The Einstein Intersection

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Delany, Samuel R. The Einstein Intersection (vt in English, 1986, A Fabulous, Formless Darkness). New York City: Ace, 1967. For reprints, translations, awards, and reviews, see Internet Speculative Fiction Database, as of October 2023, here.[1]


Discussed by Casey Fredericks in The Future of Eternity: Mythologies of Science Fiction and Fantasy, ch. 2, pp. 58-62, who notes that "the problem" handled by this text is "the relationship between being 'human' and the great myths of mankind" — a problem that "becomes only partially clear at the end of the novel" and is not resolved; the question is examined with the assumption that "the world described by Einstein's cosmology — a world of rational science [...] — has been superseded by an irrational and unpredictable world of unlimited possibility described by Gödel's theorem" (p. 59). An important moment in the quest of the Orpheus-figure hero is a (classic) descent into the underworld where he meets

a mutant, minotaurlike bull in the labyrinthine source-caves beneath the surface of the earth; at this point he receives further knowledge from a computer there called PHAEDRA — Psychic Harmony Entanglements and Deranged Response Associations — which once belonged to the old humanity. The confrontation in the caverns with a minotaur and the computer is also the hero's descent into the Underworld to experience old humanity's Collective Unconscious (another Jungian theme). (p. 60)

See for the motif of the descent to get knowledge (as with Odysseus[2] and Odin but encountering not the blind seer Teiresias or the world-tree Yggdrasil at the center of things, but a computer. (Underground computers listed on this wiki can be found here.[3])


RDE, finishing, 17Oct2023, 19Oct23