A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year

It seems like only yesterday it was AD 2015.

Hey, wait a minute! It was only yesterday!

Ah, time flies when you're having fun.

Of course, it also flies when you're miserable, so you may as well have fun and count your blessings.

But have you ever noticed that time flies faster as you get older?

A change of velocity, an acceleration, requires a force like gravity. Falling bodies plummet faster as they travel farther. This is due to the gravity induced by mass. So perhaps we do not travel forward in time; we plummet downward. This suggests that there is something massive and attractive at the end of time.

And a happy birthday to JJ!


  1. My own theory is that we ran out of time long ago, and have been recycling it since. Just as, when you recycle paper, the fibres become shorter and weaker with each iteration, our recycled days and years are no longer able to bear the burdens that they did when they were made from virgin timber. It is not only the old who suffer from this. This is why, for instance, the Manhattan Project was completed in three years or so, whereas commercial fusion power has been fifty years away for as long as I have been alive.

    1. The Manhattan Project involved a reaction that happens if you so much as drop a brick of uranium while arranging a "pile"; ask Harry Daghlian. Commercial fusion involves a reaction ten times stronger—one we can only reliably get to happen by using the thing the Manhattan Project was about, to kick things off.

      It was 22 years from the first demonstration of fission to the world's first commercial power-generator based on fission (or as "commercial" as a public utility in the USSR can be said to be). Since fusion is an order of magnitude more powerful, and a lot more complex to achieve, I think it's not unreasonable to assume that, even with scientific breakthroughs, we can expect to see 220 years from the first demonstration of fusion "break-even" to actually using it as a power-source.

      And the first break-even from fusion was—and only just barely, by a fraction of a percent—in February of 2014. Come back in 2234 and we'll see how things are going. (And prior to 2184, it'll still be "fifty years away".)

      (And hey, it took at least an eighth of a million years between our first harnessing of chemical energy and our first harnessing of fission. Admittedly fission is 3.2 million times as strong, but since that's only 6.505 times as many orders of magnitude as the difference between fusion and fission, if it takes less than 19,216 years we're still not doing any worse, on an "average order-of-magnitude-improvement per-year" basis, than the baseline set by harnessing fission.)

  2. Happy New Year! I tried to email you something but it bounced back. Do you have a new email addy? If so, could you email it to me at

  3. I figure that as our memory decays due to age, we remember less moments, and due to all those memory holes, a sense that a shorter amount of time has passed is experienced (this may not be the whole story, but I think this is a major cause).

    Novel and extreme experiences are also easier to remember, and young people, because we are young, tend to have more of these experiences, I think ("But a child of three is excited by being told that Tommy opened a door" and all that).

    Time is a measure of motion, and the less motion you remember, the less time you remember.

    Anyway, happy New Year all!

    Christi pax.

  4. A lovely thought. To hell with the idea that it is simply that a year in later life is a much smaller fraction of your elapsed time than it used to be. That's the kind of thing a statistician would say.

  5. When I started school as a wee bairn, the earth was some 2 billions of years old. And by the time I finished high school, it was over 4 billions of years old. I shudder to think how old it is now.

  6. Also, if one watches closely, one notices that every time one turns around, another year has passed. Clearly, one needs to stop turning around.


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