A space-age plot, with Adam and Eve thrown into the mix
So scientists have managed to start up the mother of all atom smashers on the Swiss-French border this week, and thank God, we are still here! No black holes have appeared to suck in the entire world, as some people had warned. But wait a minute! We are not out of the woods. They only sent one beam on a trial run to warm up the US$8 billion underground Large Hadron Collider, so of course there was no particle collision and therefore no black holes.
'The full power of the LHC will be reached on October 26, not this week, as most newspapers claimed. It is still running at low speed now,' said long-time Hong Kong resident Angelo Paratico (right), who has spent the past few years researching the LHC, the background to his new sci-fi mystery novel, Black Hole, just published in Italy.
His second novel, written in Italian, is certainly timely. It's a bit like Stephen Hawking meets The Da Vinci Code and The Exorcist. The first edition has already sold out in Italy. No English yet, unfortunately, so many fans of Dan Brown, conspiracy theories and weird science may have to wait awhile.
The plot is extremely complicated so I'm sure I'm distorting it in the following. The hero, an Italian physics professor at the University of Hong Kong, first learns about the dangers of the LHC experiments from several scientists who met in Macau. Then one of his students disappears. LHC goes online and, yes, the end of mankind is at hand. There are reports of demonic possessions near the site of the collider. The prof is summoned to Rome because of his expertise in the mathematical theory of knots and extra-dimensions. A Nobel-prize physicist who warns our hero about LHC is murdered. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen in the middle of the night because the CIA has learned about the HKU prof. Yes, a black hole has appeared and is not contained.
Well, you get the drift. There is also Nostradamus and a devil named Raypoz, and time travel back to the beginning of mankind involving two characters named Adam and Eve.
'The publisher of my book sent the draft to a physics professor and without endorsing my catastrophic forecasts about the LHC, he okayed the technical details,' said Paratico, who is a textile businessman in Hong Kong and a columnist for an Italian national newspaper. 'I got this idea three years ago reading a book about 13 dimensions, branes, string theory and so on. The end of the book talked about the LHC and the concrete possibility that micro black holes could be created. Then I did further readings in the field.'
He is already working on a new novel about Jerome Cardano, a 16th-century mathematician, inventor and physician believed to have inspired the character of Prospero in Shakespeare's Tempest.