The number 31 keeps showing up in my life at the moment, especially in relation to my novel, The Raw Shark Texts. Don't believe me? Okay, check this out — I am 31 years old now, this year, at the time my first novel is released. At the time of its release, Raw Shark had sold into a total of 31 counties. The day after its release, it hit its highest sales rank to date on a certain other bookselling website: Sales rank 31. And proceeded to enter the UK hardback fiction chart at, you guessed it, No. 31.
All of which is just unusual rather than creepy or significant, of course, but, if the universe is trying to speak to me, then I suppose I should at least take a second to tune in the radio. As a fun experiment then, I'm just about to type '31 Steven Hall' into Google and see what happens. The secret to life the universe and everything? Well, let's see...
Okay, so first up, there's another Steven Hall, at MIT I think, judging from the website address, completing his own final project on October 31, 2005: Looks like some sort of homemade computer.
What next? Ahhhâ€¦ there's yet another Steven Hall, a painter this time, whose book was released on the 31st January 2005.
Then this, another Steven (or Stephen) Hall, and another 31:
"Also, Stephen Hall tells Steve Paulson about his work in immunotherapy. Hall thinks vaccines can be used to trigger the immune system to resist some malignancies. Hall writes for the New York Times Magazine..."
Here's a good one: Someone called Carrie on a message board looking for an 'Ernest Stephen Hall'. Carrie joined the message board on 31st December and posted this particular message at 1:31.
Okay, this one's a bit more impressive: The Stephen S Hall hotel in Dublin apparently has 31 rooms.
And here another Steven Hall plays piano on a CD featuring Sonata for Piano no 16 in G major, Op. 31, by old Ludwig Van.
Thirty-one out of 81 CEOs received no bonuses last year....Steven Hall, a managing partner at Pearl Meyer, said the recession is ultimately promptingâ€¦
Okay, well so much for that. A little bit interesting here and there, but hardly the key to life the universe and everything. More static than Stephen Hawking. So is there anything fun to be learned about 31 itself? What if I just stick 31 into Google on its own..?
We get this from Wikipedia:
Messier object M31, a magnitude 4.5 galaxy in the constellation Andromeda. It is also known as the Andromeda Galaxy, and is readily visible to the naked eye in a modestly dark sky.
Thirty-one is also:
â€¢ The number of days in the months January, March, May, July, August, October and December
â€¢ The code for international direct-dial phone calls to the Netherlands
â€¢ A type of card game
â€¢ A type of game played on a backgammon board
â€¢ The number of flavors of Baskin Robbins ice cream
â€¢ In Star Trek, the name of Section 31, a secret police shadow organization of the Federation
â€¢ ISO 31 is the ISO's standard for quantities and units
â€¢ In Family Guy, the Griffin house number on Spooner Street
â€¢ Turkish slang for masturbation ("otuzbir")
â€¢ Jeff Burton's racing #
â€¢ 31 Records, a record label
And there are 31 planes of existence, according to this.
And 31 letters in the Russian alphabet according to this.
So what does it all mean?
Well, nothing by the looks of things.
It's all just random noise. But then Gregory Chaitin says that even the things we thought were solid and logical and predictable, like mathematics, are mostly just a big dark churning ocean of random and unprovable truths.
But, it's always nice to check, isn't it..?
Books mentioned in this post
Steven Hall is the author of The Raw Shark Texts