Update on Christopher’s new scifi short story: Christopher “Tweets” a new clue!

Loving to keep us in suspense, Christopher has tweeted yet another clue about his work-in-progress scifi short — which we reported on just a few days ago. At this point, all we know of the short story is that it will be a science fiction tale and will act as an introduction of sorts to Christopher’s first post-Inheritance novel (also scifi and unrelated to Alagaesia). Looking for the clue in question? Keep reading!

First, for Christopher’s cryptic tweet:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/InheritanceCP/statuses/154776623726592000″]

Christopher embedded an image in his tweet. The image depicts a very interesting black and white… thing? Check it out:

Christopher himself stated that he would be impressed if anyone could guess what this image represents… and impressed he was! One fan, @Julieanngrasso, was able to determine what the image is and found a Wikipedia entry explaining it — the “Mandelbrot set”. Wikipedia describes the Mandelbrot set as “a particular mathematical set of points whose boundary is a distinctive and easily recognisable two-dimensional fractal shape. The set is closely related to Julia sets (which include similarly complex shapes), and is named after the mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot, who studied and popularized it.” We’re still pretty lost.

Christopher has since confirmed that the fan’s link is in fact correct — the cryptic Twitter photo has been identified, but we’re no closer to figuring out what role it will play in the author’s upcoming scifi short.

Now that we know what this image represents, do you have any guesses as to what it could mean for Christopher’s scifi story or what more he may be hinting at with its revelation? Sound off in the comments!

You can follow Christopher Paolini on Twitter at @InheritanceCP. Shur’tugal is also on Twitter at @ItsShurty and on Facebook on our official Shurtugal.com Fan Page.

  • Artemis

    The space time thing is a vary good idea but what if the image is just to get you to search and where do we go when we want to find something Wikipedia. In my opinion is something to do with the internet or searching.

  • Orox1229

    I dunno. I think maybe but parallel universes but . . . well, whatever. The only thing I’m certain of is that if you look at it a certain way, it looks like a bloodhound’s face

  • Inheritance


  • MarzEz

    Mandelbrot set? Looks more like a graph of Chaos theory to me.

  • Ballard2626

    Maybe it’s something similar to Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions.

    • Issacnewton

      I hope not, read that for AP Calculus class, bored me to tears!

  • Bookworm

    Oh ho! the only thing i got from CP’s so called clue is  sleep.Bot if its a book about travel/multiple dimensions as BigFan says then i m definately giong to like it.

  • Kendall Hall

    Found an article on this image:

    Do you recognize this image? I recognized it immediately from james gleick’s book Chaos . I was rather stunned because Gleick’s plot was generated from a simulation of predator/prey populations which seemed to have nothing to do with the m-set. Rather, he called it a plot of “period doublings”.

  • Arya Dröttningu

    Two dimensions tied by destiny…. and one hero

  • BigFan

    duuuuudeeee, this is sooo gonne be a time travel/multiple dimensions book 😀 CP loves Doctor Who… need i say more? 


    Plz CP dont tell me its somethin about space or something.And plz this time dont write about an incomplete lovstory.I’ll be mad at you this time.SO BEWARE!!!!!

  • Guest

    I believe it actually refers to the logistic map http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logistic_map, and it is just compared to the Mandelbrot set in the wikipedia article.

  • Kamikazepyro9

    If i Had to take a stab in the dark, i would say its going to be a science fiction book that has something to do with space travel… the mandelbrot set is one of many calculations that have been use for theorized methods of instant transportation such as warp holes or FTL travel etc.

  • Jared

    Wow, I googled the Mandelbrot set for two hours and still don’t understand it. It’ll make for quite an interesting book.

  • Saerina

    I bet the new main character’s name will be Kyle (in tribute to his idea of naming Eragon Kyle!)

    • Brisingr4296

      i thought the name was kevin

      • Saerina

        Sorry 🙁 Kyle Kevin, they’re the almost the same for me 🙂

  • For more clues, there are some great videos of the late Benoît Mandelbrot talking about the ‘haunting beauty’ of the Mandelbrot and Julia sets http://www.webofstories.com/people/benoit.mandelbrot/85

  • Alex246

    The circle in the middle may be a planet and something is leaving or entering it it could also be time travel or alternative dimensions

  • jnez125

    maybe its a mane for one of his characters? I mean theres been weirder names then that.

  • Mike, any idea when you guys will start making podcasts again? Sorry if it’s a repetitive question. I miss hearing you guys argue xD

  • two guesses:
    time travel or underwater science adventure.
    When i saw the picture i saw stylized water waves and not some mathamatical ka-boogley.

  • XxxX

    Fractals r really cool…nice to know my first guess was right…fractals are essentially patterns that keep on repeating and build on each other…mendelbroit has a really popular one which is common….but, Idk what the book cud be about

  • ThomasinaCoverly

    I think it might be about parallel universes or something similar because when researching bifurcation on wikipedia one of the definitions was to do with ‘Switching from one stable state to another.’ and also the overlapping halves of the diagram could be indicative of some interaction between them, which I guess makes this also a metaphorical diagram?

  • Anonymous

    all that description makes my math/physics classes seem easy. Christopher Trollini shows up again. 

  • Michaelfan13

    I’dve never even  heard of this in my life

  • A fool

    Patterns are the fabric of life and when one can see those patterns, they can change them, and when they can change them, they can control the very aspect of life itself. That’s how I think it may be related to the new book.

  • Blagden

    So i guess it’s gonna be at least another 3-4 years before we can even expect another alagaesia book not counting any sequels to this story that might be made. This is bs, he owes us a proper ending to the story, if he would’ve concluded Inheritance with eragon and arya being together and saphira and firnen as well than I would have been able to accept it was finished…but the way he ended it was not cool at all. Instead of tieing off loose ends he unravelled them even more, raised more questions, and left us all with a bitter taste. Not to mention all the other questions that brings up like who is angela, will the riders ever flourish again and will the dragons return to alagaesia eventually. In the end i believe CP ended it the way he did in order to leave the series open to future titles like Halo 3 did. Halo 3 came out in 2007 and the sequel to it is coming out later this year, which totals 5 years of time in between. If CP really does care about his fans (not gonna lie im only a fan because of Eragon) than he should write us a book 5 with a proper ending that leaves usfeeling sad maybe but satisfied.

    • XxxX

      calm down

    • Alexis

      He made the ending realistic. Life is full of unhappy endings and plus if they would have ended up together, it would have been an unrealistic change in Arya making her character unrealistic. CP made the book believable with the ending.

      • And he still left open the possibility of a Happily-Ever-After.
        I won’t agree that Inheritance was a bad book, but I will agree that it was a bad ending. We need a book 5! 😉

      • Firnin

        The book was good. The ending sucked. Also, I don’t see why it would break with Arya’s character for her to go with him. I’m re-reading the series for the first time and most of the time, Arya’s showing signs she does care greatly for him. Other than age, the only excuse provided for them to not end up together so far is that she’d distract him from training. After Galbatorix is dead, there’s no need to worry about that. The age difference doesn’t matter much because Eragon’s gone through so much at that point, and learned so much. Especially from the Eldunari. I’d bet he’s mentally more mature than Arya at that point. He certainly has more years of knowledge.

      • Shadows987

        Hah! Realistic! Fantasy! To be honest the fact that E&A got any coverage at all was unrealistic when compared to real life. Yeah a grandmother and a child, what a realistic relationship to even mention. If any of this was real, I would sure as hell appreciate Arya’s looks, but her age would creep me out and I would never even think of a relationship with someone older than me by that much. So please do not bring realism into this. Like the book, hate the book; but realism should stay out.

    • Alex246

      I agree that he should make another book to tie off loose endings or explain what happened to them in his next continuation of the series

    • Brackers01

      I think the main problem would have been describing the all-consuming passion of Eragon and Arya finally getting together and still keeping it in the children’s category! Also I think CP had enough on his plate to wrap it all up as it was. Give the guy a break. He may or may not come back to it. Enjoy it for what it is. Peace x

  • Shadows987

    Is this another teen novel or is this an adult novel? Do we know yet? It sounds as if it is aimed at older readers this time around.

    • Anonymous

      Either way I am happy.

  • a smart guy

    Wait a second!! This is a bifurcation diagram of the logistic map, not Mandelbrot’s set. There is a correspondence between the two but they are not the same! Admittedly,  I don’t understand any of this math but Mandelbrot’s set looks completely different. If you look on the Wikipedia page you’ll see a completely different image for it. Rate this up so people will see it.

    • Julie Ann Grasso

      Yup. You’re right. It’s a Bifurcation diagram. And it’s a stylized image of one too. I linked to the Mandelbrot set cuz its the first wiki site I landed on with the diagram on it. Probably should have clicked on the diagram before I linked it.. But oh well. Ya can’t get that diagram without knowing what the Mandelbrot set is anyway 😉

      • Anonymous

        I’m impressed you can spell this stuff, much less talk about it intelligently, so you still get props in my book!

  • Billy

    everybody’s ideals seem too… to the point… exactly what the picture means. maybe think outside of the box: maybe its the theorie itself that comes into question or something of that sort.

  • Fabien Jaffré

    This image is from Gleick’s book “Chaos”

  • Lironreeve

    maybe he will use this Mandebort set as some kind of expenation for travelling to anothe dimansion. 

  • Dukelord

    maybe two dimensions base story plot

  • andrew ardolino


  • Littlee62

    i am thinking time travel or parallel universe. i line that continues forward but has many branches. just a guess. but know paolini i am wrong lol. it is never that simple 

  • Dorota

    As everyone knows, the Mandelbrot sets are directly and/or inversely proportional to time travel, whose galvanization is thus raised to the power of 3, making the hyperspace of the black hole a parallel universe. The space/time continuum will be at risk for a major paradox.

    Yeah, I have no freaking idea what a Mandelbrot set is. All I know is that this work will be AWESOME (to the power of 3).

    • Dorota

      Oh, and “tesseract.”

  • Horsegal4ever

    I’m not even gonna attempt to guess. I like scifi, I’m just not a big scifi person, who understands it and all. 😛

  • Kevin Hahn

    if you go into google images and paste the link to that image it takes you to a page that more or less tells you its a mandelbrot set. the author of the post I read said it reminded him of the boot chaos: making a new science by james gleick

  • hoke

    I prefer something that employs warp, hyperspace, or wormholes to space/time travel. I’d rather read sci-fi about why people travel space/time, not how they travel…

  • Anonymous

    When he finishes this sci- fi book he could go back to the “Eragonish” books, he should write a side series. Just think, I believe he ended inheritance worse than he could have, there are to many sad endings out there. But he could completely change it to where Eragon changes his future and gets to come back and be with Arya. Anyways, about that side series, for those of you who read T.A. Barrons “Merlin” or “The Dawn of Avalon” series you know how he did a side series “Merlins Dragon”.Where a character from the books had a whole different adventure. Chris could do the same. He could do it on Eragon raising the eggs or a whole different bunch of obstacles. Well… just a thought. I wish I could meet him and share some ideas! Anways… tell me what you guys think.

    • ME

      I think anything that happens later on would definitely be cool

    • Berlioz7

      I wont be buying anything he writes anymore so……

  • Sci-fi? And his clue is basically something with some very difficult language…..

    There could be millions of possibilities ):

  • Gabe

    He also tweeted, “Today’s reading material: Military Science and Tactics — Coast and Antiaircraft Artillery — Basic. Published 1941 and full of useful info.”.

    Don’t know, but it might relate to what he’s writing at the moment…

    • Anonymous

      I saw that too. Sounds intense

    • So we can assume that this short story MAY also have something to do with military….

      • Julie Ann Grasso

        And explosions. Lots of explosions.

  • Anonymous

    Time. That’s what it’s all about. Don’t know how, but there is going to be a character named River, another named Angela, and the word Tardis will make an appearance

    • Medwyn

      We know that he has been watching Dr. Who, don’t we? He likes that show. Might have some sort of influence on his writing. Anything by him will surely be interesting! Can’t wait! Hope it doesn’t take 3 years before it’s finished! lol!

      • Anonymous

        Okay, if it takes him 3 years to finish a *short story* I’m going to go up to Montana and give him a few writing lessons! 😉

    • Eragon_12_7

      there won’t be an Angela because River song is basically doctor who’s angela

  • Btrout

    Probably has something to do with time travel or space travel. Maybe even the space-time continuum.

  • The Grey Rider

    I’m going to say it has something to do with string theory and FTL travel.

    And to anyone who so much as mentions Alagaesia in relation to this:
    GET REAL! It’s already been said this is unrelated.
    Only similarity is that they’re written by the same author.

    God how I wishhope this iswas a 40k novel…

    Hey! It could have something to do with the Number of Ruin!

  • Guest

    I love how this story could be related to Doctor Who

  • No fair, Paolini! I’ve only just finished CALC III… 😉
    Maybe the Mandelbrot set is somehow involved in hyperspace, teleportation, or time-travel. Maybe the TARDIS uses one. Maybe it is a key component in the Nanotech that explains Alagaesian Magic. Maybe using a Mandelbrot set allows you to keep the change in chaos at or near 0, so that you conserve your usable energy. Maybe…

    • Denmark111

      But he already said that it was unrelated to Alagaesia.

  • Julie Ann Grasso

    Not so ironically, recursiveness is always the answer.

    • Julie Ann Grasso

      I am beginning to understand what the Mandelbrot Set shows. It’s a representation of the Julia Sets which remain bonded(shown in black) vs. the Julia Sets which escape to infinity(shown in color). And the Bifurcation Diagram posed by C.P. shows all of the stable solutions possible between r = 0 and r = 4. (I’m not sure if I explained the bifurcation diagram properly, but I am having trouble wrapping my brain around it!)

      In any case, it seems to me like the diagram highlights that which is *not* infinite. And it illustrates how all the non-infinite functions are infinitely recursive. (at least between r=0 and r=4)

      As far as understanding how one would apply this to story, I cannot. 

      And now I think I’ve learned everything I will ever need to know about f(0)=0^2 + c. Or maybe not.

      • Snddragon

        Not to be rude but that just went over my head. I’m only in algebra 2 but I don’t get it.

  • Daniela

    I have a feeling I will not understand the book. #TooSmartAuthor #MathsSucks

    • Anonymous


  • Of course! How I didn’t think of it! It’s a Fractal! Well Ithink it could mean that his scifi story is about the endless universe or infinite parallel universes

  • MonsterEnergyFreak

    Apparently my brother said that a set is a series of circles inside circles which has a number line that counts up to infinite(which means it never ends) and eventually the circles inside circles become a set like the image shown. My brother said he doesn’t understand it and if he doesn’t understand it I can’t. How the shrooms did CP know about a Mandlebrot Set or any set. I’ve never even heard of it. I guess neither has my brother. I’ll ask my math teacher Tuesday when I next go back to school.

  • MonsterEnergyFreak

    I have a feeling that maybe…..hmmmm…..What if CP was using this Mandlebrot set to have something coincided with a mathematical sequence based on quadratic polynomials? Something I was looking into, and I’m about to ask my brother who is in college. Hmm……I’m still clueless, but what if CP was trying to create some virtual dimension of sets to indicate what Alagaesia was like during the fall……….dang it I have no idea where I’m going with this. sorry!

  • Elameno P.

    Oh dear, not math! 😛 Now what the heck is that suposed to tell us…. OOO OOO maybe it’s a code or key to open a portal, or a time warp, or something complex and important like that….. heh, yea, I’ll just stop mysef there.
    -Ms. Obvious

  • Anonymous

    Oh god no!!! I’m awful at math D:

  • … that is one strange thingy…

  • Anonymous

    this is so exciting to me cause im a math major, i would love a book that ivolved a lot of math. lewis carroll had a lot of math concepts in alice, most people dont know that unless they study the story, but i think cp will incorporate it in the same manner as carroll

  • Carly Loveless

    I’m not even tackling it, Trollini will have us beat.

  • I am so very glad that Christopher joined Twitter.

    • Accessibility and openness from someone like him has been a great, great thing. =)

    • Lauren Zurchin

      He’s definitely the person I follow with the most interesting tweets, by far (sorry Mike!).