The New Quarterly asked for “particle fictions”, short stories that take as their title and/or theme one of the fanciful names given by scientists to the six types of quarks: Charm, Strange, Up, Down, Truth, and Beauty.
Quarks are subatomic particles that combine to form the building blocks of matter, protons and neutrons. They are always found in combination, never alone. Truth was the last quark to be discovered, observed at Fermilab in 1995. It has much greater mass than the other quarks and though its existence was suggested as early as 1973, it required the immense force of the particle collisions of the Tevatron accelerator to make it observable. Truth and Beauty are now more commonly known as Top and Bottom respectively. For each quark there is an anti-quark with opposite attributes. Quarks and anti-quarks may annihilate each other, producing photons.
Note: There is a typo in the first sentence of the print version. It should read “The moment had arrived and still no Truth.”, not “The moment had arrived and still no Ruth.” At no time does a character named “Ruth” appear in the story.