Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

January 22nd, 2008:

Fuse Fuse Revolution

Yee-hah! The drugs are gone and I got my monsters back! Ok, last night's monster was nothing special, but at least I'm no longer dreaming of repairing Xerox machines for Hilary Clinton. And the monster is probably the least interesting aspect of last night's major dream.

But it was still a monster, and that counts for something. I dreamed that Carol and I were vacationing somewhere in England. In a small hillside village we were browsing in shops and in a sort of street market, and that's where we first saw the monster: It was a big, totally hairy 9-foot tall Sasquatch-ish thingie. It wasn't doing anything special; in fact, it was browsing the market stalls and stepping into shops just like we were. (In the morning it occurred to me that the poor thing was probably vacationing from western Oregon, where so many tinfoil-hat types are searching for it that it must lead a pretty stressful life.) We later saw it again while touring some old castle.

Now, I have a protocol for dealing with dream monsters that has worked well for me these past 55 years:

  • Don't get too close;
  • Don't make eye contact;
  • Don't engage them in conversation.

(I use this same protocol in the real world for beggars, religious fanatics, and women leaning against buildings.) Every time I saw the monster, I quietly started herding Carol in the opposite direction, and once again, it worked.

But toward the end of the dream, I saw something remarkable: A video game vaguely similar to Dance Dance Revolution. It consisted of a typical game console, plus a low square platform with nine cells that you step on. When the game begins, the platform lights up in dull red, and the nine cells display callouts for common nuclei. The object of the game is to put one foot on each of two nuclei that can fuse. For example, if one cell says 7Li and the another 1H (Physics types will know what I'm talking about) you step on both and the game console totes up the energy you've generated, with a display on the console in MeV. Each time you successfully fuse two nuclei, the pressure value goes up and the platform's backlight slides up the spectrum a little from red toward violet. As the pressure goes up, more exotic fusion reactions become possible, and if you know your nuclear physics you can rack up quite a score. The machine we saw was in a pub, and a young business-suited British gentleman was playing with a pint in his hand.

Damn, I remember thinking, he must know his carbon-nitrogen cycle cold.

Anyway, I have no idea whether this makes sense as a game, since I don't play games other than some Snood and an occasional round of Mah Jongg. But it was the coolest thing I've seen in a dream in quite some time, certainly since before I had my gums worked on a week ago Monday. Nor am I sure there are enough possible fusion reactions to make such a game interesting, though in the heart of a supernova (once you goose the platform into the purple zone) who knows what's possible and what isn't?

Some part of me is obviously ready to write some SF again. I gotta get busy.