It's the last day of the A-to-Z Challenge! Z is for Zeta Reticuli, a binary star about 39 light-years from Earth, and fairly popular in science fiction. If you've never heard a firsthand account of riding a hyperspace zipline, I'll sum it up in two words: pure terror. Humans just weren't meant for hyperspace travel, and … Continue reading Z-End of the Line
Years ago, when I was a young American engineering student, I was taught to believe that the metric system is some kinda filthy hippie Euro-commie anti-freedom plot. Sorta like water fluoridation, the JFK assassination, and Crocs. One thing I always liked about the metric system (or technically SI, the Système International d'Unités) was its usage … Continue reading Yocto- to Yotta-
Target acquired... To my optical sensors it's invisible, but nothing could conceal the heat signature from its engines. Another human pilot is about to make a run at the quarantine zone.
Today's A-to-Z Challenge is brought to you by the letter W. W is for Wireless. Today, the term wireless conjures up thoughts of smartphones, tablets, Bluetooth headsets, and the IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac protocol. Wireless is the technology that lets us live our lives unburdened by a tangle of ethernet cables and curly telephone cords. Wireless freed … Continue reading Wireless
Another double-duty post. This story is written for the A-to-Z Challenge: V is for Vacuum Tube, a switching component commonplace in electronics (and thus in golden-age sci-fi) prior to the development of the transistor. And for Flash! Friday vol. 3-20, where the prompt is to include a man-vs.-man conflict, along with this public domain photo. … Continue reading Variable Resistor
Day 21 of the A-to-Z challenge. U is for Universal Translator, a vital but invisible part of most science fiction. Because Star Trek just wouldn't be the same if Captain Kirk had to woo green alien women with the aid of an intepreter. "Sorry to call you out here so late, Colonel. We've had a … Continue reading Universal Translator
Day 20 of the A-to-Z challenge. T is for teleportation, the instantaneous movement of matter from point A to point B. As I read the sign, I knew that our cultural obsession with instant gratification had finally gone too far. Others may call it progress -- the continual grind of technological advancement -- but there's … Continue reading To Tahiti by Teleport
Against the backdrop of stars, Comet Spencer Jones glowed like the surface of the Sun. Giordano knew this was an illusion: her spacesuit HUD interfaced with the shipboard computer to project a false-color image. Though the comet shone brightly in gamma frequencies, it was dark as the black sands of Maui in visible light. She tried to focus on calibrating the railgun, rather than the eerie glow that constantly hovered in her peripheral vision.
Day 18 of the A-to-Z Challenge. R is for Retrocausality, or reverse-causality; the idea that an effect can precede its cause. Though some physicists, including Hawking, speculate that the laws of nature will conspire to prevent time travel, many physical laws, such as particle interactions, can be interpreted to include backward-in-time travel. To be opened … Continue reading Reading at the Event of my Death