21st July 2017
I have pointed out before the strange correlation between Gene Roddenberry's creations in Star Trek during the 1960's and 70's and real technology as it has unfolded in the interim: flip phones, medical hand-held devices, video conferencing, Blue Tooth ear pieces, to name a few.
This week in the news, we found that the Chinese have just successfully teleported photons to a satellite using a phenomenon known in physics as entanglement.
Physics, especially its theoretical branch, is slowly turning the solid world we have come to know and love on its head. Just as Gene Roddenberry foresaw.
I know people, friends even, who won't touch a book involving any such zany notions. They prefer literature that sticks with the nuts and bolts of human experience. But what if it turns out in the not-too-distant future that reality isn't what we thought it was at all, and that time isn't something moving along a solid line, but is something infinitely more flexible. What if we ourselves, as a mass of particles, could actually move backwards along that line?
Stephen Hawking doesn't like this idea. A few years ago he gathered a team to show that movement along that line was one-directional: forward, ever forward. But this meeting of the greatest minds in physics failed to prove anything of the sort. All the rules of physics, it turns out, work equally well in a backward motion as they do forwards.
We are already on the threshold of objects being beamed up to space stations through a process of what Einstein called "spooky action at a distance." As a novelist, I'll go with "spooky" physics. As a Scot, I will go with the idea that the character of Scottie can facilitate such a process. Perhaps in the end we'll discover that "spooky" is all there is. Perhaps in the end, real live Scots will discover that Scotland, and not the United Kingdom, is all there is. Perhaps then, a trilogy about a Scottish woman who manages to teleport herself through time won't seem fantastical at all.
After all, they already did it on Star Trek!