underlings, Lor Haridin and Eblo Ranin, attempt a mercury-vaporlamp stimulus involving the unusual squid, to see what a predicted reaction which includes an imaginary quantity looks like. Dealing with the imaginary numbers, however, was unwise, because the squid reacts by dying, and creating a SwirlyEnegyThing that kills everything it comes into contact with it.

to:

With the problem solved, Porus goes home to his wife. In his absence, a pair of underlings, Lor Haridin and Eblo Ranin, attempt a mercury-vaporlamp stimulus involving the unusual squid, to see what a predicted reaction which includes an imaginary quantity looks like. Dealing with the imaginary numbers, however, was unwise, because the squid reacts by dying, and creating a SwirlyEnegyThing SwirlyEnergyThing that kills everything it comes into contact with it.

* BrownNote: A [[GreenRocks new stimulus]] is tested on the Beta Draconis IV squid, creating a SwirlyEnegyThing of exotic radiation which kills all organic life.
* CasualInterstellarTravel: In the time it takes the university to send for Tan Porus, and for him to return, the [[SwirlyEnegyThing glowing field of death]] has [[TravelingAtTheSpeedOfPlot only grown]] to one thousand square miles.

to:

* BrownNote: A [[GreenRocks new stimulus]] is tested on the Beta Draconis IV squid, creating a SwirlyEnegyThing SwirlyEnergyThing of exotic radiation which kills all organic life.
* CasualInterstellarTravel: In the time it takes the university to send for Tan Porus, and for him to return, the [[SwirlyEnegyThing [[SwirlyEnergyThing glowing field of death]] has [[TravelingAtTheSpeedOfPlot only grown]] to one thousand square miles.

* FeaturelessPlaneOfDisembodiedDialogue: HumanoidAliens from the same planet are given consistent descriptors and aliens from different planets can almost be told apart without their names, but buildings and rooms get less than minimal description. Notably, the [[SwirlyEnegyThing strange glow]] from the squid is never given a colour, perhaps to support the assertion that it isn't electromagnetic in nature (light and colour are part of the electromagnetic spectrum).

to:

* FeaturelessPlaneOfDisembodiedDialogue: HumanoidAliens from the same planet are given consistent descriptors and aliens from different planets can almost be told apart without their names, but buildings and rooms get less than minimal description. Notably, the [[SwirlyEnegyThing [[SwirlyEnergyThing strange glow]] from the squid is never given a colour, perhaps to support the assertion that it isn't electromagnetic in nature (light and colour are part of the electromagnetic spectrum).

First published in ''Magazine/SuperScienceStories'' (November 1942 issue), by Creator/IsaacAsimov, it was also published in the Canadian April 1943 issue of the same magazine. This sequel to "Literature/HomoSol", took so long to find a publishing editor willing to take this story that the next sequel, "Literature/TheHazing", was published a month ahead of it!

Tan Porus, from "Literature/HomoSol", has finally figured out the mathematics behind the [[BizarreAlienBiology bizarre squid]] from Beta Draconius IV's reaction to the [[BrownNote lights and sounds]]. The [[FictionalFieldOfScience mathematical psychology]] of the creature uses [[TheNamesake imaginary numbers]] to solve the problem.

With the problem solved, Porus goes home to his wife. In his absence, a pair of underlings, Lor Haridin and Eblo Ranin, attempt a mercury-vaporlamp stimulus involving the unusual squid, to see what a predicted reaction which includes an imaginary quantity looks like. Dealing with the imaginary numbers, however, was unwise, because the squid reacts by dying, and creating a SwirlyEnegyThing that kills everything it comes into contact with it.

Tan Porus is summoned, and leaves for Eron with his wife immediately. It doesn't take long before Porus is able to create a counter-stimulus that should end the deadly energy field, but applying it to the origin will be difficult.

"The Imaginary" has been reprinted five times; ''Literature/TheHumanZeroAndOtherScienceFictionMasterpieces'' (1967), ''Literature/DerRobotspion'' (1969), ''Literature/TheEarlyAsimov'' (1972), ''{{Magazine/Urania}}'' (issue #626, September 1973), and ''{{Magazine/Galassia}}'' (issue #196, April 1974).
----
!!"The Imaginary" provides examples of:
* BizarreAlienBiology: The squid from Beta Draconis IV, when exposed to the light-spectrum of mercury, emits [[GreenRocks a glowing field of death that could expand to interstellar distances]].
* BrownNote: A [[GreenRocks new stimulus]] is tested on the Beta Draconis IV squid, creating a SwirlyEnegyThing of exotic radiation which kills all organic life.
* CasualInterstellarTravel: In the time it takes the university to send for Tan Porus, and for him to return, the [[SwirlyEnegyThing glowing field of death]] has [[TravelingAtTheSpeedOfPlot only grown]] to one thousand square miles.
* ContinuityNod: Because this story was printed in a different magazine compared to "Literature/HomoSol", it was important to reference Tan Porus's work to convince the humans of Earth to join the [[GalacticSuperpower galactic council]].
* DeathGlare: Lor Haridin hates ''[[FictionalDocument Helo's Tables of Time Integrals]]'' so much that his friend Eblo Ranin expected it to be destroyed at a glance.
--> The look [Lor Haridin] gave the fat volume of Helo's Tables of Time Integrals did not sear the binding, to Ranin's great surprise.
* FamedInStory: Tan Porus has become famous for what he did with the humans from Earth, and his squid problem has become infamous in its own right.
--> Porus's squid was a by-word throughout the galaxy. For two years now, he had been fussing over an obscure Draconian animal that persisted in going to sleep when it wasn't supposed to. He had set up equations and torn them down with a regularity that had become a standing joke with every psychologist in the Federation - and none had explained the unusual reaction.
* FeaturelessPlaneOfDisembodiedDialogue: HumanoidAliens from the same planet are given consistent descriptors and aliens from different planets can almost be told apart without their names, but buildings and rooms get less than minimal description. Notably, the [[SwirlyEnegyThing strange glow]] from the squid is never given a colour, perhaps to support the assertion that it isn't electromagnetic in nature (light and colour are part of the electromagnetic spectrum).
* FictionalDocument: ''Helo's Tables of Time Integrals'' is a mathematics book similar to the real life ''CRC Standard Mathematical Tables and Formulae'' or ''Standard Four-Figure Mathematical Tables'', which Lor Haridin uses to look up complicated mathematics answers.
--> "You look 'em up in a table, taking half an hour to find the proper entry, and they give you seventeen possible answers. You have to pick the one that makes sense, and - Arcturus help me! - either they all do, or none do! Run up against eight of them, as we do in this problem, and we've got enough permutations to last us the rest of our life." -- Lor Haridin
* FictionalFieldOfScience: This story adds more details to the alien psychology, which combines elements of neurology and physiology. The story mentions new mathematical notations and rules, such as Demane's Integral, Wilbon's Theorem, and ''[[FictionalDocument Helo's Tables of Time Integrals]]''.
* GreenRocks: After being exposed to the mercury vapourlamp, the strange squid starts to glow. The ferns sharing the aquarium are [[BrownNote first to die]], and the field grows at an accelerating rate, making it potentially able to reach interstellar distances.
* HoldYourHippogriffs: The aliens use stellar terms for their cursing, saying "Great stars and little meteors" or "To space with him!"
* MostWritersAreWriters: Dr Asimov uses a futuristic equivalent to a newspaper reporter to shift the story's setting from Tan Porus's work to his home.
* TheNamesake: The title refers to imaginary numbers in the mathematical notations for [[FictionalFieldOfScience the alien's use of psychology]].
* NoFocusOnHumans: This story inverts AbsentAliens, as humans from Earth are completely missing from the tale. Instead, the story continues from Tan Porus's experiments with the Beta Draconis IV squids.
* SwirlyEnergyThingy: After being exposed to light from a [[GreenRocks mercury vapourlamp]], the squid was supposed to demonstrate an imaginary number reaction. This reaction consisted of a spherical glow that [[BrownNote killed anything it came into contact with]].
* TravelingAtTheSpeedOfPlot: It's implied that it took Tan Porus several days to go from the Arcturus system to the Rigel system, but during the emergency on Eron of Arcturus, he makes the trip back in what seems to be a few hours.
* VideoPhone: The telecasters on the desks of the HumanoidAliens allow for planetary communication at least.
* XenoFiction: This story inverts AbsentAliens, as humans from Earth are regulated to [[ContinuityNod a passing mention that establishes this story as a sequel]] to "Literature/HomoSol". Instead, the story continues from Tan Porus's experiments with the Beta Draconis IV squids.
----

Showing 4 edit(s) of 4

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/