Monday, October 31, 2016

"Is It Conceivable That at One Crucial Moment, He Managed to Think Quickly and Act at Once?"

"The Billiard Ball."
By Isaac Asimov (1920-92).
First appearance: Worlds of IF, March 1967.
Reprinted many times (HERE), including Asimov's Mysteries (1968).
Novelette (18 pages).
Online (HERE) and at The Luminist Archives (HERE; go to text page 6).
"What's more, both played for blood, and there was no friendship in the game that I could see."
Possibly—and we emphasize that word—the most sophisticated murder . . . ever.

Main characters:
~ Professor James Priss, theoretician:
   "Of course, Ed Bloom is not really a scientist, and he must have his day in the sun."
~ Edward Bloom, inventor:
   "Listen, I'll tell you what gripes him. Plain old-fashioned jealousy. It kills him that I get what I get for doing. He wants it for thinking."
~ The Tele-News Press reporter:
   ". . . if any reporter then on the scene ever tried to say he remained a cool observer of that scene, then he's a cool liar."
- Wikipedia has a short article about anti-gravity (HERE), and one about our story (HEREWARNING: SPOILERS); Atomic Rockets has a very large page devoted to anti-gravity (HERE).
- We've already spent some time with Isaac Asimov (HERE) and (HERE).

The bottom line: "Gravity is a contributing factor in nearly 73 percent of all accidents involving falling objects."
   — Dave Barry

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