Great Sci-Fi, Wrong Future – WIF Bookshelf

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These Science Fiction

Novels Got the Science

Very, Very Wrong

Science fiction author Ray Bradbury said, “Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas[.]” He may have been biased, but he wasn’t incorrect. There are two genres of science fiction. Hard science fiction is usually scientifically rigorous, while soft science fiction uses elements of sociology, anthropology, and psychology. World building in science fiction is often creative, but  it doesn’t always reveal humankind’s future. Here are 10 inaccuracies found in science fiction.

10. Time for the Stars by Robert A. Heinlein

Concept: Relativity

Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity says time is relative, and one’s perception of time varies based on how quickly one is moving. Since general relativity and special relativity are theories, their applications are less concrete than the uses for technology in some science fiction on this list. We use special relativity to explain why astronauts living in space are moving more quickly — and aging more slowly — than people on Earth. Special relativity is important to the plot of Robert A. Heinlein’s 1956 novel Time for the Stars. Heinlein also uses the Twin Paradox as a plot device.

The Twin Paradox is a thought experiment that is only made possible because of the theory of special relativity. Imagine two identical twins. One remains on Earth, while the other travels to a star six light years away using a rocket that travels at six times the speed of light. Before the traveling twin leaves Earth, both twins reset their watches to zero. When the traveling twin reaches the star, her watch says eight years have passed. When the twin on Earth reads her watch, she will find 16 years have passed by the time the traveling twin reaches the star. From the perspective of the twin on Earth, the traveling twin’s rocket takes 10 years to reach the star. The light that will show the traveling twin at the star will take an additional six years to return to Earth, making the trip to the star take 16 years. To the traveler, whose rocket moves at six times the speed of light, the star she is traveling to, which seems six light years away to her twin sister on Earth, is only 4.8 light years away. It takes another 4.8 years for light to travel from Earth to her rocket, so she perceives the trip as taking roughly eight years.

Robert A. Heinlein is respected as a gifted science fiction writer. He was named the first Science Fiction Writers Grand Master in 1974. He also pursued graduate degrees in physics and mathematics at UCLA. Because of his scientific knowledge, his explanations of special relativity and the Twin Paradox are mostly correct. He applies the theories correctly, with one minor inaccuracy. In his novel, the traveling twin and the twin on Earth are communicating in real time via intercom. Once the traveling twin is moving at the speed of light, he hears the twin on Earth as though he is speaking more slowly. By contrast, the twin on Earth hears the traveling twin as though he is speaking more quickly. In fact, each twin would only be conscious of his own perception of time.

9. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Concept: Colonizing Mars

In Ray Bradbury’s 1950 collection of vignettes, humans have successfully colonized Mars. Bradbury explores which impulses, noble and ignoble, humans obey regardless of which planet they’re inhabiting. As of 2019, NASA is still planning to send astronauts to Mars. The topographical features that led Bradbury and other science fiction writers to imagine it might be possible to colonize Mars by the mid-20th century, though, have been revealed to be misleading.

By 1960, astronomer Carl Sagan had discovered that Mars is consistently freezing due to its lack of atmosphere, and the canals on Mars were not, as had previously been hypothesized, former waterways.

8. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Concept: Reanimating Dinosaurs

Unlike the saddled dinosaurs calmly coexisting with humans in the Creation Museum’s exhibits, the destructive dinosaurs in Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel are a cautionary tale for humans. A course of action made possible by scientific advancement isn’t necessarily a wise one. However, despite the intricately detailed scientific plot of the novel, resurrecting dinosaurs isn’t possible.

The science of paleontology dates from the 19th century, and dinosaur footprints and fossils have consistently been recognized as historically important. To resurrect dinosaurs, though, paleontologists would need viable dinosaur DNA in order to reassemble dinosaurs’ genetic codes. Dinosaurs dominated the Earth roughly 66 million years ago. Even if their DNA was found, it would be too decayed to be useful in reassembling a genetic code. That’s good news for anyone getting tired of holding onto their butt.

7. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Concept: Reanimating Humans

Defibrillators can be used to revive someone who has gone into sudden cardiac arrest. However, it’s impossible to revive someone who has already been hanged, like the scientist Victor Frankenstein does in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel. During the 19th century, there was scientific research that seemed to support the possibility that corpses could be revived through the use of electricity. In 1781, a surgeon, Luigi Galvani, dissected a frog while standing near a static electricity machine. When an assistant touched a nerve in the frog’s leg with a scalpel, the frog’s leg spasmed. Galvani built a bronze and iron arc, and he attached the frog’s leg and the static electricity machine to it. The frog’s leg twitched whenever it touched the metal. Galvani formed a hypothesis: he believed the frog possessed what Galvani called animal electricity. The bimetallic arc conducted the animal electricity to the frog’s nerve, making its leg twitch. The plot of Shelley’s novel is an exploration of what might be possible if humans, too, possessed animal electricity.

After reading Galvani’s work, physicist Alessandro Volta replicated Galvani’s experiment. He observed the same result, but he reached a very different conclusion. His hypothesis, which we now know to be accurate, was that the metal was acting as a conductor for the electric current from the static electricity machine. When the current touched the frog’s leg, the frog’s leg twitched.

6. Never Let You Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Concept: Human Cloning

Jodi Picoult’s 2003 book My Sister’s Keeper explores the question of whether it’s morally defensible to expect one sibling to become an organ donor for another. In Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel, organ donation is a social requirement. Human clones are created solely to become organ donors. There are many science fiction novels featuring human clones. While the question of how humans determine quality of life will always be a valid one, human cloning isn’t currently possible. Further, there is no way to guarantee that a clone will be as healthy as the animal from whose cells the clone was created.

In 1996, Dolly, a sheep, became the first successfully cloned mammal. The average lifespan of a sheep is 12 years, but Dolly was euthanized in 2002. At six-and-a-half years old, she had already developed a progressive lung disease. She also had shorter telomeres than other sheep of a comparable age. Telomeres are pieces of DNA that protect the ends of chromosomes. Since telomeres shorten as cells divide, they are considered an indication of an animal’s age. Based on Dolly’s lung disease and the length of her telomeres, scientists speculate that she was actually born six years old, the same age as that of the sheep from which she was cloned.

5. Babylon Babies by Maurice Dantec

Concept: Designer Babies

In Maurice Dantec’s 1999 novel, a woman is carrying genetically modified twins whose birth might forever change the human race. Unlike most of the scientific advancements on this list, this one isn’t currently impossible. In 2018, Chinese researcher Jiankui He created the first babies with artificially increased resistance to HIV. Afterward, the embryos were implanted in the mother’s uterus, and the babies were born healthy.

Technically, these weren’t designer babies, because their parents weren’t selecting particular genes. However, the same gene editing techniques could be used to create designer babies. Gene editing in embryos is permitted in Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, and Sweden. Gene editing is scientifically possible, but there’s not international consensus regarding whether it’s ethical. Consistent gene editing could allow certain countries to practice genocide or produce physically and intellectually enhanced soldiers that would give them an advantage during international conflicts.

4. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

Concept: Utopia

Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1979 novel The Dispossessed isn’t the only science fiction novel depicting a utopian future for humankind. Though no author who has imagined the future as a utopia is right (so far), Le Guin’s utopia is unique for two reasons. First, her world has an anarchic planet, Anarres, that’s rich in resources. It’s a colony of an arid planet, Urras. Even in a utopia, inhabitants of Anarres are deprived of their own natural resources. Second, the novel’s protagonist, Shevek, fares better than his real world model. Shevek was modeled on a family friend of Le Guin’s, J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Shevek makes the citizens of Anarres question both the limits of their personal autonomy and the consequences of exercising it. By contrast, Oppenheimer’s expertise made the first atomic explosion possible in 1945. Unfortunately, he was stripped of his job title, chairman of the General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission, when he opposed the United States’ development of a hydrogen bomb. Asking the American government to critique its own use of personal autonomy cost Oppenheimer his professional reputation.

3. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Concept: Time Travel

H.G. Wells’ 1895 novella isn’t the only story involving time travel. However, Wells popularized the idea that humans could invent a machine that makes time travel possible. Technically, time travel exists. As previously mentioned, Einstein’s theory of special relativity says time is relative, and one’s perception of time varies based on how quickly one is moving. Astronauts living in space are moving more quickly than people on Earth. Therefore, an astronaut living in space for a year will age slightly less than people who are living on Earth during that year.

The Large Hadron Collider moves protons at almost the speed of light, essentially propelling them into the future. The kind of time travel that Wells writes about — the kind that’s controlled  by humans and measured based on a Western European perception of time — isn’t possible. In 2015, Ali Razeghi, the managing director of Iran’s Center for Strategic Inventions, claimed he had invented a machine that could accurately predict five to eight years into a person’s future. His claim was debunked when he declined to release the design for his time machine.

2. The Xenu Files by L. Ron HubbarL.Rond

Concept: The Origin Of Humanity

Unlike most of the entries on this list, The Xenu Files isn’t a novel. L. Ron Hubbard was a writer of popular science fiction short stories, but he’s most famous for founding the Church of Scientology. Scientologists pay a minimum of a quarter of a million dollars to audit Scientology courses. Once they reach the level of Operating Thetan 3, they are permitted to read the religion’s origin myth. According to the 2015 HBO documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, the origin myth, which was handwritten between 1966 and 1967, is stored at the church’s Advanced Organization Building.

According to Hubbard, Xenu, the dictator of the Galactic Federation, needed to solve his planet’s overpopulation problem. He sent his own subjects to Earth, then called Teegeeack. There, they were strapped to atomic bombs and hurled into volcanoes. The spirits of Xenu’s subjects, called Thetans, cling to contemporary humans. The only way to rid oneself of Thetans is through the Scientologists’ practice of auditing. In auditing, someone talks about events from his or her previous lives while an auditor reads an e-meter (a lie detector). The person’s truthfulness, as determined by the auditor, shows how susceptible the person is to Thetans.

If these religious practices seem like they belong in a science fiction novel, perhaps that’s because science fiction readers were the original intended audience for Hubbard’s ideas. After failing to convince doctors, psychologists, and explorers to integrate his ideas into their professional practices, Hubbard appealed to the science fiction readers who were fans of his work. He and his editor, John W. Campbell, Jr., developed the system of dianetics, a term used to describe the methodology of Scientology. Hubbard’s first article about dianetics appeared in a 1950 issue of the magazine Astounding. Campbell, who owned the magazine, primarily published science fiction short stories, including Hubbard’s. Later, Hubbard used one of his science fiction short stories, “Masters of Sleep,” as a prolonged advertisement for dianetics. In his 2012 post for The Village Voice, Tony Ortega says Scientologists might be more susceptible to Hubbard’s origin story in The Xenu Files because many of them have vividly experienced past lives during auditing. For Hubbard’s early readers, the process was much simpler. They encountered information about dianetics in the same magazine that had published Hubbard’s science fiction.

1. The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle

Concept: The Future

Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, isn’t noteworthy because her book contains prescient predictions. The North Pole isn’t a portal to another planet. We haven’t discovered a planet that we can verify is lit by the brightest stars ever created. No human has been transported to another planet, then declared war against her own home planet (unless alien victors have compromised our collective memory of the event).

No, Cavendish isn’t noteworthy because of how she envisioned the future. She’s noteworthy because of when she did it. Written in 1666, The Blazing World is widely regarded as the first science fiction novel. A respected poet, playwright, biographer, and essayist in her own time, Cavendish also created a genre. As Bronwyn Lovell says in her 2016 article for The Conversation, “Science Fiction’s Woman Problem,” science fiction is still a male-dominated genre. Still, Cavendish ensured a future for female writers by creating a space for them.


Great Sci-Fi, Wrong Future

WIF Bookshelf


The NULL Solution = Episode 17

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The NULL Solution = Episode 17

…The McKinney contingent is/has contracted the prevailing paranoia that is gripping the region and the moment…

The Paranoia is Real – by eddiebadapples

Whether Seljuk eyes are peeled or not, 4/5th{s} of the Space Family McKinney {with an Eridanian princess sprinkled in} is cruising into their neighborhood.

“There are signs that something wicked this-way-came.” Sampson is a Ray Bradbury devotee and it occasionally bleeds into his speech.

“We have entered Seljuk territory. Their outposts have been rendered useless,” Cerella expresses concern.

“And what is that gleaming very, very large object off in the distance?” is Deke’s remote observation. “At 3° port, 250K out… oh, never mind, whatever I saw is not there now.”

“Who or whatever did this, knew what they were doing,” Cerella adds.

Without expectation or invitation, the natives in this nape of the neck reach out to the occupants of the Eridanian Defender. It must drop out of TSF in order to align the two timestems thereby allowing real-time communication.

The message they are receiving? “COME TO THE HOMEWORLD AND SHUT DOWN”

Once again, there are no buts about it.

“We must allow them to take control. The Seljuk can be trusted. We came here to get answers, not the reverse.”Related image

The McKinney contingent is/has contracted the prevailing paranoia that is gripping the region and the moment. “We are completely disengaged, but we don’t like it.”

Like a fish on a nylon line, Defender is being reeled in to the biggest planet in a group of twenty, most following each other in orbit, but none closer than 50 million miles from their yellow giant furnace. Like a cosmic carousel, so spread out are they that their collective gravitational pull offset each other.

“It appears we’re about to hop onto this train.”

Like interstellar hobos.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 17


page 22

Theories About the Universe – WIF Space

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Mind-Blowing Theories

About the Universe

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As we mentioned in our first list about mind bending theories about the universe, the universe is a vast and mysterious place. For centuries, people have looked out into space and tried to explain why we’re here and where we came from. While it may take even more centuries before any of those questions are answered, it doesn’t mean scientists don’t have any theories.

We should also point out that these are just theories, so at times, some theories may not align with each other, or even contradict each other.

10. Why is Dark Matter so Hard to Detect?

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Throughout this list, we will talk about something called dark matter. Dark matter makes up about 27 percent of the universe and about 83 percent of all matter. It is invisible because light doesn’t bounce off of it and it has a gravitational pull on regular matter, meaning it affects the movements of galaxies and galactic clusters. While it does have a gravitational effect, dark matter can pass through regular matter almost undetected. For all of these reasons, dark matter hasn’t been detected yet, but physicists are sure it exists.

One question is: why is it so hard to detect dark matter in Earth-based experiments? One possible answer comes from a group of particle physicists called Lattice Strong Dynamics Collaboration. In their simulation, they found that dark matter might have noticeable interactions with ordinary matter if they are both in conditions that are similar to the start of the universe, which is extremely high-temperature plasma. If their simulation is true, that means in the early days of the universe, dark matter might have been observable.

The good news is that these types of conditions can now be recreated in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Researchers are awaiting a chance to test the theory and for the first time, dark matter could be detected. If their theory is correct, it would suggest that before the universe cooled, there was a type of balancing act between matter and dark matter before they spread across the universe.

9. Dark Matter Killed the Dinosaurs

An asteroid is the most likely culprit for what killed the dinosaurs. However, what really kicked off the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction 66 million years ago is still debated. A very far out and cosmic theory comes from physicist Lisa Randall is that it was an impact event that was caused by dark matter.

The basis of the theory goes back to the 1980s, when paleontologists David Raup and Jack Sepkoski found evidence that every 26 million years since the Great Dying of the Permian-Triassic, (which happened about 252 million years ago and 96 percent of life was wiped out), there has been a great mass extinction. Upon further research, going back a half a billion years ago, it appears that Earth suffered some type of cataclysmic event approximately every 30 million years, give or take a few million years.

However, scientists have never really sure why cataclysmic events would happen on a timetable like that. Randall’s theory is that dark matter is involved. Dark matter is believed to be scattered throughout the universe and it is used as scaffolding on which galaxies, including our home the Milky Way, are built. As our solar system rotates around the Milky Way, it “floats” and at times, it bobs like a cork in the water. And this bob happens about every 30 million years.

When we bob, our solar system may encounter a disk of dark matter. The disk would need to be one-tenth the thickness of the Milky Way’s visible disk of stars, and have a density of at least one solar mass per square light-year.

Matter and dark matter can pass through each other, but dark matter can affect regular matter through gravity. The result is that when some matter floating in space comes into contact with dark matter, it could send things flying throughout the universe, which ultimately hit Earth.

If Randall’s theory is true, dark matter could be responsible for major parts of the formation of the universe.

8. Life Spread Across the Universe Like an Epidemic

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When talking about the universe, there’s one question that always pops up: is there intelligent life other than our own? Or are we just alone here? Well, scientists wonder about this too, and currently they are looking at how life, including our own, came into existence.

According to a research paper from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the most logical answer is that life spread from star to star, like an epidemic. The concept that life spread from planet to planet and star to star is called panspermia, and of course, if you’ve seen Prometheus, that concept is a major plot point.

If life passed from star to star, that means that the Milky Way could be full of pockets of life. If the theory is correct, then it is possible that other planets in the Milky Way may host life as well.

Another interesting thing they found in their calculations is that life could be spread by microscopic organisms that hitched a ride on an asteroid, or it even could have been spread by an intelligent being or beings.

7. Why is the Universe Made of Matter?

Matter is everything that takes up space and has weight, and the opposite of matter is called anti-matter. When matter and anti-matter touch, they annihilate each other, which is exactly what happened at the start of the universe and helped drive its expansion. At the beginning of the universe, there should have been an equal amount of matter and anti-matter. However, if there was an equal amount of both matter and anti-matter, they would have canceled each other and the universe would have ceased to exist. This has led physicists to believe that there was slightly more matter than anti-matter. An amount as small as an extra particle of matter for every 10 billion antimatter particles would have been enough for matter to spread out across the universe.

The problem was that while physicists knew that there was more matter, they didn’t know why. That was until 2008, when researchers at the University of Chicago were observing subatomic particles that lived very short lives called B mesons. The researchers, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery, found that that B mesons and anti-B mesons decay differently from one another. This means that it is possible that after the annihilations in the start of the universe, the B mesons and anti-B mesons decayed differently, leaving enough matter behind to create all the stars, planets, and even you and everything you touch, including the air you breathe.

6. Disorder Made Life Possible

Entropy essentially measures the amount of disorder in a system. If something is high in entropy that means there is more disorder, and low entropy means there is more organization. An example to visualize this is with Legos. A Lego house would have low entropy and a box of random, disconnected pieces would have high entropy.

What’s interesting is that entropy may be the reason that life exists in the first place, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you take a look at the complexity of something like the human brain, which is the pinnacle of order.

 Nevertheless, according to a theory by assistant MIT professor Jeremy England, higher entropy may be responsible for life in the universe. England says that, under ideal conditions, a random group of molecules can self-organize themselves to efficiently use more energy in their environment. How entropy plays into this is when energy is added to a system. The molecules jump and bounce off each other. If a few were to clump together, and energy was used more efficiently, it would continue to hold together, collecting more molecules, until eventually enough molecules clump together to become a life form. However, if there wasn’t a high entropy state, the molecules would have never been bouncing off each other. Therefore they would have never clumped together and brought about life.

This theory still has a lot of testing to go through. However, if England is correct, then an expert suggested that his name would be remembered the same way we remember Charles Darwin.

5. The Universe Has No Beginning

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The prevailing theory of the start of our universe is that over 13.8 billion years ago, from a point of singularity, the Big Bang gave birth to the universe and it has been expanding ever since.

The Big Bang was first theorized in 1927 and the model is based on Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The problem is that there are some holes in Einstein’s theory; mainly that the laws of physics break before reaching singularity. Another big problem is that the other dominant theory in physics, quantum mechanics, doesn’t reconcile with general relativity. Also, neither relativity nor quantum mechanics explain or account for dark matter. This means that although the Big Bang is one of the best theories about how the universe started, it may not be correct.

An alternative theory is that the universe was never at the point of singularity and there was no Big Bang. Instead, the universe is infinite and doesn’t have a beginning or an end. The researchers arrived at this theory by applying quantum correction terms to Einstein’s theory of general relativity using an older model of interpreting quantum mechanics called Bohmian Mechanics. And no, we’re not exactly sure what that means, but good for them.

Their method of testing the theory will also help account for dark matter. If their theory is correct that the universe is infinite, it would mean that the universe has pockets of a superfluid filled with theoretical particles, like gravitons and axioms. If the superfluid matches the distribution of dark matter, then it’s possible that the universe is infinite.

4. The Universe Should Have Never Existed

Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury once wrote, “We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.” And according to a model based on the Higgs boson particle from King’s College London suggests he couldn’t have been more right, because the universe shouldn’t exist.

The problem is that 10-36 seconds after the Big Bang to sometime between 10-33 and 10-32 seconds, the universe underwent something called cosmic inflation, which was a rapid expansion of the universe. If that is true, the inflation would have caused quantum fluctuations, or jolts, in the energy field. These jolts would have been so strong that they would have pushed the universe out of the Higgs field, which is responsible for giving particles its mass, and the universe would cease to exist. Of course, since you’re reading this, you know that this model isn’t correct. So why does the universe exist when it shouldn’t?

One possibility is that the findings are wrong. Another is that there may be some new physics or particles that have yet to be discovered. However, until we figure it out, we should just feel lucky to be here when we theoretically shouldn’t.

3. The Universe Started Off One Dimensional

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A commonly held belief about the universe is that the Big Bang was an exploding sphere, but another theory posits that for the first thousand-trillionth of a second of the Big Bang, it was actually a one dimensional line. Energy would race back and forth before creating a fabric, which is the second dimension. Then it morphed into three dimensions, which is the world we see.

If the model is correct, it would help address a few problems with the standard model of particle physics, such as the incompatibility between quantum mechanics and general relativity, and cosmic inflation. However, if this theory is true, it would only lead to more mysteries, like what mechanisms were used to make the universe morph into the different dimensions?

2. How Many Dimensions Are There?

In the last entry, we talked about how the universe may have evolved into three-dimensions; however there are many more dimensions than that. According to Superstring Theory, there are at least 10.

Here is how it works: the first dimension is just a single line, the second dimension is height, the third is depth, and fourth is duration. Where it starts to get a little bit weird is dimension five. That is where the multiverse theory comes into play. In the fifth dimension there is a universe that is very much like our own and we would be able to measure similarities and differences. The sixth dimension is a plane where there are parallel universes with all the same starting conditions, so if our universe started with the Big Bang, so did theirs. The seventh dimension is a plane full of worlds with different starting conditions.

Now, if all that wasn’t confusing enough, the eighth dimension is where things start to get really complicated and humans have problems understanding it. Basically, the eighth dimension is all possible worlds, all with different starting conditions, and they branch out infinitely. Of course, things only get more brain melting from there. In the ninth dimension, there are all possible universes that start with different initial conditions and the laws of physics of these universes can be completely different. In the 10th and final dimension anything is possible, and that is just something humans cannot even fathom.

1. We’re Living in the Distant Past of a Parallel Universe

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The term “time’s arrow” was first introduced in 1927 and it aptly describes the flow of time. Humans perceive it as always going forward and it also obeys the second law of thermodynamics so entropy always increases; eggs are cracked and scrambled and they never unscramble and reform inside the shell.

The problem is that if time only goes forward, many of the best equations about how the universe works, like James Clerk Maxwell’s theory of electrodynamics, Isaac Newton’s law of universal gravitation, Einstein’s special and general relativity or quantum mechanics, would be incorrect. However, if time ran forwards and backwards, then they would all work perfectly. One way that this is possible is that at the Big Bang, two parallel universes were started. One where time moves forward, and a parallel one where time flows backwards.

The reasoning is that, if entropy increases in our universe, then when the universe started, it would have begun in a low-entropy and highly ordered state. That could be the end of another universe. That universe would start at the end and time would flow backwards, while ours flows forward.

If we could see the other universe, we would see time going backwards and we would probably see into the future of our universe (presuming that we’re not past the middle age of the universe) and we’d be living in the parallel universe’s distant past. That is, of course, if we’re not the reality that is living in reverse and don’t realize it.


Theories About the Universe

WIF Space-001

– WIF Space

Ray Bradbury – Forward Thinker, Mind Tinkerer

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Ray Bradbury Quotes

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“I don’t talk things, sir. I talk the meaning of things.”
― Ray Bradbury

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
― Ray Bradbury

“Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.”
― Ray Bradbury

“Anything you dream is fiction, and anything you accomplish is science, the whole history of mankind is nothing but science fiction.”
― Ray Bradbury

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“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”
― Ray Bradbury

“The minute you get a religion you stop thinking. Believe in one thing too much and you have no room for new ideas.”
― Ray Bradbury

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
― Ray Bradbury

“Why is it,” he said, one time, at the subway entrance, “I feel I’ve known you so many years?”
“Because I like you,” she said, “and I don’t want anything from you.”
― Ray Bradbury

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
― Ray Bradbury

“Some people turn sad awfully young. No special reason, it seems, but they seem almost to be born that way. They bruise easier, tire faster, cry quicker, remember longer and, as I say, get sadder younger than anyone else in the world. I know, for I’m one of them.”
Ray Bradbury

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“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”
― Ray Bradbury

“I’m seventeen and I’m crazy. My uncle says the two always go together. When people ask your age, he said, always say seventeen and insane.”
― Ray Bradbury

“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
― Ray Bradbury

“There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.”
― Ray Bradbury

“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”
― Ray Bradbury

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
― Ray Bradbury

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“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”
― Ray Bradbury

“A good night sleep, or a ten minute bawl, or a pint of chocolate ice cream, or all three together, is good medicine.”
― Ray Bradbury

“If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”
― Ray Bradbury

“So few want to be rebels anymore. And out of those few, most, like myself, scare easily.”
― Ray Bradbury

“If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: “It’s gonna go wrong.” Or “She’s going to hurt me.” Or,”I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore . . .” Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.”
― Ray Bradbury

“Oh God, the terrible tyranny of the majority. We all have our harps to play. And it’s up to you to know with which ear you’ll listen.”
― Ray Bradbury

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“With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.”
― Ray Bradbury

“I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.”
― Ray Bradbury

“Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”
― Ray Bradbury

“You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.”
― Ray Bradbury

“Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.”
― Ray Bradbury

“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”
― Ray Bradbury

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t “try” to do things. You simply “must” do things.”
― Ray Bradbury

“We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.”
― Ray Bradbury

“Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were heading for shore.”
― Ray Bradbury

Image result for ray bradbury art“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”
― Ray Bradbury

“It was a pleasure to burn.”
― Ray Bradbury

“Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.”
― Ray Bradbury

“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.”
― Ray Bradbury

“The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”
― Ray Bradbury

“First you jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.”
― Ray Bradbury

“There’s no use going to school unless your final destination is the library.”
― Ray Bradbury

“I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can’t really put a book on the Internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the Net, and I said, ‘If you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell, then we’ll talk.’ All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don’t want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket.”
― Ray Bradbury

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“I have two rules in life – to hell with it, whatever it is, and get your work done.”
― Ray Bradbury

“A book is a loaded gun in the house next door…Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?”
― Ray Bradbury

“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.”
― Ray Bradbury

“It doesn’t matter what you do…so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.”
― Ray Bradbury


Ray Bradbury

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– Forward Thinker, Mind Tinkerer

Science Fiction Love Affair

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 … You Never Knew About

Famous Sci-Fi Authors

 10. William Gibson Doesn’t Care About Technology

ROME - MAY 26: U.S. Author William Gibson attends the 7th editition of the Festival of Literature at Literature House on May 26, 2007 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Elisabetta A. Villa/WireImage)

Anyone familiar with cyberpunk would recognize the name of William Gibson. He invented the genre with his 1984 novel Neuromancer, which paved the way for movies like The Matrix. In fact, the Wachowskis borrowed the term “matrix” from him. One would think that a literary pioneer would be attracted to technological advancements and be an early adopter of new gadgets.

But while Gibson is intrigued by the way technology shapes humanity and society, the technology itself doesn’t interest him. He said that even as a boy he was never into the idea of robots. Back in 2010 he was still sending out faxes. Despite the fact that many sci-fi fans consider him the literary godfather of cyberspace, he’s never been interested in computers as technological objects. He’s claimed that his favorite technology is the latest word processing software, and he was very slow to adopt e-mail and the Internet.

9. Michael Crichton’s First Love was Medicine

Michael Crichton, author of ``Next,'' a novel about the high-stakes world of genetics speaks at the National Press Club where he was presented the NPC mug which he shares in common with Angelina Jolie, Richard Dreyfus and Joan Collins Washington DC, USA - 28.11.06 Credit: Carrie Devorah / WENN

Everyone knows Michael Crichton as the author of science-driven novels likeJurassic Park and Congo, which were turned into blockbuster movies. But most forget that he was behind the creation of ER, one of the top medical dramas of all time. In fact, he had been shopping the idea of a medical drama to TV studios since the 1970s. After directing Westworld, he wrote a documentary-style movie about how things really go down in an emergency room. Since the idea of realism in TV dramas was ahead of its time, he had to shelve the concept until the 1990s, when he and Spielberg came together to produce ER.

When Crichton was in medical school he wrote a different type of work featuring medicine. Novels such as Drug of Choice and Zero Cool focused on doctors and scientists put into spectacular mystery situations. Although firmly based on scientific principles, they featured a pulp sensibility lacking in his later works. Publishers have re-released these James Bond-type works following his passing.

8. Frank Herbert Disliked Homosexuality

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The relationship between Dune author Frank Herbert and his son Bruce was a difficult one growing up. It became even more difficult when Bruce started living in a drug house and began dating men in the 1970s.

If you’ve read the Dune series, you have a sense of Frank Herbert’s view of homosexuality. In the first novel, Baron Harkonnen is a loathsome ephebophile with sadistic tastes. In God Emperor of Dune and Heretics of Dune, he negatively described homosexual forces at work in fictional armies. To him, such behavior was unseemly and immature.

Despite the tension that occurred for years between Frank and Bruce, they reconciled enough that Bruce and his then-boyfriend showed up at the Dunefilm premiere in 1984, a little over a year before Frank Herbert’s death in 1986.

7. Philip K. Dick was Pro-life

Philip K Dick

Philip K. Dick never liked abortion. In 1961, his then-wife Anne terminated her pregnancy because she had just had their daughter Laura. Although he begged her not to go through with the procedure, she believed she couldn’t raise two small children at the same time, especially with Dick’s constant money troubles. His anger at the situation shows in his then-unpublished novel, The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike, where he modeled the couple on his own family.

He was also furious when he heard the result of Roe v. Wade. To vent his feelings, he wrote the short story “The Pre-Persons.” In it, the government doesn’t consider a person a legal entity until the age of 12. In order for the country to consider someone a person, they must learn certain tasks like algebra. It ends in a twist when the father, who was considering giving his son to the abortion truck, offers himself up as he has forgotten algebra even though he once was a math professor. Dick received a lot of hate mail, but said that his beliefs on the matter were firm. In fact, he donated money to a pro-life group despite the fact that he lived in poverty until his death.

6. Marion Zimmer Bradley was Complicit in Child Abuse

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Bradley’s most famous work, The Mists of Avalon, was particularly popular among feminists, who loved that she took on the legends of King Arthur from the female characters’ perspectives. A hit miniseries was even based on the work. But when she died in 1999, revelations revolving her relationship with ex-husband Walter Breen burst forth.

In the sci-fi community, it was common knowledge that Breen was a child molester. The law had charged him twice, with the second conviction sending him to prison. However, it wasn’t known that Bradley had been subject of a civil lawsuit. It was believed that she had helped him procure young girls or turned a blind eye to his abuse, which also occurred against Bradley’s daughter, Moira Greyland.

Then another bombshell dropped in 2014. Greyland said that not only had her mother been complicit in the abuse, but she had participated as well, abusing her from the age of three to 12. She described her mother as violent and cruel. This probably shouldn’t have surprised Bradley’s associates, as in her 1998 disposition on the Breen case she stated that she believed young teens should be able to have sex with adults.

5. Ray Bradbury Became a Staunch Conservative

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When Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451, he was concerned about government censorship. Looking at the examples of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, he was worried about a totalitarian spirit surfacing in the United States. However, another major theme is political correctness and mass media swallowing up the pleasures of critical reading. In the novel, the public abandons reading because it’s too difficult, and because different groups view certain books as too offensive. By the time of his death, Bradbury argued that this was the principal theme of the novel.

His political beliefs changed over the years, particularly during the tumultuous 1960s. His parents raised him as a staunch Democrat, but after becoming disgusted with the foreign policy of Lyndon Johnson he voted Republican in 1968. Although he registered as an independent, he voted for the Republicans in every election with the exception of Carter in 1976. Shortly before his death he began supporting the Tea Party movement, saying “There is too much government today.”

4. Dr. Jerry Pournelle Is Buddies With Newt Gingrich

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If you’ve followed Newt Gingrich’s political career, you’d recognize that space exploration has a special place in his heart. During the 2012 Republican primaries he talked about a moon base. In his second term in the House of Representatives he proposed the NASA Policy Act of 1981, which offered a pathway for statehood for a potential American moon colony. Later, he proposed taking away farm subsidies and using those taxes to invest in space travel. Gingrich claimed that the works of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke showed him the possibilities of space exploration. However, he also received direct advice from a modern titan of science fiction.

Since the 1980s, Jerry Pournelle has served as an advisor on Gingrich’s scientific proposals. When Gingrich published his first book, Window of Opportunity: A Blueprint for the Future, he consulted Pournelle about the possibility of climate manipulation from the moon and space tourism. Pournelle is the first name in the list of acknowledgements. Gingrich even hired Pournelle’s son as a congressional staffer.

3. Robert A. Heinlein Hated Bigotry

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If you came across reviews of Heinlein’s work, you’d assume that Heinlein was a racist, misogynist, authoritarian. Some think that Starship Troopers lauds fascism. But Heinlein had strong black, Latino, Asian and female protagonists before it was politically correct. How did his personal actions reflect his views?

In 1964, Heinlein supported the candidacy of Barry Goldwater. Heinlein had met and befriended the Senator when Goldwater was visiting Colorado for a hunting trip. Heinlein was impressed that Goldwater had taken the initiative to start hiring African-Americans at his business even though it might upset customers. He also appreciated Goldwater’s efforts to desegregate Sky Harbor Airport. When an associate suggested that African-Americans willing to campaign for Goldwater should form their own committees, Heinlein told the associate that he should treat them equally. Heinlein’s political views are complicated, but his progressive views on race were always clear.

2. A Bunch of Writers Formed a Space Advisory Council

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In 1980, many astrophysicists believed that the incoming Reagan administration would take space policy more seriously than the last. So a group of military personnel, entrepreneurs, scientists and sci-fi writers formed the Citizen’s Advisory Council on National Space Policy, largely under the leadership of Dr. Jerry Pournelle and his frequent co-writer, Larry Niven. Soon, technically proficient science fiction authors packed the meetings: Poul Anderson, Greg Bear, Robert A. Heinlein and prolific publisher Jim Baen joined the meetings, which at times ran up to 90 people.

The group helped formulate policy that defined the 1980s. The Citizen’s Advisory Council provided much of the material that resulted in Reagan’s famous speech that endorsed the proposed Strategic Defense Initiative satellite system. Although the government failed to complete SDI, the threat of it brought the Soviets to the negotiating table.

1. Orson Scott Card Loves Video Games

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Even if you’re not a regular sci-fi reader you’ve likely heard of Card’s Ender’s Game. The story revolves around Ender Wiggin, a young boy who Earth recruits for an ongoing war against aliens. He believes he’s training in a simulation, but in reality he’s sending real troops into the line of fire.

It shouldn’t be surprising that Card has an interest in video games. In aninterview, he mentioned that he had to stop playing Civilization II because it was encroaching on his family life and the time he spent writing. He estimated that there were about 20 novels never written because of his addiction, and he even compared himself to a recovering alcoholic.

Card’s interest in gaming goes back to the early ’80s. When Card took the position of book editor at Compute!, he reviewed games and wrote a column on programming. He followed the progression of the game industry and made contacts with other professionals. George Lucas noticed the success of Ender’s Game, and invited Card to work with LucasFilm games. Card served as a dialogue consultant on The Secret of Monkey Island and The Dig. In recent years, he collaborated with a publisher to produce Advent Rising, a he wanted to bridge the gap between literary storytelling and video game plots.

Science Fiction

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Love Affair

Circus & Carnival

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E.E. Cummings

“Damn everything but the circus!. . .The average ‘painter’ ‘sculptor’ ‘poet’ ‘composer’ ‘playwright’ is a person who cannot leap through a hoop from the back of a galloping horse, make people laugh with a clown’s mouth, orchestrate twenty lions.”

― E.E. Cummings

Erin Morgenstern

“Something about the circus stirs their souls, and they ache for it when it is absent.”

― Erin Morgenstern

Laura Lam

“The circus collects the outsiders like a flame tempts moths.”
― Laura LamPantomime
Ray Bradbury

“So the carnival steams by, shakes ANY tree: it rains jackasses.”
― Ray BradburySomething Wicked This Way Comes

Chaim Potok

“In Russia I went to a great yeshiva, and in America I work in a carnival.”

― Chaim Potok

William Lindsay Gresham

“The speech fascinated him. His ear caught the rhythm of it and he noted their idioms and worked some of them into his patter. He had found the reason behind the peculiar, drawling language of the old carny hands—it was a composite of all the sprawling regions of the country. A language which sounded Southern to Southerners, Western to Westerners. It was the talk of the soil and its drawl covered the agility of the brains that poured it out. It was a soothing, illiterate, earthy language.”
― William Lindsay GreshamNightmare Alley

Circuses & Carnivals

Characters in Fiction

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Henry David Thoreau

“Dreams are the touchstones of our characters.”

― Henry David Thoreau

G.K. Chesterton

“I wish we could sometimes love the characters in real life as we love the characters in romances. There are a great many human souls whom we should accept more kindly, and even appreciate more clearly, if we simply thought of them as people in a story.”
― G.K. ChestertonWhat I Saw in America

John Green

“I don’t know where people got the idea that characters in books are supposed to be likable. Books are not in the business of creating merely likeable characters with whom you can have some simple identification with. Books are in the business of creating great stories that make you’re brain go ahhbdgbdmerhbergurhbudgerbudbaaarr.”
― John Green

Berkeley Breathed

“I will go to my grave in a state of abject endless fascination that we all have the capacity to become emotionally involved with a personality that doesn’t exist.”
― Berkeley Breathed

Shannon Hale

“But, how do you know if an ending is truly good for the characters unless you’ve traveled with them through every page?”

― Shannon HaleMidnight in Austenland

Ray Bradbury

“Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.”

― Ray BradburyZen in the Art of Writing

Characters in Fiction