Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Author Spotlight - Free-floating chips, ants, and black holes! by Maria Hammarblad
In documentaries, cartoons, and some science fiction movies, one can see astronauts float around in zero gravity. Being able to push oneself from one wall to another does look cool, but not very practical. In The Simpsons, Homer goes to space and has to utilize his zero-gravity chips-eating skills when he spills snacks all over the cockpit. Unfortunately, he also spills ants. I don't remember how the episode ends, but it's rather funny.
I thought a lot about gravity and the lack thereof when I wrote Kidnapped, and I had an explanation to how Travis's ship can have artificial gravity in one of the first drafts. It slowed the story too much, so I took it out. Patricia is in the middle of an adventure, and who cares how she can walk. She walks. Right…?
Anyway, the subject intrigues me. The common trick in novels and movies is making a spaceship spin, creating an illusion of weight through centripetal force. I don't know if it would work in a bigger scale or not; at least in my mind, the ship would have to spin rather quickly to have an effect. I wonder if a person inside would know the ship was spinning? Sounds like a way to get motion sick, for sure.
Truth is, we don't really understand gravity. It's connected to mass, and we know what it does, but the theory behind it is still iffy. When I wrote "Kidnapped," I thought, "You'd need something really heavy. Lots of mass, so high density to make it smaller than a planet…" What is the one thing we know of that has extremely high density and high mass? So high it eats anything that comes to close? A black hole!
In my imagination, Travis's people have learned to master the science of black holes, putting one the size of a pinhead in the bottom of the ship. It's surrounded by a nifty containment field, controlled by the computer. Ta-da, all gravitational problems solved. Patricia can run around, jump, and feel quite at home without having to worry about drifting to the ceiling. If she were to spill something, it would end up on the floor where it belongs. Travis's floor is self-cleaning. I want one!
Book trailer link: http://youtu.be/GDmhI7c69iM
Buy-link Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00825645A
Buy-link Desert Breeze Publishing: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-292/Kidnapped-Maria-Hammarblad/Detail.bok