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The Nine Billion Names of God

(1953)
Author: Arthur C. Clarke
Publisher: Arhur C. Clarke
Pages: 0
Personal Rating: 0/10
Amazon: 4/5
Goodreads: 3.5/5
Bindings:Compilation
Found in:Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century [2001]
Classifications:SciFi
Synopsis:
This short story tells of a Tibetan lamasery whose monks seek to list all of the names of God, since they believe the Universe was created for this purpose, and that once this naming is completed, God will bring the Universe to an end. Three centuries ago, the monks created an alphabet in which they calculated they could encode all the possible names of God, numbering about 9,000,000,000 ("nine billion") and each having no more than nine characters. Writing the names out by hand, as they had been doing, even after eliminating various nonsense combinations, would take another 15,000 years; the monks wish to use modern technology to finish this task more quickly.