Donald Kingsbury

Science Fiction and Science Fact


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      Ancient Metrics

 

Courtship Rite Cover for Analog by Artifact


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PSYCHOHISTORICAL CRISIS, my new book, is due to be published by Tor Books in November 2001, an expansion on the ideas presented in Historical Crisis from Gregory Benford's collection of novellas Far Futures from Tor. What happens when an elite group of psychohistorians achieves their millennial long ambition to rule the Galaxy? Can they keep the secrets of their prediction formulae?


I will soon be adding information to my website about Geta, the world of Courtship Rite, including maps by Karen Seay that were not included in the original editions of the book, also reviews & discussions, and a glossary. Perhaps I will include chapters from The Finger Pointing Solward, the original unpublished novel that takes place about 500 years after Courtship Rite. A piece from this novel appeared as The Cauldron in Northern Stars from Tor Books 1994. Perhaps info on other upcoming novels in the series will appear here. In production at the moment is God Ship's Night. The only previously published story in the Courtship Rite world is Shipwright which appeared in the April 1978 issue of Analog, and in The Best Science Fiction Novellas of the Year #1; Terry Carr, ed, Del Rey, 1979 (preferred edition), and in Imperial Stars Vol. 2, Republic and Empire; Jerry Pournelle, ed, Baen Books, 1987.


I will be including addenda to my novel The Moon Goddess and the Son, Baen 1986, 1987. The paperback version, 1987, left out, by accident, the dedication to Roger Arnold and the introductory Time Patrol Warning. I will also include the background article on the leoport I did with Roger Arnold, The Spaceport, Analog Nov & Dec 1979..


I will be including the research material I used to write the stories The Survivor and The Heroic Myth of Lt. Nora Argamentinein Larry Niven's "Man-Kzin War" series from Baen Books, including my best effort at a Known Space Timeline.


I will eventually add to this site the article Atomic Rockets from Analog, Dec 1978 (on the Los Alamos Dumbo project circa late 50s, early 60s) and the supplementary paper I sent to interested readers. I may also include Dumbo engine's history. Perhaps I will include some updated data -- modern methods of cheaply extracting isotopes have radically changed the constraints on reactor design. Isotopes of the same element vary widely in their neutron cross-sections.


Since 1999 I have been researching ancient measures, and have found startling validation of most of the work done by that amazing metrologist, Livio Catullo Stecchini (whose work I found at http://www.interpres.cz and in Peter Tompkins book Secrets of the Great Pyramid. ) I was trained as a mathematician and patterns emerged from Stecchini's material that Stecchini himself was unaware of, indicating exactly how the ancient metrologists calibrated their measures -- which completely dispels old myths about where the old measures came from. You can bet your ass that they didn't use no king's foot or elbow length! I will be disclosing full details here and link this site with various other internet sites on ancient measures that I have found relevant. Some of this work crept into my new novel Psychohistorical Crisis and you will find in it an appendix which gives a quick overview of ancient metrics and measures.


I have always been interested in "time's arrow" and will include my article from the Feb 1995 Analog, The Janus Headed Arrow of Time. I hope to collect, at my site, from various mathematical and physics friends, an argument that demonstrates that quantum mechanics, unlike general relativity, cannot distinguish between a system in which time is traveling "forward" and a system in which time is traveling "backwards." We cannot use entropy as a decision procedure because both classical and quantum mechanics allows entropy to increase or decrease while time advances -- of course, the probability that entropy is increasing is much higher than the probability that entropy is decreasing. There is no evidence whatsoever that this probability regime ischanged when we move backwards in time, i.e. it is still highly probable that entropy is increasing when we reverse the direction of time in our equations. Nobody has been able to prove otherwise.


I will eventually be including in this site odd assorted papers -- biographical notes, pictures, letters, old stories (say my "prize" winning story from High School, and maybe a few bad stories rejected by John W. Campbell while I was learning to write), old articles like The Right To Breed from Astounding April 1955, in which I predicted to everyone's horror that the earth's population in 2000 AD would be six billion. I am beginning to include some of the 1000 word pieces I did for the McGill student paper (The McGill Daily) in the 50s and 60s and 70s when I was a radical rabble rouser. (When people asked me whether I was "right" or "left" I always said "up," a political position I maintain to this day.)


I will try to keep posted here the science-fiction cons which I intend to attend.