Considering String Theory

We’ve all heard about it.  String Theory.  It’s the (relatively) new big idea in physics.  It could even lead to the mythical Theory of Everything.  Some speculate that it could explain, predict or someday prove the existence of parallel universes.

When physicists engage in creative speculation, science fiction authors get excited.  No one creates impressive sounding buzz words like a physicist.  Supergravity, Mirror Symmetry of Six Dimensional Manifolds, String Dualities, 11 Dimensional M-Theory, Two and Five Dimensional Membranes, 12 Dimensional Two Time Theory, etc.  Each one is like an eagerly anticipated birthday present.

Sure, some authors dive deeply into the hard science, wrestling with the formulas, contemplating theoretical constructs, and stretching their brains to the breaking point.  They eagerly pour over complex geometries, undetectable dimensions, nuclear forces, and the uncomfortable glares between General Relativity and Quantum Field Theory.  Others take a different approach.

For many years, science fiction has played in the space beyond what is currently known and proven by science.  Want characters to get from one star to the next within the reader’s lifetime?  Hyperspace!  Want to blur the lines between man and machine?  Cyborgs!  Want to consider alternate histories?  Parallel Universes!  Want to explore the mind-bending ramifications of causality problems?  Time Machine!

For the average person, scientists can sometimes appear as wise Seers of Ultimate Truth.  They perceive things mere mortals can’t begin to understand.  When we ask them to explain, we can’t understand the explanations (or the drawings).  We are sometimes surprised when we discover that some of this science began as a flight of fancy in someone’s imagination.

Imagination plays a big role in our lives.  We foster it and encourage it as children.  We praise it in our artists, authors, and musicians.  We frequently challenge one another to “think outside the box” or to be creative problem solvers.  It’s not hard to see similarities between the imaginations of a physicist and an author.  Both speculate on the nature of reality, alternative scenarios, and logical outcomes.  They both attempt to create a plausible and believable worldview.  They both build on what is known and look ahead to what might be.  Obviously, one of those professions is more noble and respectable than the other, but we can’t all be authors.



Next Book News: Progress Report

Chapter Five has been finished.  It’s very exciting!  I wish I could tell you what’s going on, but I don’t want to spoil the surprises.  Let me just say that if Psychann and her friends don’t resolve some of these issues, you may have already read the book before I finish it.  If so, don’t tell me how it ends.

In addition, there’s another problem with having a large unruly crowd of displaced trans-universal travelers jump into more and more universes.  Sooner or later, they may meet themselves.  Things may get ugly.

Speaking of ugly, there’s a problem with some Hair.  It’s got a mind of its own.  Literally.

There are arguments with deranged computers, abductions in space, new enemies, Them, telepathic puppy spies, and problems with Time.  Worst of all, however, is a new threat to the multiverse.  There’s a new evil genius who may destroy the whole thing in an attempt to seize power.

Psychann will need all the help she can get.  I can’t wait for Chapter Six…

Telepathic Fish

Fishing is boring.  In this universe, one of the most boring pastimes available to humanity is sitting and waiting for a suicidal fish to so despair of life that it hurls itself upon your hook.  In considering this, I began to wonder how bored fish might be.  It’s not like they have a lot to occupy their minds.  Unless they are telepathic, of course.

If fish were telepathic, what would they think about all day?  What would they have to say to one another?  Would their conversations be limited to the mundane affairs of life?  (Hey!  Let’s swim over here!  Now, swim over there!  Avoid the shark!)  Long ago, humanity faced this problem of having too much time on our hands and decided to invent Philosophy.  Well, it was either that or go fishing.

Would telepathic fish make the same choice?  If so, what would their philosophical discussions sound like?  I’m sure they would have differing views.  Being fish, they would probably divide into different schools of thought.  (Yes, I know that’s a bad pun.)

In a philosophical debate, would the winners eat the losers?  Would sharks be Nihilists, Fatalists, or Existentialists?  Would minnows be Pluralists or Pragmatists?  Would salmon struggle with the concept of Freewill?  Would those individuals who excelled in their philosophical pursuits ever succeed in finding a real job?

On the other hand, watching telepathic fish outwit fishermen might be slightly more entertaining.