The working title of the sequel to Wake Turbulence is Collision Course. I spent most of the first half of 2022 doing research, but now I’m writing scenes and refining plotlines. There will be new characters, and some we’ve gotten accustomed to may not make it to the end. I don’t know yet. The story is already beginning to drive itself in unexpected directions.
I have mentioned in several descriptions of the series that the Alcubierre Metric Connection stories are plot driven. In preparation for writing this post explaining what that means, I Googled “plot driven stories” in order to see how others had defined the term and find a few sites to provide for you to compare other opinions with mine. The result was not what I had expected.
Although there are a wide variety of opinions about whether plot-driven stories are desirable, there is little disagreement as to what they are, and the first site at the top of my search list had an excellent post about the contrast between plot-driven and character-driven stories. If I were to have written my own description, it would have been remarkably like that one, so here is the link to it instead: https://www.skillshare.com/blog/a-guide-to-character-driven-vs-plot-driven-stories/
I have always been one of those who have preferred plot-driven stories, and the plot is what excited me when the idea for Wake Turbulence first erupted in my head in 2011. The story, of course, produced characters. They developed lives of their own and their lives became significantly character-driven, so in the end the book was driven both by its plot and by its characters. CATSPAW evolved the same way. I think that mix is essential for good novels regardless of which mode predominates, and I’m delighted that my characters made it happen.
An open access paper (which means you can download it for free) recently published in a peer reviewed physics journal is an amazing and gratifying coincidence. The lead author is Harold “Sonny” White who I acknowledged as having inspired Wake Turbulence with his 2011 seminar on the Alcubierre metric. The content has to do with generating that metric using the quantum Casimir effect which was the core of the plot of CATSPAW. Here’s the citation and link:
As the freighter Sensei Maru steamed eastward in the Indian Ocean, about 140 nautical miles southwest of Adelaide enroute from the Middle East to Melbourne, optical and radio telescopes over that half of the globe reported strong signals at wavelengths ranging from radio waves through light and even up to gamma rays. At each instrument, the recorded signal looked like a single, large pulse that decayed quickly. Globally, these pulses occurred nearly simultaneously.
At the moment the telescopes were seeing the pulses, Captain Takahashi was on deck taking a smoke and catching the breeze. He was startled by a sudden, brilliant apparition in the sky. The collision of two aircraft? Should he report it to someone? He went to the bridge and contacted his company. After a short discussion with a company officer, he was told that they would notify Australian authorities and he should make a log entry describing what he’d seen.
At 4:45 PM Central Australian Standard Time, Takahashi entered the following:
15 September 0703 UTC – a bright flash of light appeared in the sky to starboard about ten degrees down from the zenith, almost due south of our position, which I estimate was 36.925 S, 137.04 E at the time. The event did not last long enough for any attempt to measure its altitude and azimuth with an instrument. The flash was followed by oppositely directed streaks propagating generally easterly and westerly from there. The streaks faded and vanished in seconds. There were no unusual sounds during or after the event. I could not identify the source, but some sort of incident involving aircraft seems possible.
He hoped that the Australian search and rescue services could locate any survivors.
The eBook formatting is still in work. My interior designer should send me the file later this week. As soon as I approve the Amazon proof it will be available and, of course, a good bit less expensive than the paperback. Either format, it’s a story I expect you will enjoy!
As I get deeper into the research for Collision Course, my planned sequel to the soon to be released Wake Turbulence in the Alcubierre Metric Connection series, I am discovering fascinating properties of so-called “exotic matter” that has negative energy and negative mass.
If I were twenty-two and choosing now, I think I’d become a cosmologist rather than an atmospheric physicist. The atmosphere is a rewarding thing to study and understand – but we’ve lived with it all our lives. There’s wonder and beauty there, but not a great deal of genuine surprise and certainly little that generates a “no way – surely that can’t happen” reaction.
I don’t know whether this exotic matter exists in the real world – and neither does anyone else yet – but it is needed to make an Alcubierre warp bubble, so it is needed in Collision Course. I have to understand it well enough to get the science right in the story line and even more thoroughly if my characters are going to make it accessible to my readers. It’s hard work. I’m enjoying every minute of it.