Some of the science:


The concepts used in the series are based on mainstream scientific phenomena, but there are obviously some fairly major speculations in adapting them for a Sci-fi story. I did want a reader to be able to Google something they had never heard of, and find out that it was a real phenomenon, albeit adapted in the story to take in some possible variations.

Firstly, the use of 'hyperfluids'. In real life, here on Earth, superfluids can be made to behave like Arcan - but not at room temperature. They only work like that at very low temperatures. So there are two speculative premises in Valhai. First, that a superfluid-type entity can function at room temperatures, and second that it could be sentient. Neither of these assumptions are really that impossible, and it seems to me that they are really quite logical as an evolutionary process on a distant galaxy.

What happens at low temperatures to superfluids, is that all the atoms can be made to move 'in step' with each other. A superfluid can escape from a beaker by crawling up the sides of the glass. The whole fluid acts as if it were one atom, rather than a multitude of atoms. In the story, this means that Arcan can 'visualize' where he wants to be, and the rest of his atoms fall in step as if they were one, physically moving him from one place to the other. He uses Quantum decoherence as an instantaneous form of travel.

It has seemed to me for a long time that this was really the only possible way of interstellar travel. It neatly avoids the problem of travelling faster than light, and requires no impossible warp drives. It also seems a reasonable assumption that, if it is possible, then some life-form will have evolved capable of utilizing it. So there we are: Arcan!

One of the most interesting scientists I have come across is Roger Penrose. His huge textbook "The Road to Reality" is my desert island book of choice. It is so hard (for me, anyway) that I don't think I could truly understand everything he has to say in my lifetime, so it would do me fine on that desert island. One of the books which most influenced me, however, was The Emperor's New Mind which is another pretty dense book, with the last chapters dedicated to the beginning of his orch/OR theory. I know that the book he wrote with Hameroff Shadows of the Mind has received huge criticism, but I do believe that many species - perhaps all - will be proved eventually to use quantum decoherence in some way. It is illogical (Mr. Spock!) to think that they wouldn't have latched on to something so absolutely brilliant. I have taken liberties with quantum decoherence (and quantum non-locality) of course - I write fiction and that is what science fiction is there for! However, you should be able to find most all of the terminology used, and I have tried to have a solid scientific basis for my speculations.

Quantum decoherence (at least as I use it in the books) refers to the fact that particles can be considered waves of probability. They are not particles as such until measured to be one. Well, that sounds a bit strange, I know, but it is really true. A particle doesnt occupy a specific place, it is rather a wave of possiblities. Then I visualize it as 'coalescing' into one particular place, when measured or perhaps spontaneously. Since hyperfluids behave as one large atom it is not a huge leap of the imagination to visualize Arcan 'coalescing' in one place or another, and give him the possiblity of taking other people along. Of course, one or two people have 'quibbled' over this use of quantum phenomena, probably quite rightly, but this is, after all, a science fiction series, which means that some license has to be taken somewhere, or it wouldn't stretch anybody's imagination, least of all mine! (Which is the whole point of the thing) So I am not going to apologize for "boldly going where no man has gone before", because I rather hope that I have!

The visitor has the ability to "cloak" himself. This technology has, in fact, already been invented here. The light is deviated around and object, so that people are only able to see what is behind them, therefore missing the people themselves. I think it is an amazing step forward. So Harry Potter's invisibility cloak really exists on earth now! How about that??? You can read a bit more about that here

The Dessites appear in Kwaide, although they are not really explained properly until Pictoria. The idea of distilling only a few cells, and then sending them, and not a complete entity on a space exploration, makes a lot of sense. The cells are left dormant, almost needing no maintenance, until they are needed when the small spaceship reaches its destination. Because the cells need so little maintenance, the ships can be much smaller and lighter. And because of that, they can travel faster, which means that time passes that much quicker for the visitor cells.

I decided not to use conventional 'warp' speed travel (though it sounds strange to use the word conventional here!) because I don't believe it is possible. I am convinced that the only way to beat the odds, as it were, and be able to travel faster than light is to use some sort of quantum phenomenon, which at least we know exists and may be instantaneous. There is quite a lot of research being done on quantum teleportation, and experiments so far carried out on non-locality show that it really is instantaneous, supposedly so over astronomical distances too, so I feel that going quantum is really the only show in town. In the books, travellers have managed to get up to fractional speeds of light, but nothing remotely suggesting that Einstein's theories might be wrong. I am a great Einstein fan!

Most of the rest of Kwaide uses standard technology. The spheres which the visitor uses are simply autonomous video cameras and we have this sort of thing right now, although not quite as presented in the book. They have a way of cloaking which is now available to us, although I have taken it further.

Arcan talks about reversing the magnetic poles of the Earth. This is another thing that surprised me: it actually happens on Earth! You can find out more about that here I wanted to bring that in briefly, although in the book it is really just a passing mention.

The Ammonite Galaxy series is my vision of something that is possible, if not probably. It seems to me that if we know quantum phenomena, such as entanglement and non-locality exist, and we know that living species here on Earth make use of them, then it is quite likely that, somewhere in the hundreds of millions of life-appropriate planets out there, something will have evolved which makes better use of them. Whether or not we will ever know about them, well ... that is another matter! Unfortunately, it aint going to be in my life-time, so there is nothing left for me to do but dream about it.

quantum bridge