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--a novel about the scientific and philosophical quest of
regeneration and memory

Paul Pietsch

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Fixed-point theorems are unlikely but seminal concepts of contemporary mathematics (proved in the 1920's by L. E. J. Brouwer and physically validated in our own times) that one day may open wholly new ways of thinking about life and mind and even reality at large. Fixed Point is also a pivotal theme in a story about Asa Zook, philosopher (inexorably), scientist (reluctantly), lover (eventually), nerd (unavoidably), who spends his often wretched, occasionally sweet, periodically thrilling but never idle existence in (as he sees it) the soul-redeeming pursuit of the most fundamental of fundamental mind- body principles, which he perceives in a logic memory shares with regeneration, and which, he eventually comes to believe, embodies the fixed point.

Structurally, Fixed Point is a conventional novel in that it has a beginning (Asa's tenderly nurtured yet soul-searingly tragic boyhood); middle (his maturation and the entrance of Joyce Page, without whom there is no Asa Zook); and end. Yet Fixed Point is unconventional in content: philosophy in the making; intellect in action within the chaotic subjective milieu where also abide the mercurial as well as the mundane moieties of the human mind; and science as fictionalized versions of some of this writer's own laboratory investigations. But while it teaches, Fixed Point is not a textbook. (There's no exam!)

The time is between the mid-thirties and mid-sixties, an era when the limits on scientific knowledge would have let only an Asa Zook think what he thought, see what he saw and do what he did (as only a Pasteur could have dealt with rabies before virology or an Einstein with relativity within the flatworld of common sense physics) . The story issues from the ontogeny of Asa's and Joyce's characters; from the dialectical merger -- the Hegelian synthesis -- of the two unlike beings. Asa brings the stuff to the story, but it is Joyce whose inimitable love lets the stuff take form and live.

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copyright 1996 by Paul Pietsch
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