The narrator, an unnamed Venezuelan fugitive unjustly found guilty for an unknown crime, has taken refuge on an unnamed desert island. He has come to this island, known for a strange disease that ate away the bodies of an expedition of people in 1924, on the advice of a rug salesman in Calcutta. He has explored the ruins of the buildings left by the group. His solitude is broken suddenly by the appearance of a group of strangers who do not see or hear him. He slowly comes to realize that they have no consciousness of his existence. The narrator is particularly fond of Faustine, a beautiful, dark-haired French woman, and he slowly falls in love with her despite her complete lack of awareness of his presence.
The narrator discovers that the intruders are the three-dimensional projections of machines invented by Morel, the leader of the group that built the buildings now in ruins. The functioning of the machines is triggered by the tides and therefore conceivably can project the individuals an infinite number of times. The machines recorded not only the peoples bodies but also their feelings. Morel believed that the souls of the individuals passed over to the recorded images once the persons died and that because of this phenomenon he could achieve the purpose of his radio photographic technology—overcoming absence. If the human being can understand nothing outside space and time, then to guarantee a recurrent projection in those two dimensions provides...
(The entire section is 465 words.)