Boolean Quiz

by wjw on October 9, 2012

Lo!  It is the cover of The Boolean Gate, my new novella from Subterranean Press, available now for pre-order in a signed, limited edition!

You can also pre-order it at Amazon and divers other places, I believe.

The price is a mere $38.  But if you’re short a few dollars, don’t despair!  I have a few copies of the uncorrected proofs lying around, and I’ll be happy to send copies to the first three people to give the correct answers to the quiz below.

Now, the proofs do not have the handsome J.K. Potter cover of the limited edition.  But on the other hand, they’re free.  Your call.

People who have read or workshopped the story, alas, are not eligible.

Okay, here are the three questions:

1.  Who are the three historical figures depicted on the cover?

2.  What the hell is a Boolean Gate, anyway?

3.  And what does a Boolean Gate have to do with one/some/all of the figures from Question #1?

Given the high level of genius displayed by the friends of this blog, I expect the questions will be answered within, um, twelve seconds or so.

Kimberly Unger October 9, 2012 at 5:46 am

Ooooh, let’s see.

1. Samuel Clements (Mark Twain), Nikola Tesla and J Morgan.
2. Boolean is usually a yes or no, on or off, so a Boolean Gate would be one that is opened or closed, no inbetween states.
3. Judging from the history of the three figures I’ll go with an invention/creation (possibly thought up by Twain, funded by Morgan, built by Tesla?)

Kairam Ahmed Hamdan October 9, 2012 at 5:48 am

1. Tesla, Morgan & Edison

2. it’s a kind of device that applies logic connectictives in electronic circuits.

3. Tesla has Boolean gates patented.

Dan Blaie October 9, 2012 at 5:49 am

1 – Twain/Clemens
2 – Tesla
3- HG Wells
Logic Equations
They all used one or another form of logic based on multiple inputs of information in their varied works..

Kairam Ahmed Hamdan October 9, 2012 at 5:57 am

It’s Twain, not Edison.


Logan Waterman October 9, 2012 at 5:58 am

Mark Twain
Nikolai Tesla
JP Morgan

A Boolean function is a mathematical concept wherein multiple inputs in a particular state create a single output. Useful in cryptography. Also used for logic gates in electronics

If the Gate in the title is literal, I would say it is some sort of transport/teleport device, where enter any of several Gates will allow exit from any paired Gate with the same Boolean network. Probably created by Tesla.

-dsr- October 9, 2012 at 10:58 am

Sadly, I am not first and I agree with Ms. Unger: Samuel L. Clemens, Nikola Tesla in the middle, and John Pierpont Morgan on the right.

A Boolean gate is any of the standard basic logic circuits: OR, AND, NOT, XOR, and their combinations. All of them can be built from multiple NOR (not OR) gates, incidentally.

Morgan financed some of Tesla’s experiments, including Wharnclyffe Tower, where the new Tesla museum will be built. Twain invested in all sorts of wild schemes; I’m not sure that Tesla was among them. It’s plausible, because they were friends.

-dsr- October 9, 2012 at 11:00 am

NAND gates. Not NOR gates; you can build the other gates from NANDs.

TJIC October 9, 2012 at 11:58 am

FWIW, I formulated answers before clicking over into the comments here

1) I agree w Kimberly: Twain, Tesla, John Morgan
2) a boolean gate (or a logic gate) is a device that performs a simple boolean operation on one or two inputs and signals the answer on an output (e.g. “AND”, “OR”, “NOT”). Can be electronic, hydraulic, etc.
3) Again, I agree with Kimberly: I think we’re looking at a time travel or alternate history tale where Twain (an inventor of some surprising things, including a predecesor of the linotype machine) and Tesla build something with help from Morgan. I’m guess the boolean gate title is referencing a NOT gate: we’re going to see a way that history did not play out in our world.

C. K. Derrick October 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm

1. Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla, and J.P. Morgan.
2. A boolean gate is a yes/no processing device.
3. Tesla experimented IRL with vacuum tubes, which can serve as boolean gates.

Steve Halter October 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm

1) Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain), Nicola Tesla, J.P. Morgan
2) A boolean gate is a device (physical or idealized) that implements a boolean function–like And, Nand, …
3) Starting in 1898, Nikola Tesla filed for patents of devices containing electro-mechanical logic gate circuits.

Ralf The Dog. October 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm

1, Twain, Tesla, Morgan.

2 Boolean gates are Binary logic components that have two inputs and one output. all elements can have the value of 0r or 1 (If you want, you can think of them as Yes and no.) If I remember, they are and, or and xor.


both elements must be 1 to return a 1

0,0 =0
0,1 =0
1,0 =0
1,1 =1


if either or both elements are a 1, the result is 1

0,0 =0
1,0 =1
0,1 =1
1,1 =1


if both elements are the same, the result is 0. If both elements are different, the result is 1.

0,0 =0
1,0 =1
0,1 =1

I would also guess, the book is about RF power transmission.
1,1 =0

My guess is, Twain and Morgan are the inputs, Tesla is the output.

Joyce October 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Am I really #3 to respond?
I agree with Kimberly and TJIC
1. Twain, Tesla, JP Morgan
2 Boolean gate uses Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT
3. Sounds like an alternate history tale to me

TC/Writer Underground October 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm

All three characters are in fact WJW (before coffee, after too much coffee, and upon the realization there is no more coffee in the house).

What do I win again?

Ralf The Dog. October 9, 2012 at 6:06 pm

TC, if (you answer q1 correct AND you answer q2 correct AND you answer q3 correct AND you are one of the first 11 (Binary)) {you get a spiffy new booklet by WJW.} Else {you get to post on this board and the right to pay money, if you so wish, to get same spiffy book.}

wjw October 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Good work, folks! I will state at this point that not all prizes have been awarded, and that the quiz will close at midnight tonight, Mountain Daylight Time.

Speculation about what the story is actually =about= is entertaining, but will not win the prize. Just the facts, as Sgt. Joe Friday probably never said.

The Duck Monkey October 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Not only ripping off The Difference Engine, but also Americanizing it?

Stay classy, Jonnyboy.

wjw October 10, 2012 at 2:49 am

Aw, Duck Monkey, you disappoint.

Try to be sure of your facts, okay? I mean, you should probably try =reading the story= before you decide who I stole it from.

As for Difference Engine, I’ve never read it. I knew it was an alternate history involving Byron, and I was writing my own alternate history featuring Byron at the time, so I deliberately stayed away.

Ralf The Dog. October 10, 2012 at 5:08 am

So, for your next act, you write a book about a race of three legged aliens with snakes for heads that discover a ring around a star?

I think Duck Monkey is correct. Difference Engine takes place in the past. Your booklet takes place in the past too. Bruce Sterling and William Gibson used words in their book. You are copying them by using words. Next, you will print those words on paper (Plagiarism!!!)

d brown October 11, 2012 at 7:10 am

The Difference Engine was not real. Tesla was. He had real patents in the 1800’s for devices the Difference Engine story used. Two young Germans made a real computer using off/on telephone switches in the late 1930’s. It was said have clacked (?) like the Difference Engine . The army could see no use for it and they were drafted. I wish I knew what happened to them. Never heard any more about it so I guess they were killed.

Barkeron October 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Fortunately, history had a better fatw ready for whom you refer.

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