Monday, July 25, 2011

Harry Bates' "A Matter of Size" (novella, adventure): Splitting a man into multiple himselves & reassembling him back!

This appears to be from the time before the discovery of DNA. A device that can take a man of 60kg, & split him up into 10 smaller "same" men each of 6 kg! Say one of these 10 now dies; you can still reassemble the remaining 9 into the "original" man, though only of 54 kg; he'll need to gain weight via normal eating.

What happens to the individual experiences of the 9 tiny men at the time of reassembly? We aren't told about it; though we're told selective experiences, including those of the man-that-was before splitting, can be wiped out.

I don't know if this is the original, but it probably would be among the early stories, where someone is reduced to tiny size & has to undergo adventures in a world that to him would be a giants' world.

Story summary.

Dr Arthur Allison, an "ethnologist", gets a visit & an offer by an alien: for 4 months, be alien's guest without being told why; or be forced to do it anyway! He "volunteers".

This is a crazy adventure on alien's world, his escape back to earth in a stolen spacecraft, chase after arriving & eventually getting caught - & being enlightened.

Collected in.

  1. Raymond J Healy & J Francis McComas (Eds)' "Adventures in Time & Space".

Fact sheet.

First published: Astounding, April 1934.
Rating: B.
Related: Works of Harry Bates.