For Eric Gray, the protagonist of ‘The Master Pattern’, life is pattern. His every word and act he sees as contributing to the master pattern. The movement of trees in the wind, the stars in the sky, birds at rest and in flight, in fact all aspects of life organic and inorganic, he sees as patterns.This is not just a facile exchange of the words life and pattern. In Eric’s case it’s a literal perception validated and made real by his ability to play perfect chess. In fact, through chess Eric is allowed a glimpse of the controlling principle – the master pattern.
In the course of his life chess brings him into contact with scientists pursuing research in artificial intelligence and he plays a significant role in understanding its potential and limitations. With the girl he falls in love with he helps find meaningful patterns in genes and DNA and contributes to her research in molecular biology.
In this story love is revealed to Eric as the heart of the master pattern.