Schild's Ladder is a science fiction novel by Australian science fiction writer Greg Egan . Written in 2001 . The novel's peculiarity is credibility from the point of view of theoretical physics and non-trivial mathematics , which allows us to attribute it to the so-called “hard” science fiction .
In the distant future, twenty thousand years later, a physicist from Earth Cass sent to an orbital station in the Mimosa system to put a series of experiments to establish the limit of applicability of the laws of Sarumpet . This is a system of fundamental equations from the Theory of Quantum Graphs , which allows us to represent physical reality in the form of a complete group of multi-part graphs . As a result of the experiments, a green cloud of fog suddenly appeared more stable than ordinary vacuum . The self - imposed new vacuum began to expand at half-light speed , and the ordinary vacuum began to collapse at the cloud boundary, clearly indicating the possibility of generalizing Sarumpet's laws. The local population is forced to look for a more distant star system in order to avoid a monotonously approaching border, but its movement never slows down, and only a matter of time, when a new vacuum encompasses any conceivable predetermined object.
As fog swallows star after star, two camps arise: Defenders who want to stop the fog and preserve the Milky Way at all costs, and Prospectors, who believe that the new vacuum is a very important discovery, and therefore it needs to be studied, and do not destroy.
600 years after the start of the experiment aboard the star cruiser Rindler , which moves at the speed of the border, refugees are trying to find possible approaches to the physics of new vacuum . The fog turns out to be a more complex structure than one can imagine, Egan uses two terms - Simulator and Quantum description ( English Quantum ontology ) - to describe the limit in our understanding of an ordered universe with zones of complete chaos , which is represented as a directed development of a quantum graph lattice structure, in in which elementary particles , fundamental interactions, and space-time themselves are only special cases of this structure.
The name of the novel is taken from a mathematical construction known as the 'Schild's ladder', which was invented by the mathematician and physicist Alfred Schild .