Thursday, 20 January 2011

Sizing up dimensions

Short post, big subject.

First of all, thanks to everyone who's contributed so far to yesterday's list of portals. It's an ongoing project so keep those suggestions coming. That list is the spark for this.

And here it is then, that big subject. What exactly is a dimension?

In the fictional sense I mean. I used the term in the introduction to the list and a reply to Jebediah, but I gave no serious thought to what I meant. We know what a dimension is in the everyday sense, and by extension in physics, but that's not really what we mean when it comes to cinema, comics, literature and gaming. It's the tip of the iceberg.

How do we fit in astral planes, 'other worlds', the spirit world, dream worlds, fantasy worlds, simulations, alternate or parallel universes, the multiverse or polycosmos, cosmologies, time streams, even such seemingly prosaic ideas as ESP, telepathy, telekinesis and magical realism? What about the rest of the bizarre concepts out there, even the relatively few covered yesterday? What about all of that pseudoscience, semi-pseudoscience and all the theories on the backburner or fallen by the wayside?

How does information come into it? If that seems a silly question, read this recent post on the subject. Read a post at Riskail for that matter, maybe this first. Or check out Zelchis, starting with this post. And try Orion's Arm, especially this concept. Especially that concept. What are the limits of that small circle of candlelight we call science and even human perception and consciousness? What when we reach the edge of information? Is there a termination shock, an infosheath, an infopause and a bow shock?

After looking at yesterday's list and all the outlandish and otherwordly concepts covered, I think it's time a cartographer attempted to sketch out the boundaries. Because they're there. Possibly. Does anyone out there work with hyperdimensional manifolds?

So that starting point again: what exactly is a dimension?


netherwerks said...

Wow--interesting post Porky!
Thanks for all the kind words!
We appreciate the support.

In respect to the question as to what is a dimension, you might be interested in the Synthecosm post we did a while back. The notion of dimensions and planes of existence, etc. are very bound-up with the Riskail stuff, which we'll be comin gback around to after the current stack of stuff in the queu.

You're doing great stuff here and we'll be back with a few good gate references for the other post once we get some more time...

C'nor (Outermost_Toe) said...

Good question. Anyway, I've added a suggestion to the List of Portals.

Desert Scribe said...

Orion's Arm ... wow.

Thanks for that link, Porky. It's like Stross and Vinge co-wrote a book after a weekend binge of uppers and Culture novels.

Porky said...

@ NetherWerks - That's another example of what makes Riskail so good. I hadn't read it, but I'm glad I did. The ideas are mind-stretching. I'll be very happy to see more on dimensions whenever it comes. I'm thinking of putting up a rough map in the meantime, a first sketch as a jumping off point for discussion.

@ C'nor (Outermost_Toe) - Thanks; I'll be there right after this.

@ Desert Scribe - It's stimulating stuff, that's for sure. Your description might just be definitive!

netherwerks said...

Porky--thank you for posting the link to Orion's Arm--that site is incredible! They're off on a very different tangent from us, which makes it all the cooler to have them around. We've been very focused on the nonfiction end of the nanotech/nanobiotech spectrum, and have neglected the fiction because we prefer to develop our own stuff and see where it leads. But this site looks like it could be fun to explore, and an definite inspiration to what Riskail might grow into with a little help from our friends. Thanks again for pointing out something very cool that we'd otherwise have probably overlooked.