Paper Doll Hyperplane
What is your story about?
Paper Doll Hyperplane is a story about mystical knowledge and whether it exists or is simply a reflection of our own internal needs and desires. Is there really lost knowledge about reality in classic art or were the artists pondering the age-old existential questions themselves?
Ultimately, this tale mucks about whether there's one or multiple realities. It's a mirror conundrum. When staring into a mirror, are there now two dimensions -- two versions of you -- two realities? What if the other could make a different decision than you?
If you add another mirror behind you, do you catch a glimpse of infinity in the reflection? Or is it just a nonsensical trick of the eye?
On the surface, however, this is a simple tale of a mathematician who thinks he has has discovered a unifying theory about reality and the steps he takes to prove his thesis. Unfortunately, it involves killing and with murder there are always complications.
In this case, mind-bending repercussions.
Where did you get the idea for your story?
Usually a title comes to me first and that stimulates a story. I liked the mathematic term 'hyperplane' and a string of cutout paper dolls seemed to represent the infinity question.
At exactly the same time it struck me that one of the quirkier mathematicians I was working with could just as easily been a serial killer. Seriously. When I asked him if that were possible, he thought about it, laughed, and said cryptically, "Maybe," like I was on to something.
Mathematician Serial Killer.
There's the core idea.
What's special about this story?
I wanted to explore an alternate storytelling mechanism with this tale. I was familiar with the 'diary' form of story and thought it was too predictable for what I wanted to do. So I imagined a folder of fragments. Even that, I felt was too ordinary, so I added a hidden annotator who functioned as a secondary voice -- an invisible hand that selected what we were seeing. Then I inserted myself as a sherpa to help shape the tale and put the onus on the reader to piece everything together.
Lastly, I grounded the story in science and mostly real math so that the fictional leap was plausible.
I think you'll like it and I hope it makes you look out the window and, for a moment, wonder if reality is really what you see.
Read the story, Paper Doll Hyperplane by R. B. Payne in the forthcoming, and highly anticipated, Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors anthology edited by Doug Murano and Michael Bailey.
Coming soon from Written Backwards Press.