Re: Travelling the Stars

Michael Lorrey (
Thu, 10 Dec 1998 16:59:05 -0500

Christian Weisgerber wrote:

> In article <>,
> Brian Atkins <> wrote:
> > Interesting, so if you could somehow get into a tight orbit
> > around a black hole or something massive, and somehow power
> > your craft off a nearby solar source to provide the scads of
> > energy needed, you could get going so fast that you could
> > effectively warp yourself into the future?
> Say again?
> Was there anything in particular in Terry's and Zed's articles, which
> you so elegantly appended in their completeness, that inspired you to
> write the above?
> What do you mean by "warp yourself into the future"?

Warping oneself into the future can easily be done by merely moving into a tight orbit around a black hole. The problem is in what the tide gradient is at that point, which determines whether you can survive the journey or get torn apart like warm taffy. If the orbital velocity is at relativistic levels, then you get time dilation and you age slowly as in a normal near-light speed journey.

The interesting thing about black holes is that theoretically they can be used for pseudo-time travel into the past via what are called Closed Time-like Curves, or CTCs for short. Supposedly, by traveling through the curve back to a time in the past, you create a pseudo-timeline which will merge back with the original time-line once you reach the point in the future from which you originated, leaving a lot of confused people picking up the peices afterward.

There is some doubt whether you can move more than a few quanta into the past using this method, or even if the math is right or not.

Time will tell.

There have been a few good SF novels which hinge on this method, including the last of Arthur C. Clarke's Venus Prime series of novels, Norwood's Time Police, Prof. John Cramer's new novel Einstein's Bridge, and a novel called Kaleidoscope Century (I can't remember the author). I also get the impression that our own Damien Broderick used this concept for his Hex Gates in his fine novel The White Abacus.

Mike Lorrey