Date: Feb 25, 2013 10:05 PM
Author: P. Taine
Subject: Re: Problems with Infinity?

On Sun, 24 Feb 2013 18:48:48 +0000 (UTC), wrote:

>In rec.arts.sf.written William Elliot <> wrote:
>> Cantor did not deal with geometric infinity.
>> His infinities are the cardinalities of sets.

>Or with infinite ordinals, which is not quite the same sort of infinity.
>Are there any (good) SFnal stories concerning cardinal(ities),
>transfinite induction, supertasks, actual infinities and other esoteric
>I am aware of White Light by Rudy Rucker, The Infinite Assassin by Greg
>Egan and Luminous by the same author. However, they barely touch the
>cardinality of c.
>As Kronecker put it, "God made natural numbers; all else is the work of
>man", therefore denying the existence of higher cardinals (or even
>finitism) is a valid philosophical approach - after all, you can get
>many interesting results by negating the axiom of infinity...

This is going to be awfully vague.

When I was in high school, which would be 1947-1952, I read a story, probably in
Startling Stories, which used transfinite numbers for something or other -- I
think moving though a multi-verse (though that term hadn't been invented yet).

It did contain a lump of exposition that sent me off searching for Cantor's
work. I don't know where I found that, although we had a very good mathematics
teacher who may have loaned me something or other. (Note, my class was 23
pupils at graduation, so he was also the ONLY mathematics teacher!)

Not much to go on for a YASID, but it is the earliest that I can remember
reading about transfinites, and in a SF magazine at that.

AWG -- I wonder if that was the story with the transporter that looked like a
hoop on a base, that one stepped through and came out someplace else? Same time
period, and I think also Startling Stories. (I liked that magazine, along with
Planet Stories, when I was a teenager!)

P. Taine