PLOT DEVICES FOR SCI-FI / FANTASY WRITERS
T. E. Mark’s Blog
First: The Skinny on Wormholes
If space is shaped like a horse shoe, (See image above) though there’s really no proof that it is, but, if it was, a trip through a tunnel from one end to the other, would be much quicker than taking the long way around. It would obviously take less time, require less fuel, cost less, and would allow us to convince people that we actually travelled faster than the speed of light. (We really wouldn’t have, but it would certainly sound cool.)
Second: The bummer of Reality
The bummer with Wormholes is: ‘They don’t exist!’
At present, they remain nothing more than a theoretical concept, generated from Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which, if you’re really, really smart, you can deduce, as Al did along with his buddy Rosen, that their existence is mathematically feasible.
(But, with that reasoning, I would be well within my right to expect a call, at any minute, from either Shakira, or Charlize Theron, wondering if I’m free Friday night.)
Third: The seriously ARCANE terminology
ARCANE Terminology Highly Simplified Definitions
(Once they realised no one was buying their concept, they saw the prudence in removing their names from it. From where they got the term Wormhole, beats the heck out of me.)
|Space-Time||To go from point A to point B, it tends to take time, therefore, we who like sounding smarter than everyone else, tend to group these terms together.|
|Theory of Relativity||Fancy way of saying: Speed is Relative (Other stuff too, but for now, let’s just stick to the basics.)|
|Negative Mass Wormhole||This may even exceed the realm of ARCANE concepts, but I’ll give it a try.
Remember Algebra? Positive numbers, which were real, and Negative numbers, which weren’t, but proved useful when working equations, and guaranteed your Maths teacher a job?
This is kind of the same thing. (Sort of)
|Exotic Matter||Though no one, at present, will clarify this one for me, not even the tragically smart guys over at NASA, I will assume that Elon Musk has already patented it, built a mega factory to produce it, and is already using it as rocket fuel over at Space-X, or putting it in the batteries over at TESLA. (I just hope he’s not feeding it to his engineers)|
|Negative Energy Density||This essentially goes along with Exotic Matter. I thought I’d throw it in, simply because it just sounded way too cool to pass up. (More later…maybe)|
Now that we’ve defined these terms, well, briefly anyway, let’s delve just a bit deeper into the possibilities, and how they might be useful to the Sci-Fi writer. I’ll also attempt more in-depth explanations of each term.
Wormholes (Einstein-Rosen Bridges)
If we ever do find a wormhole, one that’s sizeable enough for a craft, or even a person, the potential would be unbelievable. (I really had to fight off the inclination to use the word astronomical here, I hope I’ve gained your respect.)
Travel to and from other solar systems, galaxies, even other universes, would virtually be within our grasp. We could indeed go where no-one has gone before, (Thank you Mr Roddenberry) and do it in rather quick order too. (See below)
Time Travel would be almost a sure thing, since we would be, in a convoluted sort of way, eclipsing the speed of light. Falling back on Relativity here, this would indicate a slowing of time, thus, we could, conceivably, embark on a journey into a wormhole, exit on the other side, spend a neat weekend at a Sandals resort hotel on another planet, and return, conceivably, before we ever left. (Jeff Bezos could easily market this one)
To add to the above, for the serious Sci-Fi writer, this instantaneous, intergalactic travel, could also lend itself to us (as the travellers) being in two places at the same time. (This one I see as rather obvious – I’ll leave the further interpolations and extrapolations to you.)
As I said above in my brief description, it takes time to go from point A to point B. Whether from your flat to the nearest tube stop, or from Earth to, say, Pluto, some amount of time is being expended.
Now, if we consider space like a quilt, with two colours of thread woven together, red for distance, intertwined with the black for time, then, if we travel very slowly, we cover very little distance, but expend very little time. Conversely, if we travel very quickly, we cover a great distance, but, we also cover a great amount of time. (Yet, our fast and slow travellers, might depart and return simultaneously.) Did you follow that?
This plants us smack dab in the middle of Relativity, and to avoid the use of ARCANE equations, and risk losing you, I’ll just leave you with this:
Time is not always the same thing. A second at a slow speed, is not a second at a greater speed. To use the analogy I used in my first post, a second could be a simple tap of your foot, or it could be 100,000 Earth years – or more. It depends on the speed at which you’re travelling.
Theory of Relativity
Pretty much covered this one, so let’s move on.
Negative Mass Wormholes
Suffice it to say, if you’re travelling in outer space, you want to avoid these.
This may actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Could be dangerous. Certainly nothing you want add to your fuel tank at your next fill-up, but, as they have created small amounts in the lab, Exotic Matter may be the element needed to stabilise worm holes, and keep them from collapsing, while we’re making that next voyage to the Andromeda Galaxy.
Hurdles of course exist:
- We have yet to find a worm hole.
- We’ve only been able to create about a gram, or so, of this rare material called, Exotic Matter, and it cost about a quadrillion dollars to so. (May need to launch it on the NASDAQ)
- Someone definitely needs to come up with a better name for this stuff. (Try selling the need for a grant to some Government Agency, to study ‘Exotic Matter.’)
Negative Energy Density
Trust me, you don’t want to get me started on Negative Energy Density. This is a very emotionally charged subject for me. I’m still undergoing therapy on this one, so…there it is!
To Sum Up
There will be complications with this endeavour, rather severe ones, primarily running into that exotic matter, but, with some engineering ingenuity, a little financial backing from a couple of American software tycoons, and that kid who invented Face Book, I am certain these could be overcome.
Once we’ve discovered those elusive wormholes, gathered that funding, renamed and manufactured enough of that material previously called ‘Exotic Matter,’ and learned how to tell the difference between a good old-fashioned wormhole, from a dangerous Negative Energy one, we’ll be bounding around the universe at warp eight, perhaps even nine or ten.
Then, the only problem we’ll have to contend with, besides figuring out how to tell time while we’re travelling the universe, will be, making certain we get there before the French do. Uh-Huh? Remember the New World – Remember America? Can’t afford a replay of that in another Galaxy, now can we?
I’ve specifically enjoyed writing this issue of my PLOT DEVICES FOR SCI-FI / FANTASY READERS AND WRITERS, and hope you’ve been at least modestly, if not entirely, enriched, intrigued and entertained.
If my work pleases you, consider sharing this with your networking pals and maybe picking up one of my six recently published novels:
‘Love in the Time of Apocalypse’ (Published – June 2017)
‘Alina’ (Published – May 2017)
‘Never a Sun Rises’ (Published – April 2017)
‘Fractured Horizons: A Time Travel Odyssey’ (Published – Jan 2017)
‘…but then, why Mars really?’ (Published – Dec 2016)
‘AHNN’ (Published – Oct 2016)
T.E. Mark is a Science Writer, Author, Language Teacher and Violinist. He has written novels for Young and Adult Readers and continues to write science articles for national and international magazines.