I am looking for a short story whose main character was loosely based on Alan Turing. In the story he was looking for a way to visualize multi-dimensions and casually meets his neighbor, a young Asian boy who is a musician who says he can "see" other dimensional objects and describes directions using words like "reft" and "dup". Eventually, they have an encounter with multi-dimensional beings which are attracted to the boy's music and he is abducted. I believe it was published in a magazine but I think I read it in "Year's Best SciFi" in the eighties or nineties. Who was the author and what was the name of the story? Thank you.

1 Answer 1


This is probably "Tangents" by Greg Bear:

This story was written by Greg Bear, and was first published in Omni in January 1986. Pal Tremont, a Korean boy who likes classical music, is adopted by an American family and comes into the life of Peter Tuthy and writer Lauren Davies. Peter is a mathematician and computer hacker (seemingly based in part on Alan Turing) who is very interested in 4-dimensional space (4-D). Lauren wants Pal to help her with her writings, but Pal is more useful to Peter as he can easily visualize 4-D space. Pal is able to see a whole new world, inhabited by 4-D beings and is even able to play 4-D music for them. The beings eventually make contact and take Pal and Peter into their own world.

According to ISFDB, it won a few "best" awards, including a 1987 Hugo, a 1987 Nebula, and a 1994 Seiun and was included in a few "Best of" collections including Nebula Awards 22: SFWA's Choices for the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 1986.

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    Thanks. I remember that the author paid tribute to Turing in the intro. It was in the Nebula Awards 22 anthology that I saw it. I'll have to get that Hackers anthology in the link. Got a lot of my favorite authors. Commented May 27, 2016 at 19:30
  • @Gandalf: FWIW, Baen has it as a DRM-free eBook, baen.com/hackers.html
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 19:49

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