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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

by Harris Tobias
The Greer Agency

by Harris Tobias
Assisted

by Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

by Harris Tobias
Alien Fruit

by Harris Tobias
Peaceful Intent--Stories of human/Alien Interaction

by Harris Tobias
CHRONON--Time Travel

by Harris Tobias
The Stang

by Harris Tobias


Infinity Mirror

by Harris Tobias


The Infinity Mirror


Archie Barnes checked out his reflection for the thousandth time. He looked perfect as always. Not a hair out of place. To say he was a vain man was an understatement. Archie never passed a mirror without  looking at himself. On this particular evening, however, Professor Archibald Barnes had good reason to be concerned about his appearance, he was about to accept the prestigious Balfour Prize in Experimental Physics. He would soon be called up to the stage to accept the honor and asked to give a short speech describing his work. The room was filled with physicists most of whom had ridiculed his work in the past and  considered his “Many Worlds Theory” either pure bunk or, if they were being charitable, useless speculation.


The “Many Worlds Theory states that there are an infinite number of parallel universes wherein everything that can possibly happen has happened and the universe that we inhabit is only one of countless universes that exist. These parallel universes can in no way communicate with each other and, so far at least, there is no way to prove or disprove their existence. Archie Barnes was determined to prove the theory accurate and, much to the amusement of his peers, spent his entire career trying. In the last few years, he actually made some progress in proving the theory, and gained some grudging recognition from his fellow scientists, hence the Balfour prize and this awards ceremony.


At the moment, however, his accomplishments were the least of his concern. What he cared about just then was his appearance, looking the part of the handsome scientist. A final glance in the mirror reassured him that it was so. He looked like the silver haired scholar that he was and, he assumed, all of the countless other Professor Barne’s that existed in all those many worlds looked as good. It gave him pleasure to think they all did.

Since the problem of proving the Many Worlds Theory was one of communication, Barnes reasoned, that the problem could be solved by communicating with one of his infinite selves who had solved the problem. If all possible worlds existed simultaneously, then surely there was at least one world in which the theory had been proven valid. What he needed was a way of attracting those universe hopping versions of himself and let them explain exactly how it was done.


Archie was snapped out of his revelry by the sound of applause. The moderator was saying, “...Professor Barne’s distinguished career. On behalf of the physics community I would like to present the Balfour Prize. Professor.” Barnes strode out on the stage with confidence. He took the small but tasteful statuette from the moderator and turned to address the audience.

 “Ladies and gentlemen it is with great humility and pride that I accept this award. As many of you know, I have devoted many years, some would say too many years, to finding proof for what is considered a frivolous theory. Are there other universes? If there are, does it matter? Can we ever reach them and why even try?

“Tonight my friends I can say with great confidence that the Many Worlds Theory is correct and, to help me convince you, I would like to introduce you to a man who can explain how it is possible to travel across the universal divide. Ladies and gentlemen allow me to present Professor Archibald Barnes.”

There was a smattering of bewildered applause as a second identical but slightly smaller Professor Barnes stepped onto the stage. This twin Barnes took the microphone from his taller double and turned to address the audience. The smaller Barnes proceeded to introduce a third still smaller replica who in turn introduced another. This continued on for some time. Each Barnes introducing a slightly smaller version of himself until the individual Barnes became almost too small to see. Lined up on the stage as they were, they resembled the diminishing images one sees in a pair of facing mirrors which in a sense they were.   

When the last and smallest version of Archibald Barnes was introduced the microphone was far too big for him to handle and had to be laid on its side on the stage floor. The tiny figure was barely audible even though he shouted into the device at the top of his lungs. But it didn’t matter what the tiny person was trying to say, the audience had had enough. The normally polite and reserved audience was in chaos. Pandemonium reigned and shouts of “fraud”, “nonsense” and “scoundrel” could be heard. Dinner rolls and pieces of fruit were tossed at the stage. The moderator hurried out from behind the curtain, picked the microphone, and did his best to restore order.

For his part, Professor barnes and his many versions remained silent. As one they bowed to the audience and one by one popped out of existence like so many soap bubbles. No version of Archie Barnes was ever seen again in this universe.

Scientists studying the film record of the evening were perplexed. They could find no evidence of fraud and yet what they saw was clearly impossible. The illusion, if indeed it was an illusion, was perfect and could not be explained. To some it was living proof of the Many Worlds Theory. To others it was all an elaborate hoax. To those few closest to the professor It was generally hoped that Professor Barnes had joined his dopplegangers in a tour of those worlds where his work was appreciated. It was assumed that in the company of so many perfect reproductions he was a happy man.
      


 




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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

by Harris Tobias
The Greer Agency

by Harris Tobias
Assisted

by Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

by Harris Tobias
Alien Fruit

by Harris Tobias
Peaceful Intent--Stories of human/Alien Interaction

by Harris Tobias
CHRONON--Time Travel

by Harris Tobias
The Stang

by Harris Tobias


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