I ran into my old English Comp Professor Feducious T. Flynt at the mall the other day and he told me he quit teaching and was now going to be a science-fiction writer.
"That's terrible. Absolutely atrocious. I feel so sorry for you, Feducious," I said.
"No, no, no. It's wonderful. And I'm just about at the halfway point of my first novel," he said jubilantly. "I'm doing so well that I decided to come here to buy some birdseed for my parrot, Jolly Roger, along with some big bird toys. I love the mall's pet store. And getting stuff for Jolly Roger is giving me a much-needed break. Nose to the grindstone and so forth....I've been writing non-stop for three weeks now. When completed, it's not going to be a book, but a tome. I've cranked out 4,792 pages so far and it's only half completed."
"I've been writing so fast that I don't have time to put paper in the old Underwood typewriter, so just like Jack Kerouac used to do, I tape the typewriter paper together a leaf at a time so I don't have to bother with stuffing paper in that old dinosaur," Flynt said.
"Do you mean to tell me that you're still using a manual typewriter? You don't have a PC yet?"
"No. I'm using the same typewriter my uncle gave me after my long walk in Germany lugging around my trusty old Thompson submachine gun and later, after graduating from the old U with my bachelor's degree en Ingles. The four years of college comprised a Bacchius-fest of gluttony, licentious wonder, slap-sticky fraternizing, and starlit-blazing glory, but those four long years in the Army were hell!" he said.
"That's amazing. Not the college and war thing, though - I'd figure you'd at least be using an electric contraption to crank out all those pages....Even a generic Montgomery Ward rattletrap would be a lot better to use than an old Underwood manual typewriter."
"No, I've never been into the keeping up with the Joneses of this materialistic capitalistic society. The next thing you know, I'll have my former students wanting to text me on a sell phone," Flynt said.
"How do you spell that"
"S-E-L-L," Flyut said.
"No Feducious, it's C-E-L-L. Get with the program! C-E-L-L. That's the proper spelling. You should know such things, you're an English Comp professor!"
"Ah, I'm just an old curmudgeon who's lost in time and space. Anyhow, this novel is based in real science, with the latest in scientific theory at its roots. It's based on these two twin brothers, Isaac and Ithica Ikes, who are traveling through space at twice the speed of light in their homemade spaceship. And according to the latest in scientific theory, having a lone space voyager ripping through space at such a high speed would create such a phantom double. In actuality, the spaceship is being driven by an Amish farmer, Elijah Aaron, who built the extraterrestrial monstrosity in his barn between crop harvesting times. But because of the high rate of speed in which he's flying though the universe's dark matter, he's regurgitated and vomited into two very evil twins."
"That's absolutely amazing," I said.
"It's been a common plot in science fiction novels, based in science, that if someone travels at a higher speed than the speed of light, then the space traveler is actually going backwards in time. Well, Elijah Aaron gets younger and younger in my book, then, right when he looks like an infant, out pop these two twin brothers, Isaac and Ithica Ikes, right out of thin air," Flynt said.
"Isaac Ikes emerges first, going backwards in time as the spaceship crashes through space, then he's annihilated by his twin Ithica. This scientific process has been suggested as a hypothesis by Robert Nemiroff, a physicist at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, as he's described in a paper published in May in the preprint journal arXiv.," my dear old teacher said.
"Sounds compelling. A real page turner."
"Yes. 4,792 pages and still counting to countdown. After Isaac is destroyed by his evil twin, Ithica, the novel ends. But I haven't gotten that far yet. I'm still writing about how Elijah Aaron is assembling his spacecraft in his big barn between planting winter wheat and plowing his fields for summer corn."
"I don't think many publishers would be interested in a science fiction novel spanning 9,000-and-some pages," I said.
"Oh Hasenpfeffer to you!," Flynt ridiculed. "Who hasn't heard that Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity means that nothing can travel faster than light in a vacuum?" Mister Flynt snorted. "It's common knowledge. But it's not exactly true. Although it's quite possible to travel at such speeds, if you're a genius Amish farmer/mechanic with a lot of patience and a lot of time on your hands, but relativity dictates that anything with mass becomes heavier as it zips faster and faster, so reaching and surpassing the speed of light would take infinite energy."
"Go on," I said. [To tell you the truth, I wasn't following all this scientific mumbo-jumbo at all, but Mister Flynt was so emotive and excited, I let him spout off, like a spinning top. And like a spinning top eventually stops spinning and tumbles to its side, Feducious would quit his lecturing sooner or later and be gone - to who knows where.]
So the gray-headed, squat, antediluvian relic continued pontificating: "Though physicists can send subatomic particles called muons forward through time, the issue with backward time travel is causality," Flynt said (no, he didn't say this, but it says it here). "Time has an arrow, and that arrow points forward. Without this safeguard, all sorts of absurd situations can occur, such as the so-called grandfather paradox, the plot device in 'Back to the Future' and several other sci-fi films. If you go back in time and kill your grandfather before he has your dad, how would you exist to go back in time in the first place?"
"Strange as it sounds, neither special relativity nor particle physics has a time orientation," Flynt said (no, he didn't say that, but it says it here). "In fact, antiparticles, the antimatter partners of regular particles, can be interpreted as either antimatter particles going forward in time or real particles traveling back in time, And the equations of special relativity mean that an object going faster than the speed of light would travel backward in time. All this has been written about by Sabine Hossenfelder, a theoretical physicist at Nordita in Stockholm, Sweden, who blogs at BackReaction," Mister Flynt told me as the mall was about ready to close. Janitors were using mops to clean the floor for the next day's foot traffic to enjoy a clean walking experience.
"I'm confused," I said.
"So am I," Feducious said.
"Tell you what, I'll send you a copy of the book when it's out."
"You do that. Make sure you mail it bulk rate. I don't want you to have to take out a loan just to send that heavy monster my way."