I woke shivering. Lack of water had sent me into bizarre feverish dreams: something about a mysterious man and a secret formula. Then I heard scrabbling and thumping at the floor and remembered that my reality was even worse. I sat up and was rummaging around for my glasses when I found it.
I hadn’t left it there; as matter of fact I’d never seen the book before. Printed on cheap brown paper, it had no title, just a hand-drawn symbol like a baroque pentagram and a single name at the bottom: Ramanujan.
I knew that name: the untrained Indian mathematician who appeared out of nowhere spouting theorems that would advance the field by decades. I don’t know why I decided right now would be a good time to read it, given more pressing matters writhing outside. But I did. The first page was headed “Disruption of Self-Organizing Networks, with Applications to the Netherworld”.
Formula 5 was quite interesting indeed. Maybe even useful, I hoped. I started reading it aloud just as the door burst from its hinges.