Homecoming coverThe Bounceabout is the crew’s nickname for exploration ship XP-13. Why? Well, to explain that I need to explain a bit about how faster-than-light travel works in my universe.

I know, it’s not really possible to go faster than the speed of light. But how do you have an interstellar plot if you cannot assume simultaneity, which is ruled out by relativity? So I am making the following assumptions:

1. Electromagnetic radiation does indeed travel at the speed of light.

2. Esper talents (telepathy, telekinesis, levitation, teleportation) are instantaneous, as are their mechanical versions such as sub-light communications and jump gates. However, they are subject to distance limitations.

3. Interstellar travel is accomplished via “jump points” (you can call them wormholes if you prefer) which can be flagged with sub-light beacons. Transit between two jump-points is reasonably smooth if the exact positions of both are known.

4. Unflagged jump points can be detected via electromagnetic radiation, but of course if a jump-point is five light-years away, what you will detect is where the jump-point was five years ago. Transition to an unflagged jump point (location not precise)  is (a) rough and (b) tends to do strange things to artificial gravity fields and force fields. As a result of this, exploratory jumps are taken in free fall with all people on board physically webbed into place – and they need to be!

The practical result is that while travel within the known parts of the Confederation is fast and reliable, the expansion of the Confederation, depending on exploration, is slow and the Confederation itself has a very strange shape.

In Homecoming, even Lai quickly comes to call the XP-13 the Bounceabout!

I’m doing my A to Z blogs from my books, both characters and background information. For characters I’ll introduce them quickly, say what point of time they’re talking from since their situations change drastically through the books, and let them talk. Background information will vary according to what I’m talking about. All of these blogs will be scheduled to go live just after midnight Alaska time.

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