Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Theories for Everything

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One of our themes this month on Here Be Magic is fathers. My father is a character with a capital C. The man is a dreamer, a thinker and a creator. He’s responsible for my love of all things speculative, and not just because his bookshelf was stocked with science fiction and fantasy. More, he encouraged me to keep an open mind—about everything. According to him, everything is possible; we just have to figure out how to do it. This includes travel outside our solar system, visiting with aliens, alternate realities, magic, life after death, alternate power sources and nuclear vacuum cleaners. You name it, he’s got a theory for it.

And he writes this stuff down. He has notebooks full of this stuff. Boxes of notebooks. Rooms full of boxes. Yes, I grew up with a mad professor masquerading as a computer programmer, and as I am easily coopted, I helped build many of his theories (or, if you like, participated in much of his madness). I still do. Every phone call usually digresses into a discussion about one of our inventions.

Here are some of them:

The Internal Organ Re-arranger or “TIOR”

After his divorce, I helped him move out of a one bedroom apartment into a house that had a forty foot bass line. A what? Well, you see, he has these speakers, monstrous things as tall as I am. They are made by Acoustic Research, which back when he bought them, would have cost him as much as a small car. (You’re beginning to understand why he’s divorced, aren’t you?) The theory was that if you stood far enough away, you’d feel the bass. Really feel it. So we set up the stereo (before we got the rest of the furniture in the room), put on Pink Floyd’s “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” and waited for the bass to hit us.

It did and it was kind of amazing. We had to perch on the kitchen counter—forty feet away from the family room—but the way the music punched through us is something I’ll never forget. It’s also when we started talking about other applications for sonic reverberation and decided that carefully refined, it could be used to rearrange someone’s insides. If you’ve ever been at a loud concert, you’ve probably felt something like it.

Sonic weapons are mostly science fiction, which is a good thing. The right frequency can have devastating effects on delicate tissue, including the brain and other internal organs. Currently, the technology is mostly being used in crowd control situations. Damage to the eardrums can be enough to disorient and/or incapacitate someone. Less powerful soundwaves can cause nausea.

We obviously didn’t invent these applications, but I do sometimes wonder if the people who did happened to walk past the sweet spot between two distant, powerful speakers and think Oooh…ahhh.

The Board of Directors

Much to my mother’s dismay, neither my father nor I believe in a single god. We don’t really believe in the idea of godhood at all. Not in the usual sense, anyway. We do, however, think the Greeks were on to something.

It’s easy to understand how the Greek pantheon came into being. Myth is a great way of explaining the inexplicable—until we figure out how it actually happened. Dad and I don’t need a theory explaining thunder and lightning. We get that one. And we’re pretty well versed in how we crawled out of the ocean all those millennia ago, grew legs and went around looking for forty foot bass lines. But we’re both fascinated with the idea that there might be something out there, controlling it all.

What if our universe is basically a big snow globe? And if it is, who’s picking it up and shaking it now and again? We think it’s rather impractical to imagine it’s just one being, also a single being is likely to be utterly mad. It’s not good to be alone for too long. So we think there’s a board of directors out there. A group of administrators. They form committees for division of labor—dividing up galaxies and projects. As you know, committees rarely get beyond hammering out what they’d like to accomplish, let alone how they’re going to set about achieving these goals.

This is why we haven’t met the aliens yet.

The Aliens Are Among Us

Tired of waiting for the board of directors, the aliens have been visiting us for years using trans-dimensional doorways—and because a committee would close these doors if they found them, the aliens assume human skins and live among us with mostly peaceful intent.

Our next door neighbor was an alien. He had a wife and kids, but he didn’t understand how houses worked. They kept their living room furniture on the porch rather than, you know, inside the house. And the family had an unnatural appetite for fish and chips. Perhaps their own unique biology needed more grease than the rest of us. The guy also traveled a lot to strange places. Like, most people would go to the city on business, right? Not our neighbor. He went to the country. The way out country, of which we have a lot in Australia.

There are entire alien communities in the Outback. You know this, right?

I could continue for hours sharing our theories, but I won’t. I have stories to write (which may or may not be based on one or all of the above). But before I go, I’ll wish all the dads a happy day on the nineteenth and encourage them to keep dreaming for their kids, and to encourage them to dream with you. 

(All the images in this post were sources from

About Kelly

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. A lot of what she writes is speculative in nature, but sometimes it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

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