Skiophanes’ Proof
Why write this?
Once upon a time I was interested in chance, in probability and in the conflict between determinism and free will. If we are able to accurately predict the future, if we can determine precisely what will happen, how might this affect the way we think? How can we blame anyone for anything or attribute responsibility if we know the full causality of any action and the inevitability of every outcome?
I wrote Skiophanes’ Proof in order to explore these questions. Then I decided to go to university. Exeter University in the UK has a wonderful philosophy department. What is more, it is close to fantastic countryside and only a short drive from the sea. There was however one significant problem: I had no worthwhile qualifications. I’d worked on a kibbutz, on building sites, as an extra in a film about Jesus, and taught English as a foreign language – but none of this was going to get me into such a prestigious university.
So I sent Skiophanes’ Proof to Professor Atkinson, the head, at that time, of Exeter’s Department of Philosophy.
The professor called me in for an interview… and at the end of our meeting offered me a place to study philosophy. It was one of the most thrilling interviews of my life.
A few years later I submitted the story to a Gollancz/Sunday Times short story competition and it was published in their winners’ anthology.
So, in answer to the question why write this – or any other – story, I will only say, ‘Because you never know how useful it might be!’


Skiophanes' Proof £0.60