The Salmon of Doubt Experiment
Posted to %afda by pieceoftheuniverse on 17 November 2000
> Is Salmon of Doubt the next book in the HH series?
Salmon of Doubt (or SOD as we tend to call it, as it resembles a pile of dirt in its amount of potential (essentially, either nothing will come with it and it will eventually blow away or someone will bother to actually plant something and have a little fun, and before you know it you've got a petunia plant shaped like an aardvark)) is actually an ongoing experiment in quantum theory.
Douglas Adams is not only a very talented writer, but a scientific theoretician of some repute. You've already heard of the improbability drive, the Bistromath, transporter beams, and, of course, the electronic book (which he invented and patented by the way. Quick, go out and buy an e-book so the proceeds can go to DNA!); these were only small potatoes. Douglas Adams had heard of Schrodenger's Cat, and wanted a piece of the action.
So he cloned himself, and after educating himself in all the ways that he knew, he basically had an almost identical twin (except for age, of course). After giving the clone all five books in the Hitchhiker trilogy, the clone was locked in a box and left alone.
Once that happened, it was only natural that people would start to wonder what would happen to that clone...
You see, the problem of Schrodenger's Cat increases exponentially when it is upgraded to the problem of Adams' Clone, as there is now a sentient being with nothing in particular to do. So the quantum waveform becomes more complex: not only is there doubt as to whether or not the subject is alive, but what he could be doing in there in either state. Given a good amount of paper, it would be feasible if, when the box was opened, the fellow that would be blinking in the sudden light would have written a -sixth- book, or perhaps something all together different.
Naturally, there was a call amongst the Douglas Adams fans for an opening of the box, despite attempts of theoretical scientists to ensure the quantum waveform remained constant. Any collapse of that waveform, they insisted, could seriously damage the whole of space-time as we know it.
And so the box sits, safely within a secured (and of course undisclosed) location. That doesn't stop speculation, though...
...including some thoughts from none other than Douglas Adams himself as he began entertaining the idea of possibly continuing the saga. This only led to further leaps of logic that suggested that if one Adams could think of it, so could the other, especially since the other has all the time in the quantum wavefunction to do nothing -but- think, and thus such an occurrence could, therefore, have happened.
But no one wants to open the box.
There's a very good reason for this: much like the quantum state that the clone of Douglas Adams is not in, the hopes and dreams of the fans would collapse upon itself were the box to actually be unsealed. There is no way, especially after all the hype, pomp, and circumstance, that any book (if one exists at all) could possibly live up to expectations. And, even more horrifyingly, if there was nothing in the box at all -- well, it's just too terrible to think about.
That said: yes, Salmon of Doubt is the sixth book in the Hitchhiker trilogy. But you're not going to find it on the shelves of any common bookstore...
pieceoftheuniverse - meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out how to travel at right angles to reality so I can get a peek at the first page.