Monday, 7 July 2014

New Horizon

(An excerpt from my first sci-fi novel, unpublished).

The machine was ready. I connected a charged capacitor, accelerating thousands of electrons down through a superconductor. This huge collective acceleration downwards formed a Rindler horizon three astronomical units up in space, nearly as far away as Jupiter. As I’d predicted everything in a column above my machine also saw this horizon and was attracted to it, including a model spaceship sitting freely on top of the machine. It shot upwards and smashed into the ceiling, which was held in place by its solidity, and I whooped with delight as the pieces fell on me. There was a spate of mad barking from the dog in the flat above, and my neighbour shouted down.

‘What are you doing down there? That bang made my dog jump three feet into the air in shock!’

Ah, the ability of people to fit strange observations into a mundane world view!

‘Sorry, just playing ball!’

I’d overestimated the effect and hadn’t meant to launch spaceships and innocent dogs quite so well. It would be enough to equal gravity rather than beating it. I went back to my desk to do a few simple calculations, looked up at the dent in the ceiling and giggled: there’s something hugely satisfying about knowing something no one else does, especially if knowing it can land you in jail.