Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Isaac Asimov's "thiotimoline" vs Ted Chiang's "What's Expected on Us"

In his reminiscences about Asimov, Frederik Pohl tells us of an imaginary substance called "thiotimoline" invented by Asimov for "a non-fact article" in Astounding: it "had the curious property of beginning to dissolve before it was added to a solvent."

Makes me wonder if the central idea of Ted Chiang's philosophical story "What's Expected of Us" (download) came from here. This story features a gadget with a button & a light. Light lights up a set time before the button is pressed!