When I originally wrote the Tomorrow News Network series back in 2012/2013, I sort of made stuff up as I went along. Which is fine. I had a lot of stories I wanted to tell, and sometimes a writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do.
But now that I’m revising all the T.N.N. stories in preparation for a 2017 relaunch of the series, I find that I’m left with a bunch of continuity problems between stories. So I’m now trying to do the kind of consistent world-building that I should have been doing all along.
In that spirit, today’s post is the first in a series of posts about science in the T.N.N. universe (a.k.a. the chronoverse). Today we begin with what citizens of the chronoverse would call…
Primitive science is what we modern humans think of as classical physics. It’s all about falling apples and the orbits of planets and moons. It’s about objects in motion, and electric currents, and waves of light (not particle-wave duality). Primitive science can give you combustion engines and airplanes, and maybe even computers and rocket ships.
But the most important aspect of primitive science, the one thing that defines it in the context of the chronoverse as a whole, is the illusion of absolute time.
One second of time equals any other second of time. Every day, every hour, every minute… they’re all the same, progressing at a constant rate. Time never goes faster, never goes slower, and it certainly never turns around to go in reverse. At least, that’s how it seems from a primitive scientist’s perspective.
In the chronoverse, modern Earth looks like a fairly primitive planet, but do not be fooled by appearances.
First with Albert Einstein, and then with many others, humanity began to realize that our perception of time is relative, and that time can be affected by forces like gravity or acceleration.
By the end of the 22nd Century, humanity would develop its first so-called light-speed drive system. The name is misleading. Spacecraft still couldn’t travel at the speed of light, but they could come very close to it. As a result, relativistic time dilation (as predicted by general relativity) would no longer be a matter of abstract physics but an everyday reality for travelers all over the Solar System and beyond.
At this point, Earth and its growing number of colonies would have fully transitioned from an era of primitive science to a new age of scientific understanding. And with the illusion of absolute time brushed aside, humanity would have taken its first steps toward uncovering the secret knowledge of time travel.