Sunday, February 13, 2011

Suspending Disbelief, Part II

Suspending Disbelief, Part II

In my January 16, 2011 blog, I gave many examples of linking biblical references to the story in The Judge to give the novel credibility. That novel is primarily earth-based, so linking the story to the Bible made sense. It was a way of making Daniel’s discovery plausible, and making the ship itself seem possible. After all, much of the ship was described in detail in the Bible long before the New Testament was written.

I also claimed the remaining novels in the trilogy, Infinity Quest and The Empress of Tridon, would be grounded using other published scientific papers, the Torah, the Qur’an, the Kabala, Hindu writings, and similar philosophies that would enable to reader to accept universes and concepts that are almost beyond imagination.

Let’s begin by grounding the primary “leap of faith” that runs through all three novels, something that’s a current hot topic of world-wide research – the use of brain waves to control things. Much work has been done in this area. Wheelchairs are controlled by thought as well as some computer systems, but there’s more. The military has research programs to read individual thoughts (http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/technology/27055299.html), a concept that would be a boon to interrogation. In the future, I believe thoughts will not only be read, but recorded as well. The capability to save recorded thoughts for eternity exists in the trilogy, and simulations can be run within the recorded body of thoughts that enable exploitation of the collective experiences and thinking of all people over all time. That’s what Daniel and Eve find in the spaceship buried in the Negev.

Individual thoughts are recorded in “glyphs”, glyphs are clustered in “matrices” and matrices are networked together in a universal view of something like the Internet. Of course, there are limits to what can and can’t be shared, but there are also controllers called “singularities” who can seek out whatever knowledge is desired from the matrices when needed. Imagine how science would advance if the experiences of the finest minds weren’t lost at the time of death! That’s the culture into which Daniel, Eve and the remainder of the Judges step into when they leave earth.

During simulations within collective matrices of glyphs, Daniel discovers ancient secrets, but even these are grounded by the thinking of Descartes’ "cogito, sum" – "I think, I am." An expansion of that thinking lead the ancients to create matter from thought, and Daniel finds his ship is outfitted with thought-to-matter converters, equipment that works at the atomic level to form food and other voyage necessities from recorded thoughts that describe complete understanding of the objects being produced.

The Judges leave earth for the distant planet Ukkon, but find space isn’t at all what they thought. At one point, Daniel confronts the memories of the long-dead former captain of their ship, Sartan, and is presented with an entirely new concept of space, a vital understanding to address the mind-boggling distance between Earth and Ukkon he sees on a map projected into his mind. New concepts are not only presented to Daniel and the reader, but are linked to everything Daniel knew before his encounter with Sartan, as shown in the following short excerpt:

My mind is still reeling – the distances are so vast. “But, no matter how you slice it, there’s a hell of a distance between those two dots. If the universe I know is just a tiny part of that one ribbon, then, even at the speed of light, it’d take a trillion lifetimes to travel between those dots!”

“Possibly, for the universe you know, Boy, but this isn’t that.”

“Hello, earth to Sartan, there’re Natural Laws here, too; you can’t screw with Mother Nature!”

“Damn, Boy, you sure are green. Question: what’s a Natural Law anyway? Answer: it’s just a repeatable observation. When your scientists can’t explain something, but observe it the same every time, they call it a Natural Law, whatever ‘it’ is at the time, like gravity for example. But those folks only know observations where they exist, next to that little green dot down there in the corner.”

“Okay, okay, let’s say I accept your explanation of Natural Laws, but they’re all I’ve ever known, and they all say it can’t be done. What am I missing? How do we get from point A to point B?

“Simple, you just need to know it’s what’s between the ribbons that counts.” Captain Sartan is enjoying this far too much. It’s as if he’s been waiting to turn the tables on me, for a time when I need him more than he needs me. What a pain in the ass! A guy could grow to dislike these downloads; another good reason for only taking on on.

Sartan is waiting for me to make a fool of myself, and I make a stab at it, “Dark matter?”

“Nah, not really. Earth science is just coming to grips with that; you need to look at the bigger picture. Inside a ribbon you’ve got your matter on one hand and your energy on the other, and in between you’ve got your dark matter. But what’s outside those ribbons, Boy? Not matter, not energy, and not dark matter, either. Outside those ribbons, the rules you grew up with simply don’t apply. Within a ribbon, light’s constrained to a fixed speed, but outside those ribbons, there’s nothing to hold it back. No gravity, no energy, no ‘dark matter,’ no rules.”

“No speed limitation? No relativity?”

“Simply doesn’t apply.” The Captain’s words drip with sarcasm, as if any idiot should understand.

So how long will such a trip take? How fast will we be going?”

“It’ll take as long as it takes, no more, no less. Time has little meaning to us anyway. We’ll accelerate until we reach the halfway point, then we’ll decelerate. A thousand of your light years could pass in one of our light seconds. Only two parts of the trip will go slow; when we’re leaving the ribbon we’re in on this end, and when we enter the ribbon where Ukkon is located.

The ribbons puzzle me. “What about the ever-expanding universe following the Big Bang?”

“Big Bang? You believe that crap? Look, Boy, these ribbons act a lot like a fluid, like a trickle of water running down an irregular surface. Sometimes they expand, sometimes they contract, and sometimes there’re undulating waves moving along them. The Big Bang, as seen from the neighborhood of earth, is really a ‘big bulb’ traveling along that ribbon, so everything inside the bulb appears to be moving away from everything else, at least at this time.

“Don’t you see it, Boy? The galaxies, everything in the ribbon, slosh around as the ribbon expands and contracts. And, by the way, the edge of the universe, as seen from earth’s neighborhood, is expanding faster than light, exactly as NASA observed it, because the speed of light is not a constraint outside the ribbon!”

Again, the view of space is linked to known facts: NASA observations prove the expansion of space exceeds the speed of light (http://blogs.agu.org/wildwildscience/2009/03/29/can-the-universe-expand-faster-than-light-apparently-yes/), and Daniel’s initial view of the Big Bang reflects current theory. In other words, the new view of space is grounded to current thinking and observation.

In similar fashion, I attempted to connect all aspects of the trilogy to known science. Another example is the “seeding” of intelligent life throughout all universes. New DNA analysis printing methods called Supramolecular Nano-Stamping enables single strands of DNA to self-assemble on a substrate, duplicating a nano-scale pattern made from their complementary DNA strands. That technique was the basis for etching tiny cubes distributed throughout the universes, a type of DNA seeding. That’s the reason similar life forms are found throughout all universes in the trilogy, and there are no monsters in the novels, except for those that exist within the human character.

The Judges become part of the seeding process when they decide to seek their forefathers, the people who seeded the universes in the first place. However, the adage “be careful what you ask for” comes into play. In seeking them, Daniel and Eve search for a bound to infinity, but find incredible pain instead—and a concept of God they can scarce imagine. Relative to grounding Infinity Quest, the monsters from history I used to ground the villain were the most infamous dictators I could find: Hitler and Stalin.

One final note. Even the names of all characters in the trilogy are grounded in meaning. The name, Marid, for example, was taken from the evil genie mentioned

many times in the Qur’an. Similarly, all character names describe the essence of the associated character, when the names are looked up in Hebrew, French, Arabic or English. The names for Daniel and Eve, the hero and heroine, were intentionally selected for their biblical namesakes.

Here is a short blurb for Infinity Quest: Marid, God of all that is, developed intelligent life throughout thousands of universes for his own purposes. His creations don’t know he exists, but are pawns in his galactic plan to become omnipotent, omnipresent, and the final rung on the evolutionary ladder. Daniel and Eve trace Marid’s rise to power through trillions of years of individual lives recorded in glyphs. They find he destroyed his home planet, and then used techniques similar to those employed by Hitler and Stalin to enslave the fleeing population. Attempting to free a fleet of distant relatives, they learn the hard way that Marid uses alternate realities as weapons, so things are never what they seem, and discover first hand Marid can inflict pain and death on a scale they can’t comprehend.

Next month, I’ll provide a few more examples of grounding, but will primarily focus on the socially significant messages embedded in the trilogy.

Thank you again, Sweet and Sexy Divas, for having me today, and a big thank you to all the readers who took the time to read this blog as well.


James L. Hatch


Tina Donahue said...

Your posts are always so fascinating, James. With the level of care you put in your stories, I can't imagine you not reaching bestseller status. :)

Delaney Diamond said...

I have to admit, the idea of having our thoughts read and recorded gives me the creeps. But it's another great post, James.

Judy said...

I really enjoyed your post. Not sure if the reading of thoughts are in my future, I don't think i would want anyone reading mine:)

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I see you've done a great deal of actual science research for your book. Reading your blog was like reading Stephen Hawking's books--I feel the need to put notes in the margins and wonder, did I get that right? I like it when science fiction writers use real scence for the basis of their books. It gives validity to the fiction part.As always, James, a fascinating blog.