Don’t be surprised to see flashing lights behind you and hear a police siren while you read this blog post. And it’s not because that slightly illegal prank you pulled in your youth has finally caught up with you.
Yep. Sitting in your chair, sipping your coffee or munching on your favorite snack, you are moving at a pretty ridiculous clip.
We experience day and night because the Earth rotates. Being an inhabitant of the Earth and subject to its gravity, that means we are spinning along with it. Standing at the equator, you would be moving at the rate of just over 1,000 miles per hour. In the middle latitudes, where most of the human population resides, it’s roughly two-thirds of that, or six-t0-seven hundred miles an hour.
And your mom always complained about you being so slow to get ready for school in the morning!
We can’t stop there, though. We all know the Earth revolves around the sun. How fast does it have to move to do so? Pretty damn fast, as it turns out. In order for the Earth to make a complete trip around the sun in the span of a year, at a distance of ninety-three million miles away from the burning ball of hydrogen, it has to move approximately 66,000 miles per hour.
You’re really booking it! No wonder the cops are after you!
But, back to the headline of this post: time travel. Why is this movement through space important?
Let’s look at one of the most famous examples of time travel from popular culture: Doc Brown’s first experiment with Einstein the dog in Back to the Future. In the movie, Doc sends his pooch, strapped into the famous DeLorean, one minute into the future to arrive at the exact same spot. Yet, in order to do that, he would not only have to travel through time, but space as well. Consider how far you move, sitting in your chair, in the span of a minute.
Rotationally, spinning along with the Earth, you travel ten or eleven miles in that single minute. In addition, you’ve moved about 1,100 miles with the Earth following its orbit around the sun!
“All right then,” you say. “Maybe we can travel through time in exact-year increments.”
Interesting thought, but we’re not done calculating your speeding violation.
In addition to the Earth rotating and revolving around the sun, the sun is also moving at a pretty astounding pace, and dragging all of us with it in the general direction of the star Vega, within the constellation Lyra. That motion is calculated at roughly 43,000 miles per hour. Yet, even that isn’t all. The sun and our solar system also orbit within our Milky Way galaxy as it spins. Our speed as we waltz around the mysteries at the center of our galaxy? Merely 483,000 miles per hour.
That’s over 8,000 miles per minute. And we’re still not done.
The Milky Way itself is also moving, hurtling away from a universal central region we associate with the Big Bang. That speed? 1.3 Million miles per hour, or over 21,500 miles per minute.
So, in a single year— one trip around our sun— the Earth is displaced several billion miles through space from its starting point across a number of vectors of direction.
In order to travel through time to visit our own past or future, we must travel vast distances through space as well. I turned 50 years old this past year. If I wished to witness my own birth, I’d have to not only pass through those years of time, but also half a trillion miles of space!
Don’t get me wrong, I adore time travel stories— I’ve written a few! And Back to the Future is one of my all-time favorites, but it’s also fun to think about the bigger picture of time travel and what it entails. Our universe is an incredibly complex mechanism that we’ve only barely begun to understand. Maybe one day we’ll crack the code that will allow us to bounce around willy-nilly through space and time. Until then, we’ll just have to let our imaginations wander the reaches and laugh at the exploits of Doc Brown and Marty McFly.
“I’m sorry, Officer. I had no idea I was going that fast.”
In honor of the Magic City MonsterCon (which I’m attending all weekend!) I’m doing the cover reveal for my newest writing project: The Devil You Know.
You can read the first four chapters of the book (what will comprise “Episode 1” in the final product) right now at Wattpad! Here’s a link: https://www.wattpad.com/user/TuckerAuthor
Two alien races vie for control of Earth amidst a human population decimated by a merciless plague, famine, and war.
Meanwhile, the denizens of Hell grow restless. The apocalypse they were supposed to instigate and revel in is happening without them…
Doing their best to create new lives in the aftermath of the chaos triggered by the aliens’ arrival, Abraham Black and Neri White come from backgrounds about as different as their last names would indicate. Yet, together, they may hold the key which allows humanity to remain the primary tenants of Earth. The question is: how much are they willing to give up to save the world? Their memories? Their lives? Their souls?
I’m describing this story as a Post-Apocalyptic, Epic, Suburban Fantasy… with Aliens. Yes, I think it’s going to be something unlike anything you’ve read before and I’m very excited about it. The story is more adult in nature than my previous works and it’s in the final stages of editing and rewrites and my goal is to have it available this winter, hopefully in time for the holidays.
So, without further ado, here is the cover:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below and I hope to see some of you this weekend!
Got your attention?
I’m a writer. How could I possibly, truthfully express the sentiment in that headline? Well, let me tell you a story…
My mother is an avid reader, mostly of thrillers and mysteries, and she had a number of bookshelves, stocked with her favorites from over the years. Recently, she had the carpet replaced in her home and, rather than going to the trouble of reshelving most of those books when the new carpet was in and she could return her furniture to the rooms, she decided to sell the majority of those books to a used book store.
About three years ago, she made the reluctant plunge to ebooks. I say reluctant because she didn’t think she’d stick with it initially. Now, you’d have to pry her kindle from her cold, dead fingers. She’s discovered dozens of Indie authors (it helped that her son is one of them) and spends far, far less money on reading material than she used to, all the while enjoying the activity just as much as she ever did, perhaps more.
The paper books from her dusty shelves, which included pristine, hardback copies of Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler, and Jonathan Kellerman best sellers, didn’t hold the nostalgic value they once had. She had no interest in rereading them, so it made sense to take them to a used book store and get a few bucks for them.
Billings, Montana isn’t a huge town by most standards, but we have a number of used book stores. We stopped by one on our way to lunch, thinking to drop the books off, quickly collect a few dollars, and hopefully pay for our meal with the “windfall.” Our visit was indeed quick, but not for the reason we supposed.
“We’re not buying any books,” the clerk explained. “In fact, we’re having a big sale right now to try to pare down our inventory.”
Hm. Okay. No big deal, we thought. We’ll just try another store.
We accumulated strikes two and three faster than Casey from the Mudville Nine.
Resigned to not being able to pay for our lunch, we visited the library after we’d eaten, seeking to donate the books.
“Could you bring them by when we have our big book sale in the winter?” the lady at the front desk asked. “We really wouldn’t have any place to store them until then.”
The library doesn’t want books? It’s not like these were outdated software manuals. Tom freaking Clancy!
We ended up dropping them off at our local GoodWill. The attendant took them with a slight frown on her face.
Being a relatively well informed writer who’s steeped in ebooks, I knew the digital world has been gaining ground on the world of dead trees, but this experience really drove the point home. I remember buying and trading used books as a kid — and as an adult — for many years. Proprietors were always happy to see me come in with a box of books, because they knew I’d be trading them for more reading material and they’d generate some churn in their inventory. Now? Those stores wouldn’t even take books in trade, because their shelves were already packed to overflowing.
And people wonder why the big publishers are doing everything they can to keep ebook prices as high as possible. Their businesses are built on paper. When anyone can publish a book in electronic form and have it appear on the virtual shelves of the largest bookseller on the planet, right next to Tom freaking Clancy, where is the incentive to spend years playing the agent-to-acquisition-to-publication lottery? Especially when the payout for that particular lottery is getting smaller and smaller with each passing day.
Before long, paper books will be a novelty item, only sought out by collectors, much like vinyl records are today. Vinyl aficionados claim digital is too clean. They like to hear the hisses and pops that records produce. I suspect the same sort of folks probably like ink smudges on their fingers from printed pages as well.
Personally, words carry the same impact for me, whether displayed on a screen or paper. A good story carries me off to another world, regardless of the medium in which it’s presented.
Books are worth much more than mere paper and ink.
Amazon just spent nearly a billion dollars — yes, that’s with a Carl Sagan “B” — to acquire Twitch.tv. What is Twitch? It’s a site used mostly by gamers to live stream and record videos of themselves playing video games. Some of the users have hundreds of thousands of subscribers to their channels and sometimes tens of thousands of people watching at any one time. Not only can you watch the action, but there is a chat function as well where the streamer can interact with his/her viewers and the viewers can interact with each other.
Why is this significant? Other than the huge chunk of cash, it shows a glimpse of where Amazon is headed. They recognize that content is king. The more content they have available on their devices (Kindle, Fire TV, Phone, etc.) the more Amazon becomes a destination for their customers. Rather than creating the bulk of that content themselves, Amazon is looking to the grass roots — Indies— to fill their gadgets with fun and interesting things to see and do.
Twitch streamers are almost directly analogous to Indie authors. They are creating content and trying to find an audience. Each has their own personality, talent, and unique ideas on how to present their channel.
Books aren’t special snowflakes as some have bandied about recently. They are entertainment. As such, they compete with every other source of entertainment out there for the attention of the public. Writing a good book is a difficult task. So is writing a song, or creating a video or a game. We’re all vying for eyeballs. The big difference these days is we don’t have to have middlemen (publishers, record labels, distributors, etc.) to make it happen. We have direct, immediate conduits to those eyeballs and I, for one, am immeasurably grateful for those conduits.