Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Review - How to Build a Time Machine

Hi all,

I finished the non-fiction book How to Build a Time Machine by Paul Davies a few weeks ago, but I have not had time, until now, to write a quick review of it.

It is a short book at some 135 pages (excluding the bibliography) and would be even shorter if some of the totally unnecessary drawings of people like Stephen Hawking were removed. But a short book is a good book for me at the moment as I struggle to finish reading another 760 page fantasy epic (another review next week maybe).

In places, I found it hard to understand the science Davies was describing, and I one of the small minority who actually read A Brief History of Time from cover to cover, and thought I understood it at the time. My science background is just year 12 physics at high school, which I did reasonable well at.

The main premise of the book is the feasibility of building a time machine by creating a wormhole. This would enable both forward and backwards time travel between the times at each end of the wormhole. The energy involved is massive, more energy then produced by our sun, so the likelihood of such an engineering feat is not great.

I, as well as others, have argued that if it was possible to travel into the past, then why aren’t those travellers here now and why hasn't someone from the broke, sweltering and seawater inundated world of the future come back and knocked off George W Bush before he stuffed up the world. Davies counters by saying that future time travellers will only be able to travel back to the time when a wormhole was created.

Having said I had trouble understanding some of the science, I also found that I was familiar with the concepts and ideas in other sections of the book.

I did get one idea for a story out of reading How to Build a Time Machine.

Overall, I would recommend this book to a reader who knows a bit about science who has not read much about the concept of time travel.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

My writing week (26)

Hi all,

My word count is on the way up. I am currently writing chapter eighteen and the plot is diverging from the outline due to recalcitrant characters.

I printed out a story from to critique, but I haven't got around to reading it yet.

I read very little due to tiredness.

Overall, not a great week for my writing aspirations.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

My writing week (25)

Hi all,

So far this year I have written at least a couple of sentences of my novel on every single day. This was my aim and I had hoped it would lead to an impressive increase in my writing output, unfortunately that has not really been the case. Although my average daily word output has increased, the writing every day goal has seemed to become an end in itself. Just to be able to say 'I did it', I will continue to write every day this year. Next year things will change. I am thinking of setting a goal of 7,000 words a week, written on one, two or seven of those days.

I have now written 82,000 words of the novel I am working on. Yesterday I pulled out the outline and divided the what happens next section up into three more chapters, perhaps 15,000 words. The end is near. But last night I got to thinking that I was still finishing the story with a potentially unresolved ending - depending on how much the reader had read into what had happened - and wondered if I should add an extra chapter.

The novel is all about trust and I want its readers to decide if they trust the main character's version of what is going on or think that he has misinterpreted events. I was not going to tell the reader whether the main character's version of events was correct, just let the reader decide. The extra chapter would answer the question of whether the main character's view of the universe was correct. I think I will probably end up writing it and then decide whether to include it.

I've read yet another article about an author who took years to write their first novel. Steve Toltz, the Australian nominated for this year's Booker, took four years to write it after struggling for 13 years to write a novel. I think I should stop thinking about all these novelists who take years, sometimes a decade or more to write a novel because it makes me feel okay about taking forever to produce something. It's time to place some time limits on my writing goals.

I intend to finish writing the first draft of this novel by the end of this year and then return to the first draft of a previous 126,000 word novel that needs a total rewrite. My goal will be to rewrite it in 130 days. A modest goal by the standards of many writers, but nevertheless a goal that should see my output increase markedly.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

My writing week (24)

Hi all,

I mentioned last week that I was sick, so I did very little writing. But even though I was feeling a bit depressed about my ongoing, active/not active illness, I still managed to write every day.

After a bit of should I or shouldn't I, I eventually decided to risk work today, without any problems, so there are signs that one of the many medications I am currently taking might actually be doing its job or time might just be the healer, as I have read it is in 80% of medical complaints. I did zero reading and critiquing last week.
I hope to write more this week.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

My writing week (23)

Hi all,

My long-term illness has struck back with vengance in the past couple of weeks, particularly this week. I haven't been to work this week, but because of tiredness, brought on by stress about the illness, I have been doing very little writing, just constantly contacting doctors and specialists.

Last week I had a good writing week. I sent the critique of the novel I had spent about four months critiquing, and the author was happy to get it. It helped her in a few decision she was making about it.

Got to go, got another doctor's appointment.

Friday, October 3, 2008

New Scientist - Favourite Science-fiction book/movie

Hi all,

New scientist wants people to vote for their favourite science-fiction book and film. I voted for George Turner's The Sea and Summer for the book - still tossing up what film to vote for.