The Corner

Ultimate Prime

Lots of readers know the A.E. van Vogt story that Sir Arthur C. Clarke

referred to ** IN ** THE ** FAN ** LETTER ** HE ** WROTE ** ME **. It is

“Vault of the Beast” (1940). Synopsis: “A creature, actually the galaxy’s

greatest mathematician, is held in a huge vault on Mars, made of ultimate

metal, and whose time-lock is keyed to the ultimate prime number.” There’s

a presidential-candidate joke in there somewhere, but I can’t quite see it.

Jonah?

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