Fascinating courtly intrigue and bloody power games set on a generation ship full of secrets―Medusa Uploaded is an imaginative, intense mystery about family dramas and ancient technologies whose influence reverberates across the stars. Disturbing, exciting, and frankly kind of mind-blowing.” ―Annalee Newitz, author of Autonomous

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Time Fractured

Time fractured as they were making their way back up the road. Hawkeye didn’t feel the least bit surprised about it. Fractured Time was what had caused human colonists to name the world Jigsaw in the first place, and though you could seldom be sure where it was going to happen, you could always be pretty sure when: at the most inconvenient moment possible.

Though technically, when depended on where you were relative to the Fracture. Inside a Fracture, only Now seems to be happening. This is because Time flows into a Fracture and pools there, before flowing out again, sweeping people along with it. Outside, time flows more or less from past to future, with the observer traveling at the Now point, more or less with the stream of time. So how can you tell a Traveling Now from a Fractured Now? The answer is simple. The Fractured Now lasts a lot longer.

Have you even been on a picnic on a beautiful, sunny day, lying on the blanket with your eyes on the clouds and the warmth on your face, and said, “I wish this moment could last forever?” On Jigsaw, sometimes it does. Or maybe just seems to. It depends on who you ask.

Not that Fractured Time is always a picnic. It happened to Hawkeye once when she was taking a chemistry test. She thought this made perfect sense, since Chemistry was her least favorite subject. Sometimes it happens to people who are standing in line. It could happen just after you fell asleep, so it would seem like you were stuck in your dreams forever. Hopefully they’re good dreams. But you wouldn’t really understand how strange Fractured Time could be unless it happened in the middle of a rainstorm.

When time is flowing from past to future, rain condenses in the clouds. When the drops become heavy enough, they fall to the ground, sometimes splashing people on the way. Sometimes the drops feel almost warm, but usually they’re very cool. Occasionally they’re so cold you can tell they might rather be snow. You can stand and see them raining: condense, fall, splat, condense, fall, splat.

If you’re sitting and taking a chemistry test, you might not notice that time has fractured until you realize that this is the longest test you’ve ever taken in your life. But in a rainstorm, you can hear time fracturing. The pitter-splat of drumming drops is replaced by a beautiful tinkling noise, as if the drops have turned to crystal and are knocking together ever-so-delicately like wind chimes. The condense part of the storm makes the clouds rumble, not like thunder, but like the voices of gods talking about time in a language no mortal could understand. The splat becomes a gentle whoosh, and you can touch your cheek where a drop landed before the fracture and feel the moisture without absorbing it. You can look into the not-falling drops and see fractured light shifting back and forth, and that’s when you know that time has not really stopped at all. If time has stopped, light can’t shift. That’s why people call it Fractured Time, because of the prisms inside the raindrops.

Probably not an accurate term, but everyone is happy with it.

-from Spirits Of Glory , by Emily Devenport

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