Thursday, May 30, 2013

Brainstorming Thursday: Intergalactic Travel

So, as part of the whole "Call to Action" drama I instigated over the last couple weeks, I've decided to launch a little post series called... well, called the title you read above.

Enter trumpets and angels and all the other cool celebratory crap....


Oops, sorry, didn't mean to shout. The trumpets died down right as I spoke.

Alrighty, back to reality, or as close to it as I can get -- which isn't very far.

Part of what I love about story research is all the little side trips I get to take. I'll be scouring for an acceptable antidote or medical technology and come across something that triggers another thought or idea entirely.

Let's take Sunday's post for example. On that post, HERE for your convenience, I talked about the speed of the galaxies in the universe and how it'll make a positioning system nearly impossible. Ergo, that means intergalactic travel will be near impossible... at least in my lifetime or several lifetimes.

Source: Nasa Images

But... (enter brainstorming about now) but... what if some crazy scientific kook or kooks just couldn't wait? What if she/they needed, absolutely needed for some reason, to see the neighboring galaxy? And what if it was far enough in the future science had started real/serious intergalactic travel research?

Now there, my geeky friends, is the core of a potential story.

Yeah, the rate of galactic rotations and the fast expansional gaps between galaxies is still the driving barrier for successful intergalactic travel. But, say this group... driven by this woman who has a spiritual reason for needing to venture out... has timed the motion of both the rotation and the expansion to pinpoint when a potential Goldie locks planet in a neighboring galaxy's solar system will be near enough to ours to transport a research vessel via some spacetime manipulation technology?

Maybe there's some belief of this particular planet, solar system and/or galaxy.

Wouldn't it be a gas - partial pun intended - if once they were there, the technology used to get back either malfunctioned or they miscalculated and ended up somewhere else entirely?

Long story short, what would happen if they couldn't get back? You've got, say, a crew of 50 in an unknown galaxy and no way to return home.

Anything could happen from here. They could search out the original planet to get the returning coordinates back on track and something happens along the way. They could find they're at another location with potential for life. Or, even... oh yeah, maybe some other "presence" diverted their trip and brought them to this new point.

Ooh, maybe the spacetime technology has something to do with interconnectining universe filaments. I don't know, that might be taking the brainstorm too far.

"Okay, pull back AR, pull back."

Oh man, this is exciting!

What do you all think would happen once they got there? Or, what do you think her/the groups motivation is? How do you think they ended up in the wrong place? Or, did they end up in the right place and a block of some sort is keeping them from returning?

I love brainstorming. Sometimes it threatens to throw my current WIP off course, but I try to contain it by jotting down the idea and allowing a little exploration into the concept. Then I ruthlessly tuck it away for a future project.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Need a map?

Mix in a little hydrogen, helium and dark matter, let it bake for about 8 billion years until little clumps of self-sustaining galaxies appear.

The "stirring" of a galaxy happens a lot faster and is more streamlined than we ever thought. Instead of necessary "fuel gases" drifting in loose currents to the center of the galaxy as we originally thought, taking 8 billion years give or take a million, those gases speed through filament "rivers", reaching the center in only a billion years.

This explains the fast spin of galaxies, which scientists couldn't previously understand.

Now, why am I sharing this with you? Well, it stemmed from my interest in intergalactic travel and the recent Russian earthquake.

Huh, you ask?

I know on the surface the two don't really pair up, but hang in there, I'm getting to the point. Ride the AR thought process with me.

GPS systems went haywire after Russia's 8.2 earthquake. Sent the world trembling with aftershocks all over this hunk of rock we call home.

Then, this morning I read an article about the newly discovered way galaxies are formed and sustain. Click HERE to read it.

The article was exciting in regards to my opening thought above, but it caused a side thought. Particularly the section that read: "Researchers didn't understand how the outer material could be spinning so fast."

Now, I know I've already covered the obstacles to space travel before, but another insurmountable and disappointing truth hit me. At least undefeatable in my lifetime.

If we are to go intergalactic with our travels, we'll have to master the whole spacetime manipulation thing. I mean, fusion and proton travel methods just aren't going to cut it for intergalactic. Maybe for interstellar, but even that's a serious commitment. At the rate the universe is expanding, and the growing distance between galaxies, we'll never get there.

But, if we master the whole Einstein move and pinch spacetime to accommodate our natural thirst to conquer all known things and places, we'll need a universal GPS system.

WARNING: AR veer-off moment hitting about now...I could name it UPS for Universal Positioning System but then I wouldn't be able to type it without giggling. I mean, I'm sure if we ever get that advanced UPS will be a primary user of the universal GPS system and all, but still, a bit ego-ish to name it after them, right?

But with the rate of expansion between us, and the rate of spin for galaxies, how can we ever manage to maintain a positioning system of that scale. I mean, one Russian earthquake managed to disrupt our measly planetary system.

How will we ever keep up?

If we can't get the spacetime worked out and an efficient, manageable positioning system developed we'll never leave this solar system, let alone the galaxy.

Okay, AR, don't panic. (Like the Hitchhikers reference there?)

We just need to be patient. Every day science is breaking what it knew and learning brand new things all together. No, it won't happen in my lifetime, but maybe in one of my next lifetimes.

Patience, AR, patience.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Plan in Action

Okey dokey, so as an extension of my "call to action" in the previous post, I've empowered my whining into action. You know, the one with tuba player and marching band in it?

Never mind, back to point. Here's my plan, listed in bullets and everything:
  • I've organized the science and technology topics I want to cover and began outlining the articles.
  • I've laid out the SF and SFR books I've read recently and been noting my thoughts on them. I even have some questions I might want to send to them (the authors, not the books) to get some insights. This is a big might as I really am awkward at socializing with fellow writers.I don't quite know why, but I am. I turn into a big lame-o.
  • I've laid out a posting schedule
  • I've slated specific "blog-writing" sessions
Why the last bullet? Well, I started to just puke it out on random and sporadic posts but decided that may be one of the reasons I haven't been successful. I'm an anal business planner by nature, so it goes to reason that I need planning and structure - to a point - in my personal life as well.

This blog is an important part of my world, where I can share my interests and joys, so, ergo, I need to get my shit together.


heehee, like the serious, mature tone of "therefore" just now?

*clears throat*

Anywho, to ensure I'm successful at my little life change here, I'm going to unofficially re-launch my blogging "life" this Sunday, the 26th.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Confession of a Lost Writing Soul

Confession time. Yes, I'll confess... getting ready to confess. It's gonna happen. Right about now.

Okay, okay. I'm getting there. GEEZ!

Here it is. I have no clue what I'm doing anymore and I'm overwhelmed. Drowning doesn't cover it. Not even close.

There, happy now?

My workdays are starting to hit 9 and sometimes 10 hours a day. Of course, mommy and wifey time takes up most of the remaining hours. And then there's reading.

What's left is for writing. I mean, I am a writer after all. I'm published and everything.

But, that means less promotion time for those published babies of mine, and less time for the more fun side of talking up fellow author's books I read. (There are so many SFR and SF books I've read lately that I want to shout out to you all about on my FB fan page.)

And my geek fests! Oh, how I've missed my geek outs! There's a list a mile long with topics and science "stuff" I want to check out, look into and blog about to get your opinions.

I've made sure not to impact my family/friend time. I've done this by dedicating those peak hours to them, which means my work day splits, 7 or 8 am to 5 pm and then 8 pm to 9 or 10 pm. That there, folks, is the me time I've sacrificed, and it is time I took some of it back.

I have a plan...

(Boy, isn't that usually the thing people say before absolute disaster befalls them?)

Whatever, I'll risk it. I have a plan. It is time reclaim some of it and pull back on the work hours I've been slating.

I mean, what achievements will I be most proud of when I'm 80, after all? Will it be the hours of personal and family time I gave up on projects quickly forgotten as the next five pop up? Will those lost hours make me most proud when I look back on my life?

Or will it be the stories I wrote, characters I created and mental space journeys I took?  Or the other authors and great books I read and promoted? How about the science I learned and discussed with friends?

I think those things will make for better geriatric memories, if I don't come down with Alzheimer, that is. So my plan is simple:
Workday ends at end of work day. 8 pm to 10 or 11 (or even midnight on) is my time. The time for me, my characters, and my fellow writers. The time for my science and technology wandering and musing.

For my moonlighting gig as a writer. As author A. R. Norris, aka the SF geek and former marching band tuba player.
That is my call to action.

(Heehee. Betcha never read a call to action that included "former marching band tuba player" in it, have ya?)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Aren't I just a cliche...

Currently, I sit at my kitchen table leaning over my iPad typing furiously. It's manic at this point, and a wee bit unfocused. Meaning that it's not on anything tied to a deadline.

Only moments from now the clock will strike the ominous midnight. Admittedly, midnight is not as ominous at 3 am... the witching hour. The remaining hope my chicken heart has now is that I will be fast asleep before that hour hits, or else I'm screwed, I'm sure.

In hindsight -- it's always in looking back that the obvious is, well, obvious -- I should have seen this incident coming. Woke up thirty minutes late, rushed family through morning routine and barely got my coffee in time for first teleconference of the morning.

Felt a little dizzy but pushed through until meeting with one of my long time mentors where I nearly fainted in front of her. Working at a hospital, she properly diagnosed me with not only the need to see my physician but also as being a jackass for not keeping up on my post cancer monitoring.

Being the childish creature I am, I went to my primary instead of my oncologist where I learned I was merely having a reaction to my allergies, which had compounded my post cancer symptoms. Felt righteous until my primary doc confirmed my mentor's diagnosis of being a jackass.

From there is was home with treatment to stem the waves of my new dizzy world. I promptly took my dose of medicine and entered the world of the dead... or at least the temporary world of the comatose.

Long story short (a phrase which I never got, because it's really short story long), here I am at *gasp* two minutes to midnight unable to sleep because I took a 4 hour round trip to Comaville.

Oh, I promise you, I tried to go to bed, but then nature tantalized my writerly side by bringing this magnificent wind. I lay in bed listening to it and drifting off into the icy, crevice-filled planes of Europa with the majestic Jupiter dominating the horizon.

Then I was on the beach; my favorite beach.  That sound called to me before I'd ever stepped foot in California. Once my bare toes sunk into the sand, I knew I was home. Funny how sometimes home isn't where you were born and sometimes where you've never been.

So, anywho, as I mentally shifted to the beach, this thought whispered in my mind:

"The wind blew as waves rolling eternally, never reaching shore. There was something sad and forlorn about that reality, for it is the wave's destiny to break along the shoreline, dissolve back into the vastness of its home and be reborn. Possibly into a mighty storm."

I lay there for minutes trying to ignore it but found myself writing it down in my bedside notebook with a mechanical pencil almost out of lead. And only a quarter hour after that, I sat at my kitchen table writing.

I know, I know, the whole experience is all very cliche. I guess cliches sometimes are cliches for a reason.

See you all tomorrow. I'll either be dead on my feet or over-wired from coffee ODing.