The Nothing Equation

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Author: Tom Godwin
Published: 1957
Language: English
Wordcount: 4,034 / 19 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 62
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 2,895
Added to site: 2008.05.28
mnybks.net#: 21033
Origin: gutenberg.org

The space ships were miracles of power and precision; the men who manned them, rich in endurance and courage. Every detail had been checked and double checked; every detail except--

Show Excerpt

The cruiser vanished back into hyperspace and he was alone in the observation bubble, ten thousand light-years beyond the galaxy's outermost sun. He looked out the windows at the gigantic sea of emptiness around him and wondered again what the danger had been that had so terrified the men before him.

Of one thing he was already certain; he would find that nothing was waiting outside the bubble to kill him. The first bubble attendant had committed suicide and the second was a mindless maniac on the Earthbound cruiser but it must have been something inside the bubble that had caused it. Or else they had imagined it all.

He went across the small room, his magnetized soles loud on the thin metal floor in the bubble's silence. He sat down in the single chair, his weight very slight in the feeble artificial gravity, and reviewed the known facts.

The bubble was a project of Earth's Galactic Observation Bureau, positioned

Reviews

Average Rating of 4.6 from 5 reviews: *****
2013.02.23
Sardo Weems
*****

A scientist is parked in an observation bubble beyond the last stars of the galaxy for six months. The two previous tenants of the bubble went insane.

A good portrait of a man losing his mind.

2011.07.19
normb
****.

Good short story about how when the vast inhospitable loneliness of the universe and our tenuous small (and somewhat arrogant) human intelligences meet, it's not a mystery who is dominated.

2009.01.22
Tanner
*****

this story's actual name is The Cold Equation and it is a wonderful Godwin story

2008.08.15
waynegoode
*****

An interesting short story that explores how working alone in space for extended periods can effect the mind. It is a mystery, not the who-dun-it type, but the what-caused-this-to-happen type.

2008.05.29
Cheryl
****.

Neat psychological SF short story.


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