As stated in my last blog entry, I will be offering my sort of hard science fiction novel The Shadows of the Multiverse for free on Kindle from Friday, 10/26/2012 through Tuesday, 10/30/2012. I say sort of hard scifi because, while the underpinnings of the setting are based on real world physics, there are definitely some fantastic elements involving the quantum mind. Like, is Schrödinger’s Cat just a thought experiment, or, if there is no sentient mind to see it fall, does a tree really fall in the woods? And by logical extension, is a really powerful quantum mind able to change reality to suit its purposes. Still, in the reread just before setting up the promotion I was again fascinated by the possibility of humans become Gods for all practical purposes.
The other dimensional creatures who all have this power are the antagonists of the story. While not really intelligent as we would judge such, they possess powerful quantum minds that are able to warp and change reality in our Universe. And they fear the power of other quantum minds that might develop among the intelligences of our Universe. So they resort to the solution that so many humans have resorted to in the past. They exterminate intelligences in our Universe so they will not grow to threaten their hegemony over the dimensions. So intelligent species grow in our Universe, spread out through space, develop the rudiments of the quantum mind in some of their members, and then the monsters appear and wipe the Universe clean of intelligent life, until the next cycle.
I originally sent this novel out to publishers under the title Weavers of Reality, the Weavers being the transdimensional creatures who are the enemy. That name was change from Quantum Reality. The problem was I really did not like either name, and this after coming up with the title The Deep Dark Well for the book before. Sometimes titles are easy, other times they are very difficult. The creatures are still called the Weavers. I had thought of calling them the Shadows, but as a fan of Babylon Five I thought that name was already taken. But Shadows still came out in the title.
The idea for the gates of course came from many sources. Fredrick Pohl, Stargate SG-1 among others. The gates are a little bit different though. Each is a large globe with three million facets, each leading to another gate somewhere across the Universe. And every gate in the Universe also has three million openings, not all leading to the same places as other gates, linking hundreds of billions of star systems into a network. The bottom line is that though the nearest stars are still years of travel time away, a habitable system three billion light years distant is just a jump through the gate. Civilizations exist in bubbles of space linked by the gates, while the Universe at large is still a mystery. It has a great effect on strategy, as the only way to attack an enemy system is through the gates, and fortifications are built around them to prevent a successful assault. Also, reinforcements are only a jump away. So wars are normally a series of overwhelming assaults until both sides get tired of being whipped by forces that outnumber them at some points, while they outnumber the enemy at other places, and the ebb and flow really favors no one.
The Shadows of the Multiverse will probably be a stand alone novel. There is not a lot more to do with the characters (and you will have to read the book to see why). I may, someday, write in this Universe again, or maybe not. Still, I hope my readers will enjoy it, and it will make them want to try another one of my books. And now for an excerpt.
“Goddamitt,” said Lt. Marishana Mangana. Lucille looked up from the acceleration tank she was crawling into to see what the assistant tac officer was looking at. The image of a battleship appeared on the main viewer, leaving the gate far to their rear.
“Shit,” added the captain to the cussing going through the bridge. Flashes appeared at the front of the long cylinder as a dozen missiles left their acceleration tubes and headed for their targets. Matter/antimatter warheads exploded into one of the covering destroyers, while the invisible beams of lasers ate through the hull of another.
“We aren’t at war with the Tripods,” exclaimed Lt. Ngyen. “What the hell are they doing?”
Taking advantage of surprise, thought Lucille. The poor bastards at the gate picket hesitated for a moment and paid for it with their lives. A single warhead impacted on the alien battleship, blasting a small hole in the forward hull. Within a second the counterattacking destroyer was spiraling away from the gate, a lifeless wreck. Another cylinder rushed from the gate, a second battleship. Followed by a third.
The lone remaining destroyer maneuvered as fast as her crew could handle, moving along the side of the gate sphere as if trying to escape. Two of the Tripod battleships flared thrusters as they turned to follow, trying to lock their stationary particle beams on the target that was dodging and weaving away from their laser turrets. A missile left a tube, followed by another. But the destroyer’s crew was on the ball and a dozen interceptors left its stern mere microseconds after the missiles. Interceptor missiles struck, antimatter warheads erupted, and the space between hunter and hunted was filled with hellish radiation.
“They really foxed them,” said Ngyen, admiration in his voice.
Yes, thought Lucille. The radiation will interfere with target acquisition as well as helping to diffuse the power of laser and particle beams.
The destroyer rotated swiftly in a maneuver guaranteed to cause casualties if the crew wasn’t in the tanks. A message carrier streaked from a bow tube at thousands of gees acceleration, heading into a specific facet of the gate and disappearing before anyone could do anything about it.
Then the destroyer pulled another high gee turn, lining her own bow up on one of the pursuers and unleashing a volley of missiles. It was to be her last volley. Incoming fire tore through the radiation cloud. Some of the enemy missiles lost target lock and sailed past the smaller ship. Others smashed into her nose, warheads powerful enough to cripple a battle-cruiser like Navarin exploding into the thinly armored hull. The fire of explosion ran instantly down the length of the ship, engulfing her in a maelstrom of flame while pieces of hull and fragments of internal machinery spun into the cold of space, as if trying to escape the inferno. When the flame had attenuated enough to see the destroyer was gone as if it hadn’t existed. Gone too were the three hundred crewmen and women aboard.
Counter missiles from a tripod battleship took out two of the destroyer’s last volley. Laser fire from the target ship took out two more, leaving one to slam into the bow of the battlewagon. The battleship was most heavily armored at the bow, while the destroyer’s torpedo was not nearly as powerful as the ones that had been launched by the tripod battleships. But the fury of its explosion still caused damage to the battleship’s forward missile tubes and its particle beam projectors, as well as closing off its main KE cannon tube. It also took most of the ship’s forward momentum away in an instant, which couldn’t have been healthy for the crew.
The bridge crew of the Navarin cheered as the fury of the explosion stopped the enemy ship in its tracks. While not a deathblow, or even enough damage to keep the battleship out of action, it was still a weakening of enemy power.
The cheer died to a hush as another Tripod battleship popped from the gate, followed by another. Then in single file a mass of cruisers and destroyers. Within minutes the ships had clustered into task forces and all were boosting for destinations throughout the system. Lucille only had eyes for one of the groups though. On the tactical was displayed an arrow with figures showing two battleships, a heavy cruiser and five destroyers. Their heading was toward the convoy she was tasked to protect. The convoy she was nowhere near.
“Sharks are on the way,” she muttered to herself. “Already fifteen minutes on the way toward my minnows.”
“Into the tanks, everyone,” she shouted across the bridge. “Maximum accel in one minute.”
Crew scrambled into their tanks, completing the last second safety checks that would ensure that they survived the killing acceleration that was to come. All over the ship people did the same, disciplined to think of no other task than to seek safety. Because when full boost came in an emergency situation there would be no time to make sure everyone was safe.