Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In Numbers - Greg Egan

Short Story

Number of words : 6900
Percent of complex words : 11.9
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 15.2


Fog : 10.8
Flesch : 60.9
Flesch-Kincaid : 8.5


Doctor Dreyfus

The medico on the Cyclops.

Andrew Callaghan

An engineer that has gone crazy due to the condition.


Another crew member and cyberneticist.

Captain Salih al-Qasbi

Ship's leader.

Thomas Bwalya

Life-support engineer.

Greta Nordstrom

Communications engineer.

Kayathiri Sangaralingam

Drive specialist.



A spaceship attempting to travel a record distance.



A mixture of anti-viral agents.


Legionnella Six

A disease.

Cyclops Syndrome

Condition affecting Andrew Callaghan and the crew.

Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen experiment

Famous quantum mechanics work.


NMR spectra

Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy - a technique that exploits the magnetic properties of certain nuclei.

PET scans

Position emission tomography. A technique which produces a three-dimensional image or picture of functional processes in the body.


Tiny robots that can be weapons or medical repair devices.



A spaceflight centre.


The Plague

Work by Camus that inspired David to become a doctor.


Dreyfus in the doctor on a ship that is attemping a voyage further out than anyone has gone before. The crew are beginning to come down with what seems like a disease that makes them crazy and dangerous, and in need of restraint.

It looks like it will affect all of them, so he has to make provision for everyone to be safe and to be fed by robot until they return.

However the condition seems to dissipate. He theorises that it may be because they have gone too far away from the rest of humanity, that there is some sort of quantum effect of life. If you go too far from Earth, your body will not be able to take it.

4 out of 5

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