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April 25, 2014
Posted at 11:18 am

Eden--Chapter 32

As you may have already understood from my attempt to explain the workings of my hypothetical FTL (faster than light) "worm drive" that fictitiously allows real-time interstellar travel in Chapter 5, I'm an old-line science fiction writer. Which means that in my definition "science fiction is supposed to have some root in science-at least compatible with as much science as we currently understand-rather than be wholly phantasmagoric. My FTL concept may be scientifically weak but at least it's consistent with what we know today, and thus doesn't stretch the imagination to the breaking point.
Back in the pre-Eintein 19th century the concept of universal ether was conceived. It was widely understood and accepted that all forces having a remote impact, distant from their source, must travel by means of some transfer medium capable of conveying the force to the destination where its effects were felt.Ether, although undetectable, was deemed the pervasive medium through which insubstantial forces such as light, gravity, etc., traveled. It was neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring, and had no relation whatever to other known universal substances; it was not solid, nor liquid nor gaseous nor even plasma, but rather something else altogether, and was more on a par with such things as "ectoplasm"-the non-existent conceit that's supposed to allow ghosts to materialize and otherwise have their impact on the material world in which we live. Ether was actually the science community's version of science fiction, an idea that existed only in the minds of those who had no better explanation to offer. Of course, Einteinian theory has long since debunked the proposition; we now know that, for example, light and gravity are both conveyed by subatomic particles which, though poorly understood, are at least more substantial than the ether of yesteryear's imagining.
However, ether seems to be still alive and well in the minds of otherwise sound and seemingly intelligent science fiction authors who elect to delve into the field of ESP-"extra-sensory perception," by conventional definition, or, in my personal lexicon,"extra-scientific perception." In these tales insubstantial thoughts seem to fly on gossamer wings through an unknown medium to do impossible things, not conveyed by even hypothesized particles (sub-atomic or otherwise) without regard to the physical limitations that apply to everything else in the known universe-to impact another person's mind (telepathy), shift physical objects about (telekinesis), move solid matter from place to place instantaneously (teleportation), bounce back and forth in time (precognition) and perform other such miraculous stuff. But that's not science, it's fantasy. Now, I have nothing against fantasy, I enoy reading it occasionally, and perhaps my other novel published on SOL (A Much of a Which of a Wind) even fits the description partway, but I generally prefer true science fiction-fiction grounded in scientific concepts. Such stories don't fit my concept of science fiction. If thoughts are going to be so proactive I'd like some explanation of a scientific basis of how they can manage it-now that to me is science fiction.
So in Eden I devised such an explanation. We know that thought is within the individual brain a phenomenon of bio-electromagnetic activity. Suppose, I considered, through some genetic mutation the individual brain had a means of transmitting and receiving such electromagnetic impulses externally. They would necessarily be subject to the scientific rules that constrain all such activity. That's how I figured it, and the way Igwanda reasoned it out in my story. And I went on from there.
That, then, is the McGuffin of the Eden Universe. It took me 30+ chapters to get to it, but I hope you'll agree it was worth the wait. And I hope you enjoy how I explore it from here. So far as I'm aware this is the first sci-fi novel that tries to put science into this aspect of the genre. I'm kind of proud of that