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19 November 2007 

from a story written by a friend of a friend:

"...The latest pages were harder to translate than the first batch. Gadbois’s notes and explanations concerning gravity were mostly incomprehensible to my profane mind. Though I did not especially like the sound of my own voice, I read passages aloud. I recited, as dispassionately as I could, “Let x be the path in space-time between q and t, q incarnating the three coördinates in space and t incarnating time.” One by one, I pummelled through paragraphs on tachyons and neutrinos. I looked up “gravitation,” in a moment of boredom, and found:

The phenomenon of attraction between two bodies, proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

In the same entry was a well-known quotation by Einstein: “Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.” I threw my head back and laughed, and my gaze fell on a series of still-lifes pinned to the wall which Fumiko had done a few months ago, for one of her ungraded assignments at the École des Beaux-Arts—studies of spider and beetle carcasses, long dead and dusty, dried-out husks found on windowsills, inside fluorescent-light fixtures, and in hard-to-reach corners. The deceased insects, according to Fumiko, had been forgotten by the rest of the universe. Slamming the dictionary shut, I went back to work..."


"...Something about what Gadbois had said tugged at me. “S.R. doesn’t take into account the effects of gravitation.” Getting up, I turned the lights back on and skimmed the pages I had already translated. On a whim, I took down from the bookshelf my abridged edition of Frazer’s “Golden Bough,” flipping through the chapters until I found a passage that I had read long ago. It said that magic, in its most primordial form, might be defined as the effect of two independent objects acting upon one another over a distance, such as voodoo, psychokinesis, or telepathy. It was a coincidence, a fortuitous convergence of notions, but as I compared Frazer’s definition of magic with the dictionary’s definition of gravity, I felt I had discovered Gadbois’s secret. In refuting Einstein’s theory of special relativity, Raoul de Gadbois wanted to prove the existence of magic..."