Pataphysics means "beyond metaphysics", coming from the Greek [epi meta ta fusika], and the French ['Pataphysique, influenced by the pun on "patte …physique"]. It is the science of imaginary solutions that studies the exceptions rather than laws and aspires to provide imaginary solutions to practical problems. If physics is the study of what is and metaphysics is the study of what "what is " is, then pataphysics is the study of what "what 'what is' is" is.
It is found in the ancient writings of Chinese philosopher Dzu-tse (Jootsius), Ibicrate the Geometer and Sophrotatos the Armenian. It was rediscovered in modern times in Ubu roi (1896) by Alfred Jarry and further developed later in his "neoscientific romance" Geste et opinions du docteur Faustroll, 'Pataphysicien (1911) (translated in 1965 as "Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, 'Pataphysician" in Selected Works of Alfred Jarry ed. by Roger Shattuck and Simon Watson-Taylor, including "The Crucifixion of Christ Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race" and "Commentair pour servir … la construction pratique de la machine … explorer le temps", translated as "How to Construct a Time Machine". This in turn inspired "The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race" (1967) by J.G. Ballard.
Pataphysics has also be called a systematic toying with the arrangement of things and their significance until the improbable hypothesis can be seen as real, the examination of the laws governing exceptions to better explain or describe the universe. It does this obscurely with puns, word play, allusions, hierogamies, with co-existing and contrasting impulses shifting frequently without sinister overtones, but with comic-seriousness. It "rests on the truth of contradictions and exceptions" (Shattuck), on the Law of the Equivalence of Opposites, (in Polish notation: KCNpNNpCNNpNp.), as in three-valued logic where NNp is not equivalent to p. Opposites neither cancel each other out nor exist statistically as contraries, a postulate proved by Gödel. Nor are their differences resolved in a dialectical analysis. Rather, they shuttle back, forth, and around in an open-ended spiral. (gidouille). Not surprizingly Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) also helped found the theatre of the absurd.
Pataphysics is continued by the College de 'Pataphysique, founded 1948, and the Oulipoeans of the Oulipo (L'Ouvroir de Litterature Potentialle) founded in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and Francois Le Lionnais, inspired by linguistic theories of Ferdinand de Saussurre, that art is produced by the friction generated by an author's imagination working against formal constraints, including Harry Matthews, George Perec and metafictionist Italo Calvino (The Castle of Crossed Destinies, 1977, plotted using Tarot cards, "living" suit of armor; t zero (Qfwfq, 1969), related to magic realism of Jorge Luis Borge, Donald Barthelme and Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus (1984) about winged woman, Fireworks (1974).
The College is also the authority for the Pataphysical Calendar.
Other such science fiction would be:Don DeLillo's Ratner's Star (1976), The Names (1982), Thomas Disch's 334, Vladimir Nabokov, Rudy Rucker's White Light, or What is Cantor's Continuum Problem? (1980), The 57th Franz Kafka (1983), The Sex Sphere (1983), Master of Space and Time (1984), The Secret of Life (1985), Transreal! (1991), John T. Sladek's The Mueller-Fokker Effect (1970), Tik-Tok (1983) (alphabent chapters); The Lunatics of Terra (1984), Pamela Zoline's "The Heat Death of the Universe" (1967).
Absurdism, on the other hand, outwardly manifests paranoid and entropy-tortured man's fight against seeming incomprehesibility and irrationality as in Brian Aldiss: Hothouse (aka The Long Afternoon of Earth, 1962), tide-bound Earth's arboreal humans :linguistically inventive and comic), The Saliva Tree and Other Strange Growths (1966), Barefoot in the Head (1969, post psychedelics war), The Eighty-minute Hour (1974); J. G. Ballard: Vermillion Sands (1971), The Best of David R. Bunch (1993); Jerzy Kosinski: Being There (1970); Michael Moorcock: The Sundered Worlds (1965, multiverse), Robert Sheckley: Untouched by Human Hands (1954), Citizen of Space (1955), Pilgrimage to Earth (1957), Notions: Unlimited (1960), Shards of Space (1962), Journey Beyond Tomarrow (1962, adventures of Pacific Islander), Mindswap (1966), Dimension of Miracles (1968); Villiers, Vonnegut