Textual Mechanics
Or "Text Elementary Particles" explained by our resident Nextian Phycisist, John Wooten, currently head of JurisTech R&D.

"....While you presented the text sea in your last book, implying that the character is the smallest unit in the novel, recent research has shown that each text character is actually composed of combinations of smaller, more fundamental, units called "quirks". Quirks and their opposites antiQuirks have been hypothesized for some years. Some of them are know such as the sense and non-sense quirk. The non-sense quirk is the anti quirk to the sense quirk. Others such as accent and non-accent, dental, labial, etc. are hypothesized. The non-sense quirk was, of course, the earlies discovered. The letters of text in all languages are formed by various combinations of quirks. The "q" for instance must contain a strong non-sense quirk that produces a binding to the sense quirk in the letter "u" since these two letters are almost never found in isolation.

You probably remember how letters were first discovered. They did't just get invented or created. Thoughts and their words appeared first. Then textual mechanics began running their linear text colliders, smashing words together and statistically analyzing the letters that popped out. By smashing different words into one target word, for instance you can gradually work out the letters that always appear. Then by trying them in different orders, you can get back the target word. Thus we now have derived the complete set of letters that make up every word in the English language, for instance. Similarly by smashing letters together we determine the pieces that fly out.

At the other end of the spectrum from high energy text colliding leading to the theory of quirky textual mechanics, we have the large scale phenomena of cosmic textual geometries. Combining these into a General Textual Theory is one of the challenges of current times. Cosmic textual geometries deals with determining the geometry of a novel or plot. As everyone knows, at some small sampling distance, a page or two, all plot geometries are locally flat, i.e. variations in different dimensions vary slowly and linearly. However at larger samplings, as the main theme, character, or other dimension of the plot is changing, other dimensions are changing at different rates, leading to a "curvature" in that dimension of the textual space-time. Some plots are flat, others circular, some are toridal, i.e. you can go the long way around or the short way to arrive at the same conclusion. If the total mass of dense words go beyond the Egghead limit, the plot can collapse inward forming a singularity known as a "sync hole". Techniques are being developed to measure plot curvature to be able to detect imminent signs of plot collapse. Also, once it was recognized that plots had geometries, it became possible to determine the relevant properties and arrange plots and novels in a "plot spring" diagram. The major novels seem to line up along the main sequence, newer novels appearing as dimly glowing entities and growing more brighly as they readen. Some, of course, fail to achieve the necessary mass of readers and depart the main sequence to become short lived or dead novels. Some achieve super star status very quickly, but then burn out or almost vanish suddenly from the main sequence. Examples are Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Brief bright light, then suddenly gone.

John Wooten