Expect updates to follow this basic pattern of only occurring on weekends. So, I’ve been thinking about my NNWM plot for a while now, and I’ve realized that (with aid from nightly reading from the awesomely awesome book The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene) having a point of negative mass has far more severe repercussions than holding asteroids apart. For one thing, a particle with a negative mass will have the capacity to actually travel faster than the speed of light, because as a particle’s mass decreases, its potential speed increases more and more, until you get to the massless photon, which is pretty much the only particle capable of traveling at the speed of light. I say pretty much because my knowledge of physics at this level and actually most levels is fairly limited, so I might be overlooking for something, but photons are in essence “the” speed-of-light particles. And since one of the most essential parts of Fourworld is the reverse gravitational field (rechristening of negative density field, since that doesn’t make any sense), generated by a negative mass particle, it stands to reason that the asteroids will travel faster than the speed of light. Which, you know, is just kind of like “What? Really?”
Does it stop there? Of course not! Messin’ with astrophysics and quantum mechanics on this scale has got to make things harder than that. First of all, matter traveling faster than the speed of light does more than shatter the light barrier, which has totally insane repercussions (one of which is making sight potentially impossible in a certain direction due to the photons’ inability to keep up with the pace), but actually (by reversing the principle of time slowing down as you approach the speed of light) make time flow slower than an object at rest. I’ll try to explain it this way: Objects at rest are not really at rest- they’re traveling through time, constantly. And though time seems to flow at the same rate for everything, it really doesn’t. As you increase your speed through space (or the more well known three dimensions) you decrease your speed through time (the lesser-known fourth dimension). Which is just like, “What?! Really?!”
By the way, if you remember the other few posts where I speculated about math and nature and time and infinity, you can safely ignore pretty much everything from those, because it’s pretty much retarded crap in comparison to what I’m learning from The Elegant Universe, which I like to think of as The Layman’s Guide to the Front Lines of Physics.
Another way you can think of it is, you have a a kind of “constant total speed” just about equivalent to the speed of light, and as you use up some of this speed to travel through space, it’s taken away from the amount you use to travel through time. On such miniscule scales as those we’re familiar with, where 300 miles is considered pretty freakin’ fast, the effect is negligible; since the effect is on a scale involving the speed of light, anything under, like, a tenth of the speed of light probably wouldn’t experience delays in anything more than months. Note: DO NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR THIS. I AM NOT AN ASTROPHYSICIST. I AM A FRESHMAN IN HIGH SCHOOL THAT LIKES SCIENCE BUT IS NOT GOOD AT ADVANCED STUFF. But it can be safely assumed that speeds we’re capable of traveling at won’t really experience this delay significantly.
So the problem we come to is this (among others): If the asteroids travel faster than the speed of light, won’t they travel through time slower than the rest of the universe? And it’s an excellent question, the answer to which is a resounding yes. Of course, the extent of this deceleration is relative to the amount by which the particle exceeds the speed of light; and this can actually be indirectly determined (I think) through a little thought experiment. So! Imagine these four planets revolving merrily around their little negative mass particle. These planets are attracted to each other by their own natural gravitational force, which operates by a kind of “sink” in three-dimensional space, like how a bowling ball on a trampoline would attract a marble. This analogy isn’t perfect, but it’ll do to imagine how gravity operates in this scenario. If you build on the analogy, this scenario would be comprised of four bowling balls on said trampoline, all rolling towards one another via gravity (the sunken part of the trampoline). If nothing stops them, they’d all smash into each other, and (switching back to the real thingy) the planets would become one big planet. But! There is something stopping them- the reverse gravitational field. This would be the equivalent of someone pushing the convergent point of the bowling balls on the trampoline upwards with a stick. The result is that the bowling balls don’t hit each other, but are held in balance by this particle. That’s basically how it works. Now, my model (shamelessly stolen from real physicists) has vast imperfections: for one thing, what the hell would the other side of three dimensional space be? And, if gravity causes the bowling balls’ attraction in the model, what causes the attraction in actual space? I answer these with a “Shut up and let me finish”, because those questions don’t affect the essence of the model and the reality.
Now that you have a clearer picture of what’s going on, I return to my original point, which is how much the negative mass particle’s speed exceeds that of light. The answer lies in how much less than zero its mass is; the more you decrease its mass, the faster it will travel. And, the mass of the particle can be determined by the strength of gravity; if the gravitational force is stronger, a lower mass would be required to generate more repulsion force (because as mass decreases, attraction also decreases, and once you descend below zero it becomes repulsion; therefore, lower mass = more repulsion). So basically, the stronger gravity gets, the faster the stuff goes. The good news is, gravity is an inherently weak force; out of the four fundamental forces (gravity, electromagnetism, weak nuclear, and strong nuclear, basically speaking), gravity is by far the weakest. An example of this lies in magnetism, which is (duh) a component of the electromagnetic force. Despite the gravitational force of the Earth, a paper clip can be lifted with an incredibly weak magnet, simply because gravity can’t stand up to the magnet’s raw power. Scientists speculate that the reason for gravity’s weakness may lie in the concept of extra dimensions, but both your head and mine would probably explode if I tried to explain that (particularly because I know nothing about it), so I won’t pursue that point. The relevant result of gravity’s weakness is that the particle’s mass won’t have to be too much lower than zero, which is good because it simplifies matters somewhat.
Here’s the real cinch: if a particle is traveling at the speed of light, time flow comes to a complete halt for it. So what happens when it exceeds the speed of light? Simply put, time slows down so much it actually starts going backwards. If that isn’t a slap in the face for the residents of Fourworld, I don’t know what is. By the way, as I wrote this post I continuously got confused between whether time sped up or slowed down as a particle got faster (because particle physics is hard) so if you see a discrepancy somewhere, let me know. The truth is, though: faster than light = backwards in time.
So now we’ve established a truly awful error in my plot: negative mass = speed in excess as that of light = time going backwards = FFFFUUUUUU- And we need to find a way to resolve this. Really badly. I don’t even want to think about the results of having a little part of a galaxy where time flows in the opposite direction as the rest of the universe. Like, what happens if something from the outside enters the field by some accident? Does it just get pushed out because time flows backwards, or what? I’d have to have the mental engine of, like, Einstein to puzzle that one out.
The solution lies in getting time to speed up, and luckily enough, such a phenomenon does exist: enter the black hole, seducer of the imagination (God I love that phrase) and focal point for so many science fiction stories. If I recall TEU correctly, there was a section about black holes in which a black hole causes time to speed up for anyone who approaches it without crossing the event horizon (the point at which you’d have to go faster than the speed of light to escape). It could have been slow down, though; in that instance, I’d have to find a new device. But, continuing under the assumption that time would speed up, throwing the Fourworld into orbit around a black hole, if it’s away from the event horizon by just the right amount, time would eventually equalize between the speed in excess of light and the black hole’s acceleration of time. Now, if the previous paragraphs consisted of borderline insanity, this one consists of the ravings of a drunken madman speaking a dead language that didn’t even exist on Earth. The very central point of the solution is probably wrong by itself, let alone the insanity that would arise when the Fourworld residents go interstellar. Oh, and another thing: if you orbit a black hole, where the hell do you get your light from? Am I going to have to recreate a biological process for creating energy other than photosynthesis, too? I hope not, that would be absolutely terrifying. Clearly, the black hole concept need a LOT of work. Will I be able to think up a good enough solution in time for NaNoWriMo (15 days)? I sure hope so. I’ll probably need some help with it, though; I reach out to my readers to help me think of a way for the Fourworld to operate properly, or (gasp) I may have to run a different plot this year; that would be absolutely devastating for me.
Part 2: meet our first character, tentatively named Anastasia, the bisexual sister of the protagonist’s boyfriend. I know it’s kind of weird to start listing characters with this bizarre off-character that everyone will probably loathe, but I spend so much time thinking about her inner struggles and stuff that I just have to finalize her character before I move on. So! Anastasia.
Anastasia is native to what I will refer to as the third planet of the system, which prior to the Fourworld’s ability to regulate stuff was full of weird and bizarre vapors that life has trouble forming based from. I mean, there are the normal life-giving things like oxygen and carbon dioxide and water around, but they’re in little “pockets” formed by drastic undulations in the planet’s topography, and as such only the life that develops there remotely resembles anything we’re familiar with. By the way, I should mention that I am writing the Fourworld’s history from scratch- like, legit scratch, right down to the origin of life. As a result, the story is going to develop very, very strangely, because I basically only have a starting point and and ending point, but with no discernible path for getting from one to the other. As a result of that, the first draft of Fourworld is probably going to suck and will likely have to be scrapped as the history develops; because the history is going to have to evolve quite a bit before it gets anywhere close to where it needs to be. Once I lay down the framework, anyone who wants to contribute to any segment of the Fourworld’s long history is more than welcome to do so; in fact, I’ll probably need it for an adequately fleshed-out story.
So yeah. The reason I make her and the protagonist’s boyfriend native to that planet is that the chaotic life forms that developed there actually tried to take over the Fourworld at some point in its history; this is actually a central point in the full novel, because it establishes a bias against the third planet, and is a focal point for the symbolism involved in the story; as the remainder of the Fourworld is pretty biased against the third planet, the history writers tend to shirk the true side of the oppression of the chaos life forms. For their differences, they were denied human (or, well… you know) rights, and got incredibly pissed, and began trying to take over the whole system. The part that is shirked is the “denied human (or, well… you know) rights” part. This is very significant in the late story.
Moving on: Anastasia is bisexual, yes, and there’s a reason behind that, too. I am of the opinion that prejudice and/or discrimination against anyone non-heterosexual is little more than a relic of a past in which humans had difficulties extending their understanding past their knowledge. Prior to the study of psychology proper, homosexuality was probably misunderstood as a perversion of normal human-ness. And in a sense, that’s true; people should generally prefer those of the opposite gender, since, you know, that’s how we reproduce. But it shouldn’t be one of those things that you need to be a full human. Non-heterosexuals are (for the most part) just like other, normal humans, besides their sexual orientation, and should really be treated that way. Just because someone’s body produces the wrong chemicals and they fall in love with someone of the same sex doesn’t mean they’re hideous outcasts from human society and should be burned or killed or excluded or something. It’s simply a matter of how they are, similar to someone’s skin color or clothing preferences. The problem is, people are still biased against non-heterosexuals, although I’d say it isn’t quite at the level as it was historically. I intend for Anastasia to be a personification of victims of this bias. Note that these are my personal views, not something that I’m preaching. Accept or deny all my rants about sexual orientation as you please, but don’t attack me for it; I don’t intend to start any religious wars here.
The third major characteristic I want to integrate into her character is a love and talent for music. This doesn’t really have any intended symbolic reference; the reason I’m adding this trait is because when I reread my super short narrative, The Forest, which is about a girl who thinks of her music library as a big forest she loses herself in, I thought that the tone of her voice was well suited for Anastasia. On the outside, she’s very shy and quiet, but her mind is, for lack of a better phrase, quite formidable. She’s an excellent speaker when she breaks out of her shell, very lucid, and just overall likeable. The only problem is, it’s hard for her to get out of her quiet mode, no matter how much she wants to. I suppose a possible symbolism involving her love of music could be something like “homosexuals have valuable stuff too!”, but… Leonardo Da Vinci was possibly homosexual. I don’t really need to make that point.
Her physical story begins on her home planet, the third one, and I’m contemplating whether she should be biologically a third-worlder, or just have been raised there, since either way she’ll suffer prejudice. I’m leaning towards a native from another planet, since it further reinforces the idea of prejudice hiding the truth and stuff. Anyway, she was conceived, followed by a divorce between her parents, where her brother (the protagonist’s boyfriend) went to live on one of the nicer planets with her father. Her now-single mother moved to the third planet for financial reasons, and she was born & raised there in one of the more oxygenated areas. She realized she was bisexual by the time she reached 6 years of age, confessed to her mother immediately, and was told to keep it secret for as long as possible. She kept her word for two years, but after that long she had to tell someone; she shyly told her classmate as they spoke together on the outskirts of their playground that she had a crush on the girl. She was shot down immediately, and though the classmate never spoke of it again, Anastasia was crushed and thereafter denied her bisexual side and forced herself to focus on guys. Through high school, she dated a few guys, most of whom abused her in one way or another, be it physical, mental, or emotional, except for one; the older brother of the girl she confessed to so many years ago. They dated for a few weeks, and at the end of their relationship, he told her not to give up on his sister. He didn’t explain why. He was the last boy Anastasia dated.
From there, Anastasia kept trying to find a way to make her old classmate return her affection, but simply couldn’t. Just as she was working up the nerve to ask her out once more, walking towards her house, a call came in from her cell: her mother had died of gaseous poisoning. These deaths were common for sightseers who strayed too far from areas with their needed gases, but was exceedingly rare for anyone who had lived there previously. She needed a new guardian, and her brother, the sometimes dark, sometimes mischievous, but always charismatic boyfriend of our protagonist, stepped in to fill the role. She confessed to him immediately upon walking into his apartment, and though he was thrown by this, he kept her secret quite well.
The two siblings lived together for a couple of years, until they get dragged into the adventure that the main part of my novel will cover. In that time, they become fairly close; however, Anastasia’s brother is frequently annoyed at the limitations brought by her reliance on her. He was eighteen when she moved in, and her sister was fourteen approaching fifteen (and yes, those are in normal human years), so his adulthood freedom was marred by the necessities of caring for his sister. Anastasia felt partially guilty for her infringement, but couldn’t think of an alternative.
When writing this, I accidentally thought of Anastasia as the sister of the protagonist, not the protagonist’s boyfriend, which was incredibly embarrassing for me since I had an entire thing mapped out for their relationships together. I blame fatigue. Any discrepancies again should be pointed out so I can remedy them ASAP. Comments about Anastasia’s character and also on black holes are appreciated, and actually probably necessary. Just no flames for the bisexuality thing. PLEASE, no flames.