Monday, 6 February 2012

Worlds Apart - Debbie Bennett

I took this photo a few years ago on holiday in Wales. It's a view towards the sea from Harlech Castle - a place I had many adventures as a young teenager (my friend's parents had a holiday cottage in Harlech). We'd invent whole new backgrounds for ourselves - gypsies, run-aways-from-the-circus, princesses-in-hiding, undercover secret agents - and we'd rope in any poor unsuspecting children we could find to see how far we could stretch our lies. I do wonder what the other kids went back to tell their parents.

But this is a photo into another world. If you ignore the tiny spec of 21st century Britain at the bottom, then this could be a portal, The Door Into Summer, or gateway to another dimension altogether. In the photo, the arrangement of the trees, hedges and shadows looks almost like a path zig-zagging to the ocean where there'd be a ship sailing to the land on the far horizon - the Lleyn Peninsula in this case. Who knows what adventures you could have in a world like this.

One of my favourite books as a teenager was Carl Sagan's Cosmos. I suspect Mr Sagan has now been replaced by cool and trendy Brian Cox, who even managed to make gravity fascinating on television over Christmas, but it will always be Mr Sagan who introduced me to the idea of other dimensions:
 
Imagine you live in two dimensions on a piece of paper. There is no up-down, only front-back and left-right. What happens when there is a hole in the paper and an object falls through from the 3rd dimension? The paper people only see something appear out of nowhere, change shape (as the object crosses the plane of the paper) and then disappear.  Now fold your piece of paper back on itself so the ends touch. Your paper people can walk all around their two-dimensional world and yet end up back where they started from. Scale all that up by one dimension and imagine how we would view a 4-dimensional object in our world.

A very quick precis of a whole chapter that fascinated me - and still does to this day. It inspired a love of fantasy and science-fiction and became the skeleton on which I hung my first YA fantasy novel Edge of Dreams. What if there are other worlds right here, right now? Sharing our space in another dimension. Have you ever wondered why a cat will sit at the front door and decline to go out when you show him it's raining, yet will immediately go to the back door as if it will be different out there? I'm a great believer in black holes being rips in 3-dimensional space-time and leading to  another part of our universe (imagine your piece of paper screwed up into a ball with a hole then pierced through it with a needle and thread. You've created a black hole in your paper world).

And if that is possible, so is anything else in our world, limited only by our imagination.

YA fantasy, certified 100% vampire-and-werewolf-free.
Not even any zombies.


www.debbiebennett.co.uk for more musings and ramblings on life, my writing, my world and any other bizarre topics that inspire me to put fingers to keyboard ...

7 comments:

Dan Holloway said...

mm, yes, the book of Cosmos was one of my prized possessions. My wife and I got the DVD of the series a few months ago - and it's still as good as ever. The other person who got me started on science was Feynman

madwippitt said...

I'm not sure whether I'm scared or fascinated ... I loved the film, but maybe I should go search out the book now.
I've just read the free teaser for your book and enjoyed it very much - I have a huge backlog of reading to work through, but have now added yours to the list!

Susan Price said...

Lovely post, Debbie - a comment from another lover of Sagan and Feynmann!
I remember being very jealous when I read Sagan's novel. It just wasn't fair that he should be so talented in two such different fields!

Dan Holloway said...

which reminds me of two more of the great polymaths of that era, Sue - Michael Ignatieff and Jonathan Miller.

Debbie said...

@Susan. Oh, yes - Carl Sagan's Contact. Awesome book and even better movie! My 15 year old is obsessed with Brian Cox's book (an up-to-date Cosmos) and is just as fascinated by it all as I am.

Enid Richemont said...

Loved reading this post, Debbie. Magic = science = astronomy = magic... une ronde eternelle.

Hywela Lyn said...

Great post, I'm a fan of Carl Sagan's too! And lovely photo - my beloved Wales, and I agree it does look like it could be a portal into another world - and my dog does that thing of thinking the weather's going to be different in the back garden too!