Hello, Earthlings! You’re watching Adam the Alien, and today I want to talk to you about one of my favorite books: Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman.
I first read this book back in fifth grade. It’s a really quick read. If you had a really long poop, you could probably just read it on the toilet.
This is absolutely one of my favorite books. In fact it’s probably one of my most re-read books.
The premise of the book is that these are the dreams Einstein had while coming up with the theory of relativity. Now, you shouldn’t expect a lot of historical accuracy, nor any addressing of whether or not his wife had more to do with that than he did, because that’s really just a way to structure the book. It doesn’t really impact the point of it.
Though Einstein appears in the prologue, the epilogue, and in brief interludes usually talking with a friend, the actual meat of the book are these self-contained chapters; each of which is a short story talking about a different way time could flow.
Now, back when I first read this as a kid, I was just fascinated with it because I was obsessed with Einstein, and I loved the whole idea of all these different ways time could move. I just thought it was cool. I was into parallel realities and all that.
The more I’ve read it as I’ve grown up, though, the more I’ve found something new out of it every time. And that is the best kind of book: when you can read it and get something new out of it every freakin’ time you do.
The thing about Einstein’s Dreams is: each of these chapters, they’re not just a potential idea of how time might run in another universe. Each one of them is commentary on our lives.
The book uses these ideas of time to delve into matters that are pretty universal to our world, the way it’s going, and the way in which we live.
And that’s what puts it, I think, among the best kind of sci-fi. Because sci-fi, at its heart, is commenting on the world we live in. And that’s exactly what Einstein’s Dreams does.
It’s also a remarkably poetic book. Like, it’s the kind of book you kind of want to sit and hear someone read to you. It’s the kind of book I enjoy sitting and reading to other people. You know, just these short, deep stories that sound so pretty and then leave you going, “…Huh.”
If I were to compare it to TV shows, it would be in the same vein as stuff like Black Mirror, The Twilight Zone, or Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams. Just, y’know, in the form of a short book.
I don’t want to spoil too much. I certainly don’t want to give you any more of my own interpretation, because you should find your own in it by reading it.
Seriously, check out Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. It is freaking incredible.
Until tomorrow, I’m Adam the Alien. Fare thee well.