Page:Avon Fantasy Reader 10.djvu/97

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

is a difficult one for biological structures that depend on irreversible chemical reactions for their existence. But, biochemical reactions can take place along any one of the other dimensions as well as along t.

"Therefore, let us transform coordinates. Rotate the property of chemical irreversibility from t to z. Since we are organically able to exist (or at least to perceive) in only three dimensions at once, our new time dimension will be z. We shall be unconscious of z and cannot travel in it. Our activities and consciousness will take place along x, y, and t.

"According to fiction writers, to switch into the t dimension, some sort of an apparatus with an electrical field ought to be necessary. It is not. You need nothing more to rotate into the t dimension than you do to stop the moon and make the trees move as you ride down the road; or than you do to turn the cubes upside down. It is a matter of relativity."

I had ceased trying to wonder or to understand.

"Show me!" was all I could gasp.

"The success of this experiment in changing from the z to the t coordinate has depended largely upon my lucky discovery of a favorable location. It is just as, when you want the moon to ride the tree tops successfully, there have to be favorable features in the topography or it won't work. The edge of this building and that little walk between the two rows of Norway poplars seems to be an angle between planes in the z and t dimensions. It seems to slope downwards, does it not?—Now walk from here to the end and imagine yourself going upwards. That is all. Instead of feeling this building behind and above you, conceive it as behind and below. Just as on your ride by moonlight, you must tell yourself that the moon is not moving while the trees ride by—Can you do that? Go ahead then." He spoke in a confident tone, as though he knew exactly what would happen.

Half credulous, half wondering. I walked slowly out of the door; I noticed that Woleshensky settled himself down to the table with a pad and a pencil to some kind of study, and forgot me before I had finished turning around. I looked curiously at the familiar wall of the building and the still more familiar poplar walk, expecting to see some strange scenery, some unknown view from another world. But there were the same old bricks and trees that I had known so long; though my disturbed and wondering frame of mind endowed them with a sudden strangeness and unwontedness. Things I had known for some years, they were, yet so powerfully had Woleshensky's arguments impressed me that I already fancied myself in a different universe. According to the conception of relativity, objects of the x, y, z universe ought to look different when viewed from the x, y, t universe.

Strange to say, I had no difficulty at all in imagining myself as going upwards on my stroll along the slope. I told myself that the building was behind and below me, and indeed it seemed real that it was that way. I walked some distance along the little avenue of poplars, which seemed familiar enough in all its details; though after a few minutes it struck me