Very much so.
First off, I'd like to make the random observation that my cat is an interferin' old baggage. Earlier, she crawled into my lap and started being desperately cute just when I was going to get up to fetch the books I wanted to work with. Now she's in bed trying to entice me to throw over hard work in favor of cuddles and a light read. This makes it harder to concentrate on the Really Big Questions.
I've started a science-reading spree. I'm currently near the end of Stephen Hawking's Universe, which was my run-up to A Brief History of Time. "The Universe Explained," my arse. I've realized that the general science survey written by the layman has lost its appeal for me. Especially since I keep getting this niggling sense that someone, somewhere, recently, said that the Universe didn't start with a singularity, which this author insists is so. Didn't some clever buggers find some evidence that the laws of physics actually didn't break down at the very beginning of the Big Bang? If any one of you knows, please do enlighten me.
The reason I'm feeling daunted isn't that I'm about to dive into the serious science reading. That's actually the easy part. The daunting comes from the fact that the cosmology I had worked out for my series isn't going to work, and I'm not sure yet just how I'll fix it. Rude questions keep arising that disturb the serenity I'd achieved. One aspect of said cosmology is that Eternals remember the previous Universe that gave rise to this one. How the hell could they? I'm sure there's a way to make that work, but damned if I see how just now.
There's also the fact of the Eternals themselves. I'm going to have to completely remake them. Again. They're natural beings. They need to come across as such. I'm having some interesting thoughts regarding them, but anything more concrete will have to wait until I've caught up with more recent research into quantum mechanics, chaos theory, and a few other aspects of hard science. Any suggestions you all have as to recent books on same would be very much appreciated.
This doesn't even get into the difficulties I'm still having with completely natural souls. There are some aspects of these stories that absolutely depend on the idea that an identity can survive death and rebirth, that it's even possible in the first place. And I don't see any reason to give that up just because I've decided that taking the soul as a given is ridiculous.
And that's just an infintesimal selection of the items currently heaping my plate. Add to this the fact I want to have the major work done by summer, because I plan to begin writing the first book in the series in earnest in the fall. That seems like a lot of time now, but...
At least the end result will be a better story. Or so I keep telling myself.
13 December, 2008
Feeling a Bit Daunted
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Perhaps a solution is the Holgraphic theory of the Universe?
"Did our cosmos exist before the big bang?" - New Scientist
Here's an interesting theory on universal spawning that seems to address some of the quantum inconsistencies in the singularity perspective.
Which it turns out is pretty much what Freethinker posted...
When faced by problems like this, it may help to remember how Douglas Adams came up with the idea for the infinite improbability drive... If you've not already heard this story, you could try:
about 3:15 in.
Take one big bottle of Coke and add a big bang theory, a couple of string theories, throw in lots of black holes and shake violently. I'm sure this would be closer to the reality of our known universe although it still would pale in comparison to the infinity version when you take into consideration our little experiment could have been conducted in a bubble of a much bigger bottle of Coke.
It's a long time since I read A Brief History of Time, but my recollection was even within sort of "classical" (non-quantum) relativity, he had was a kind of neat way of sort of avoiding singularity in his exposition (I think by using imaginary time, where the singularity becomes a smooth surface). But its been forever since I read it so I may be mixing my recollection up with another work.
Besides our universe spawning off from a pre-existing one, I read an introductory paper paper just recently that incorporated loop quantum cosmology to arrive at the result that the universe doesn't have a singularity - if it has a big crunch, that bounces into a big bang well before normal physics would start to break down, and looks like it suggests a series of crunch-bang cycles.
It seems that there are several plausible singularity-free models that could arise once you start to being in quantum effects.
It is not known whether the Universe began with a singularity or not. An amount of well-founded speculation exists to the effect that the process of rapid expansion which drove the early formation of the Universe we see in fact never stopped, and new regions of spacetime which look like Universes from the inside are constantly being produced. The technical term is eternal inflation. A decent introduction to the subject is available at Cosmic Variance.
Thankee kindly, everyone!
What did I ever do without you?
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