The Princess of the Perfume River

Part of The Numbers Quartet, co-written with Nancy Fulda, Stephen Gaskell, and Benjamin Rosenbaum, Daily Science Fiction, 2012

Boltzmann’s constant: a constant that plays a fundamental role in defining the entropy of a system, particularly in the characterization of systems for which the lack of information is maximal. Valued at 1.3806488 10-23J K-1–symbol k, first referenced in work linking entropy to probability by Ludwig Boltzmann in 1877 AD.

It was the same way in life as in the story: the fisherman plying his trade on the river rapids; the princess trapped in her tower, waiting for the sound of his flute, waiting to be taken away from the palace. Except that Thien was the princess, the captive one–if the city of Hue could be a tower, and guiding tourists through the ruins of the Citadel be compared to reading books and embroidering silk cloth for ceremonies.

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