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The Dimension of Chance

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Book Details

Title:The Dimension of Chance
Smith, Clark Ashton   
(3 of 21 for author by title)
The Disinterment of Venus
The Demon of the Flower
Paul, Frank Rudolph   
(3 of 14 for author by title)
Frigid Moon
Children of the Golden Amazon
Published:   1932
Publisher:Wonder Stories
Tags:fiction, science fiction, short story

We hardly ever stop to think that our whole mode of life, life itself, in fact, is possible only because we live in a world of natural, unchangeable laws. Barring accidents, we know that the sun will rise in the east, that gravitation will act, that friction will make structures possible, that rain will fall and crops will grow.

But of late a note of uncertainty has come into our calm acceptance of nature’s invariability. The “Uncertainty Principle of Heisenberg” shows that the behavior of electrons cannot be predetermined. They do not move according to known cause or effect but by chance; and it is only when we are considering a great number of them that we can find any rational pattern in their behavior.

Suppose there were a world in which natural laws did not work with invariability; what sort of place would it be? Would it be habitable? Could intelligent life exist in a world in which, literally, “anything could happen next”? [Suggest a different description.]

Pages:22 Info

Author Bio for Smith, Clark Ashton

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Clark Ashton Smith (January 13, 1893 – August 14, 1961) was a self-educated American poet, sculptor, painter and author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. He achieved early local recognition, largely through the enthusiasm of George Sterling, for traditional verse in the vein of Swinburne. As a poet, Smith is grouped with the West Coast Romantics alongside Ambrose Bierce, Joaquin Miller, Sterling, Nora May French, and remembered as "The Last of the Great Romantics" and "The Bard of Auburn".

Smith was one of "the big three of Weird Tales, along with Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft", where some readers objected to his morbidness and violation of pulp traditions. It has been said of him that "nobody since Poe has so loved a well-rotted corpse." He was a member of the Lovecraft circle, and Smith's literary friendship with Lovecraft lasted from 1922 until Lovecraft's death in 1937. His work is marked chiefly by an extraordinarily wide and ornate vocabulary, a cosmic perspective and a vein of sardonic and sometimes ribald humor.

Of his writing style, Smith stated that: "My own conscious ideal has been to delude the reader into accepting an impossibility, or series of impossibilities, by means of a sort of verbal black magic, in the achievement of which I make use of prose-rhythm, metaphor, simile, tone-color, counter-point, and other stylistic resources, like a sort of incantation."--Wikipedia.

Author Bio for Paul, Frank Rudolph

Frank R. Paul (1884-1963) was an American artist and illustrator. He studied art and architecture in Europe before emigrating to New York in 1906. He designed several buildings there and also earned a living drawing political cartoons for newspapers and illustrating textbooks. In 1926 he devoted his work full time to illustrations, becoming one of the first professional artists who worked in the science fiction genre. He created cover illustrations for Amazing Stories for three years between 1926 to 1929. He drew for many other pulp magazines of the time continuing his work well into the 1950s. (Encyclopedia of Science Fiction)

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