If, somehow, you get trapped in a circular time system... how long is the circumference of an infinitely retraced circle?
before?" Without waiting for an answer, he continued, the coin clutched tightly in one hand. "I'm Charles J. Fisher, professor of Philosophy at Reiser College."
He looked at me quickly. "Or at least I was until recently." For a second his face was boyish. "Professor of Philosophy, that is."
I smiled and found that I was staring at the coin in his hand. He gave it to me. On one side I read the words: THE STATEMENT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS COIN IS FALSE. The patient watched me with an expressionless face; I turned over the coin. It was engraved with the words: THE STATEMENT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS COIN IS FALSE.
"That's not the problem," he said, "not my problem. I had the coin made when I was an undergraduate. I enjoyed reading one side, turning it over, reading the other side, and so on. A fiendish enjoyment like boys planning where to put the tipped-over outhouse."
I looked at the patient. He was thirty-eight, single, medium build, had an M.A. and Ph.D. from an eastern university. I knew this and more from the folder on my desk.
The sphere with the hidden alien writing had me interested, then the story evaporated. Was it because of the writing? Can't tell, and there's not enough in the story to let me know.
When the fuse burns down, you expect something from a firecracker. Or a story. pffffftht!
Somewhat tedious, full of drama, signifying little.
Interesting premise about attempting to translate the characters found on a non-terrestrial sphere.
But it seems completely unrelated to a circular time system, as mentioned in the description (above).
Doesn't take too long to read, but entirely unfruitful, IMHO.
A very good little story with a twist ending.