Trying to root the science bits of a science fiction book in fact, current theory, and realism is a bit of a bitch to say the least. Not only can the calculations be time consuming in some cases, but sometimes there just isn’t an easily available answer to a question you’ve come up with.
My recent foray into the world of electromagnetism, and more specifically the Takeyama electromagnetic coil experiment, has given me a question for which I can’t seem to find an answer. I’m wondering whether scaling that experiment up from its current maximum (1200T) to the Schwinger limit (4.4×10^9T) will induce a visible effect in an imperfect vacuum (ie; inner solar system outer space with a hydrogen density of several atoms per square meter). Nobody seems to know, there doesn’t seem to be a way to figure it out on my own without some guidance, and everyone I’ve emailed politely to try and get an answer has either not had the time or not had the inclination to respond. I’m on the brink of making up the answer based on logic, which – with my luck – will net a wrong answer.
It does, however, give me a reason to go a little more speculative in future books. Maybe I’m limiting myself a little too much. Maybe being a little more like Peter F. Hamilton than James S.A. Corey might do me well. Maybe only time will tell.
For now, though… I think it’s back to gathering information. If I need to make a logic decision instead of getting a real answer, I might as well get as many of the relevant facts as I possibly can.
My concentration on what I should be doing this weekend was completely nil. Instead, and much to my equal hate and love, I’ve gotten an idea for something new. Something that – so far – seems to be fucking amazing. Something that doesn’t at all fit with my second book, the universe my first book built, or anything else. So, it seems, I’ve started writing a third book.
Yes, I know; a third book? Am I nuts? While I can’t say that I’m not at least a little nuts (total sanity is boring), I can genuinely say that my nuttiness is still governed by a productive force. It took me years to get an idea I felt I could write a whole book about; and now that I’ve sorted that first brain itch and rode it right into two more, I can’t help but to give them room to play out. I owe them that for being so persistent when others were not. My first book was certainly not my first attempt at a book, so I can appreciate the drive they give me in comparison to the foolhardy ideas I used to foster. There were some horrible ones, I kid you not.
Digressing from my current writing habits, I need to express some feelings about my recent reading habits. I’ve officially finished the entirety of the books having to do with Hamilton’s Commonwealth universe, and I don’t know what to do with myself with regards to my next read. I almost don’t want to start something new due to how great and expansive it was, and how hard it is to find something that hooks me so deep. Not since first reading through James S.A. Corey’s in-progress The Expanse series have I enjoyed a set of books so much, and unlike that series/universe this one seems to be tapped. I’m a little sad, and definitely disappointed that I’m out of reading material on this wonderful place. The ride was so good that I didn’t want it to end.
So yeah; I’m in a weird but productive (on all the “wrong” things) sort of place right now, and I’m unsure about my next reading adventure. You ever been there?
I’ve been told I’m an outside the box thinker, but in reality I don’t think I ever really saw the box. I may have been given the outlines of a box by whoever wanted something from me, but what I engineered out of the template given to get the answer was something different entirely.
I was often told in school that I needed to show my work. It wasn’t that I was cheating, but that I could get to the answer in my head quickly with a more complex and less direct process than the one asked of me on paper – and I didn’t want to slow myself down. When asked something like 28 times 50, I’d simply multiply 30 by 50, then subtract the two additional 50s I added. I could get the answer in a fraction of a second, whereas the others would still be working it out manually on paper. It always seemed like an unnecessary waste of time, and time is the one thing you can never get back. I wasn’t inclined to waste mine unless I had to.
The thing is, my entire outlook is like that; not just the way I do math. I’ll get an answer, but it’s not the same way the average person gets it, and if I try to explain my methods people generally give me a look of confusion. It does lead to some interesting questions though, especially since I still can’t see whatever box I’m supposed to be playing in.
The problem with being outside the box though, is that when I come across a real question it’s almost impossible to get an answer. Often the avenues I think will net me an answer lead me to a bunch of people shaking their head in confusion, and when I do get an answer it tends to be one I can either disprove myself or throw up an additional question to in order to get me back to square one. That’s because almost everyone I’m asking is inside the box, and inside the box they only know the limited parameters they’ve been given. It’s hard to get them to see what I see when they’re surrounded by walls.
I’m not saying the box doesn’t help, or that it can’t be useful, but from where I’m sitting the box is the biggest lie of them all. It’s the lie that keeps you looking at the walls instead of asking the questions nobody else has. It’s the lie that keeps most of my more interesting questions unanswered.
So after finishing Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton, I’ve come to realize that he really does have something up his sleeve every time. Though not as immediately engaging as some of my favourite titles from him, the ending was spectacular, and I’m definitely hyped for this new series and its two coming titles because of it. While I felt like I was hooked on his stuff when I read the Commonwealth Saga, the feeling is even stronger now since I know he’s consistent across “universes.” I feel I can confidently look forward to anything he writes at this point, which is good because I don’t follow many authors across series’. It’s nice to have someone to fall back on, haha.
Speaking of authors and writing, my latest is coming along nicely now that I’ve sorted my notes. I’m a few thousand more words into it since I’ve last posted, and am feeling really good about where this second novel is going. Over the last while it has developed from a bunch of loose goals into something a lot more solid, and I’m excited to feel it out the rest of the way.
No news yet on a publisher, but I just recently sent out another round of queries so hopefully I’ll hear back somewhat soon. Having this sorted before the end of the year was the goal, but you can’t dictate someone else’s timetable and people have to both read and enjoy what I’ve written to pick me up – so I understand the wait. Still sucks, though!
So for now, it’s back to writing and maybe some reading; I’ve just grabbed the second title in Hamilton’s Chronicles of the Fallers series, and I’ve still got Misspent Youth to chew through. Lots to do, and not enough time in a day!