The Blog Ring of Power is off this week, but I have a guest post by one of the BRoP members, T.W. Fendley. She's here to discuss the science behind her book ZERO TIME, and she's also hosting a party for her virtual book tour. Details are at the end of the post. Take it away, Teresa!
Looking back, it’s hard to remember which came first—my fascination with the science that provides the underpinning of ZERO TIME, or puzzling out how to resolve a problem and keep the story moving.
For instance, I already knew I wanted to write about the ancient American cultures when I ran across a description of the sex-chromosome drive (SRY) in Matt Ridley’s book, GENOME. I thought, What if people had this SRY disorder that causes 97 percent of the offspring to be female? Suddenly my characters became travelers from the Pleiades whose motivation for traveling to Earth was to save their race from extinction.
To improve their chances of success, the 16 travelers separated into small groups who left their planet Omeyocan on the same day but arrived in the geographical areas we now know as Peru and Mesoamerica at times separated by 6,000 years. In my fictional world, they helped establish ancient cultures--the Olmec, Inca, Maya and Aztec.
By now, some of you are undoubtedly moaning, "Oh no, not time travel!" The concept seems to polarize people. China actually banned time travel stories last year, as my friend Pauline Baird Jones noted in her blog about Why Time Travel is a Bad Idea. But is it possible? Even Einstein said, "The distinction between past, present, and future is only an illusion, however persistent." As Columbia University theoretical physicist Brian Greene said recently on his NOVA series, "There's nothing in the laws of physics that says events have to unfold through the familiar sequence we call "forward in time." He gave some simple explanations of theories that indicate time travel may be possible. “Just as we think of all of space as being "out there," we should think of all of time as being "out there" too. Everything that has ever happened or will happen, it all exists."
But how did my travelers get to Earth from the Pleiades? That is part history, part fantasy and part science. I imagined a race of Great Serpents, styled after the ancient cultures’ depictions of feathered serpents and rattlesnakes. My Serpents, who bond with humans like the dragons of Pern in the late Anne McCaffrey’s books, manipulated spacetime to create the Serpent Ropes.
That’s where science again came into play. I envisioned the Serpent Ropes as a type of wormhole--tunnels through spacetime that link not only one place with another, but also one moment with another. The colors observed in the Serpent Ropes are a tip-of-the-hat to the colors Danish physicist Niels Bohr observed during “quantum leaps," when agitated electrons leap from higher fixed orbits to lower ones.
While wormholes were predicted by Einstein’s equations, the ability to traverse spacetime is also supported by quantum mechanics and zero point energy theory (but I'll save ZPE for another day!). Through quantum entanglement, measuring one thing can, in fact, instantly affect its distant partner, as if the space between them didn't even exist. And teleportation? Austrian quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger is currently experimenting with using quantum entanglement to teleport photons, tiny particles of light.
Here are a few more of the facts underlying the fantasy of ZERO TIME:
POLE SHIFT: Paleomagnetic records show that the north and south poles have swapped places many times in the past because the solid inner core spins out of sync with the rest of the planet, according to Gary A. Glatzmaier, a geophysicist at Los Alamos (N.M.) National Laboratory. Such reversals, recorded in the magnetism of ancient rocks, come at irregular intervals averaging about 300,000 years; the last one was 780,000 years ago, as reported on NASA's website.
ASTRONOMY:The sky in Peru doesn't look like it does in Missouri. Fortunately, on www.astronomy.com, you can change your viewing location and the dates—from the future to the past! I was able to check eclipse dates 3,000 years ago, as well as future equinox and new moon dates, using the online Star Dome and Star Atlas.
CRYSTALS: Because they can hold electrical energy and oscillate at a constant and precise frequency, crystals are used today in a mind-boggling variety of devices--radios, microchips, video cameras, radiation detectors, digital watches, high-power semiconductors, and atomic clocks, to name a few. The holographic data storage capability of certain crystals is also being explored.
DNA: Current research points to a "light" component of DNA (biophotons) and DNA replication at a distance. When I envisioned the creation of a double helix that spun light out of darkness to create a Serpent Rope, it was pure imagination, not science. Or so I thought. It turns out there’s a double helix nebula near the center of the Milky Way. "We see two intertwining strands wrapped around each other as in a DNA molecule," said Mark Morris, a UCLA professor of physics and astronomy. "Nobody has ever seen anything like that before in the cosmic realm. Most nebulae are either spiral galaxies full of stars or formless amorphous conglomerations of dust and gas — space weather. What we see indicates a high degree of order."
T.W. Fendley writes historical fantasy and science fiction with a Mesoamerican twist for adults and young adults. Her debut historical fantasy novel, ZERO TIME, was voted Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel in the 2011 P&E Readers Poll. Her short stories took second place in the 2011 Writers' Digest Horror Competition and won the 9th NASFiC 2007 contest. Teresa belongs to the St. Louis Writer's Guild, the Missouri Writers' Guild, SCBWI and Broad Universe.
As Zero Time nears, only Keihla Benton can save two worlds from the powers of Darkness. But first she must unlock the secrets of Machu Picchu and her own past.
When Philadelphia science writer Keihla Benton joins an archeological team at Machu Picchu, she learns the Andean prophesies about 2012 have special meaning for her. Only she can end the cycle of Darkness that endangers Earth at the end of the Mayan calendar. As she uncovers secrets from the past, which threaten her life and those she loves, Keihla struggles to keep the powerful Great Crystal from the Lord of Darkness and his consort.
Xmucane leads an expedition to Earth to overcome a genetic flaw that threatens the people of Omeyocan with extinction, but she soon finds herself involved in a very personal battle that pits mother against daughter and sister against sister. With the help of the time-traveling Great Serpent Quetzalcoatl, she leaves the Southern Temples to arrive in present-day Machu Picchu as the expedition’s time-window closes.
Xmucane and Keihla work together as Earth and Omeyocan near alignment with the galaxy’s dark heart for the first time in 26,000 years. They must seize the last chance to restore the cycle of Light to Earth and return to the Pleiades with a cure, no matter what the cost to their hearts.
- Barnes and Noble,
- Main Street Books (St. Charles, Mo.)
- Garden District Book Shop (New Orleans)
- Octavia Books (New Orleans)
The ZERO TIME 2012 Virtual Book Tour Party is here!
To celebrate, T.W. Fendley is giving away a Maya-Aztec astrology report, a Mayan Winds CD, ZERO TIME tote bag and fun 188.8.131.52.0. buttons. Check out the prizes and other posts on the Party Page.3 ways to enter (multiple entries are great!)
1) Leave a comment here or on any of the other PARTY POSTS listed on the Party Page.
2) Tweet about the Virtual Party or any of the PARTY POSTS (with tag #ZEROTIME2012)
Example: Join the Virtual Party for historical #fantasy novel ZERO TIME by @twfendley for a chance to win prizes! #ZEROTIME2012 http://bit.ly/x91NgP
3) Facebook (tag @T.W. Fendley) about the Virtual Party. (NOTE: tag must have periods to work)
Example: Join the Virtual Party for historical fantasy novel ZERO TIME by @T.W. Fendley for a chance to win prizes! http://twfendley.com/?page_id=510