Peter E. Hogarth
Peter E. Hogarth, a professor of mathematics. A middle-aged man who has died of an undisclosed illness by the time his memoirs are published, Hogarth is a moralist whose actions contradict his opinion of himself as an evil man. An independent thinker and scientific iconoclast, he proves that a neutrino message sent to Earth by unknown aliens is a circular description of an (unknown) object. Confronted with the military application of this knowledge, he despairs, but he is relieved on learning that such an abuse is not possible. Hogarth comes to think that the message was a test that he (like humankind) failed bitterly.
Dr. Saul Rappaport
Dr. Saul Rappaport, a physicist in the vanguard of his science. A skinny Polish Jew with a birdlike head and a bad stomach, Rappaport came to America after barely surviving the Holocaust. He believes that the American government keeps scientists like French farmers keep pigs: to hunt for truffles and feed acorns while the owners collect the prizes. Rappaport defies the idea that future humans should become ultraefficient machines. He disappears after Project His Master’s Voice (HMV) ends.
Yvor Baloyne, a linguist and philologist who is science director of the HMV project. Fat, beardless, and essentially timid, he overcomes his frailties with humor and irony. He tries to keep the project funded and independent. After a...
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