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Schrödinger's_Kitten

Schrödinger's Kitten

"Schrödinger's Kitten" is a 1988 novelette by George Alec Effinger, which won both a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award, as well as the Japanese Seiun Award. It was later expanded into a novel, published in 1992 under the same name.

The story utilizes a form of the many worlds hypothesis, and is named after the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment. It first appeared in Omni, and its original novelette form was also featured in the third volume of The New Hugo Winners in 1994.

Plot summary

The story follows a middle eastern woman, Jehan Fatima Ashûfi, through various realities ranging from one in which she is raped when still a girl, subsequently abandoned by her family and dies alone, to one in which she is saved from execution (which in some realities, she is sentenced to for killing her would-be rapist and being unable to pay the "blood price" to his family) by a foreign tourist, and becomes a physicist and companion to well-known German scientists ranging from Heisenberg to Schrödinger, subsequently being able to prevent the Nazis from developing nuclear weapons during World War II by simply forwarding "unintelligible scientific papers" to key politicians looking into the issue.

She is, unusually, aware the existence of these realities, which she perceives as "visions" and assumes might come to her from Allah. Throughout different points in the story, the adult Jehan of some realities struggles to reconcile her religious upbringing and "visions" with her scientific profession; in the end, however, an aged Jehan finds satisfaction in the explanation of Hugh Everett's theory regarding the possibility of alternate realities, which fits with her personal experiences.

Awards and nominations

It won the Hugo Award for Best Novelette in 1989, as well as a Nebula Award and the Seiun Award.

See also

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