So this week I was reading Spin, the Hugo award-winning novel by Robert Charles Wilson, in which mysterious aliens give Earth the Krikkit treatment by encasing it in a “membrane” that induces an extremely steep time differential between what’s inside and what’s outside. Hilarity ensues.
Because time passes so much faster outside the Spin membrane than inside, the scientists of Earth devise various stratagems for gaining information and/or escaping the Spin. One of these is sending manned rockets to Mars, where, within the span of a few months of Spin time, terraforming proceeds and a civilization is established, develops for a hundred thousand years or so, and, ultimately, sends a probe back to Earth with an ambassador aboard:
He painted Mars as a foreign but entirely human place, the kind of place you might like to visit, where the people were friendly and the scenery was interesting, although the winters, he admitted, were often harsh.
(“Sounds like Canada,” Carol said.)
Oooh. Catty, Carol. Very catty.
Meanwhile, speaking of things that seem to be taking about a hundred thousand years to develop, editing continues on Father’s Books! Since I’m working very close to the end of the book, I’m awash in spoilers, but they can be mitigated somewhat by replacing named speaker attributions with pronouns. To wit:
“Okay,” he said. “Now what?”
The ghostly visage swiveled to face him. Underneath it, her head didn’t move, but her mouth did, in time with the old man’s pale rubbery translucent lips.
She said, “Here he comes.”
Here who comes? The judge? Peter Cottontail? The Martian ambassador? You’ll just have to read it to find out …