Lightman, Alan: Einstein’s Dreams

After going to the Einstein exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History, I picked up Einstein’s Dreams, by Alan Lightman, for a re-read. This is a series of fictional vignettes about Einstein’s dreams about different kinds of time, which was moderately well-known when it was published. The last time I’d read it, I was confused about which of the vignettes was our reality; I thought there were two possibilities. This time I spotted the right one immediately; turns out that the other one I was thinking of had the right general idea, but on a wildly incorrect scale.

This is a very short book, with prose that approaches poetry at points. I enjoy it for its unusual extrapolations of the social effects of different forms of time; many of them are improbable (like ours), but they do display imagination, and there’s some nice images. Harmless way to pass half an hour.

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