Tag Archives: first contact

Ellis: Axiom’s End

I actively try to avoid “the buzz” — for most definitions of the word (“beer buzz” is a whole other thing than I’m talking about here). I mean the buzz of current memes and all the popular things I’m supposed to think, feel, and be. As I’ve said before, I’m deliberately allergic to trendy — I refuse to swim in the main stream.

That applies especially to the books, TV shows, or movies, that I’m supposed to see. I’m even more resistant to things I’m supposed to either hate or love. (I still have never seen ET — never will.) I generally don’t read or watch reviews until after I’ve read or watched what they review.

Which brings me to Axiom’s End (2020) a debut novel by Lindsay Ellis.

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Inevitable Math

Math!

Oh, no! Not math again!

Among those who try to imagine alien first contact, many believe that mathematics will be the basis of initial communication. This is based on the perceived universality and inevitability of mathematics. They see math as so fundamental any intelligence must not only discover it, but must discover the same things we’ve discovered.

There is even a belief that math is more real than the physical universe, that it may be the actual basis of reality. The other end of that spectrum is a belief that mathematics is an invented game of symbol manipulation with no deep meaning.

So today: the idea that math is universal and inevitable.

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I Want Alien Contact!

I want aliens to come to earth.

It’s going to be a very long time (if ever) that we go traipsing around the galaxy visiting others. If we do, of course we’ll be the aliens (which has made for some good SF stories and a recent cute film). Our tech is a long way from a galactic bus, so that’s one thing. Another thing is that we have no idea where to go. So far SETI hasn’t SEEN; for all we know we’re alone in the local universe.

You may have heard of the Drake Equation, which starts with the huge number of stars and calculates that even if a fraction of a fraction of a fraction (and so on, several times) of them have the conditions necessary, there are still many possible worlds with intelligent life.

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