Thank you to the members of this longstanding book club for hosting me on September 16, 2019. They read "Ticking", sent me some great questions and listened with interest to the answers. I had a wonderful time (and I know Stanley did, too). I hope to return to discuss "Ticking: The Hawking Sequence" soon!
Antigravity smartwatch charger
Part of the fun associated with being a writer is discovering real things that seem imaginary. Such was the case for me when I discovered, for Ticking: A Tale of Two Time Travellers, the antigravity smartwatch charger.
Beatrice needed a charger for the smartwatches she had purchased and modified, with Alim’s help. She decided to spend a little more for an antigravity smartwatch charger, which allowed her smartwatch to "levitate" while charging. She figured that it was a great way to present the catalytic device to the chrononauts and, when the time came, to others. The combination of the 18th Century concept of the cloche (a silver food cover) covering the 21st Century concept of the antigravity smartwatch charger was, for her, irresistible.
In Ticking: The Hawking Sequence, she was obligated to show it to Sam Richter.
Bea lifted the lid revealing a smartwatch mounted on a wrist-shaped support. The watch and support hovered noiselessly and slowly rotated.
Richter stood to get a better look. With his hands on his hips, he chuckled, then muttered, “Well, what do you know…”.
“Lots, believe me!” Beatrice shot back, “But, some people only want the short version. Anyway, this is an antigravity smartwatch charger. There’s an electromagnetic field in the base that wirelessly transfers power to the smartwatch.”
Poor Helena. In the second book, she was so amazed by the sight of the hovering smartwatch that she almost gave herself away as being from another time.
These chargers retail for about $200.
Beatrice had selected an isolated booth in the coffee shop. Still, she leaned forward onto her elbows, holding her coffee mug in both hands. She quietly told Alim the truth; she had developed rudimentary time travel.
Alim gasped, Has she literally done it?
Wildly and uncharacteristically, he shouted the first thing that came to mind, “Prove it!”
Other coffee shop patrons turned to see who had shouted. Alim cleared his throat, leaned forward and repeated in a whisper, “Prove it.”
Knowing Alim as she did, Beatrice had come prepared. She smiled confidently and said, “Alright…”
She reached into her handbag and extracted what looked like a newspaper and a woman’s shoe. She handed both over the table to Alim, saying, “Both items are from the past. They are not definitive examples of time travel, by any means, well, not here in this coffee shop, in any case. I mean, you could subject both items to carbon dating, if you wished. As you know, pretty much any organic compound can be dated.”
Alim unfolded the newspaper. He had to admit that it was like new, the paper white and the ink clear. He looked at the date.
Beatrice continued, “The newspaper, as you can see, is from 1942. It was brought back from that year by my dog. Yes, my dog, Legal the Beagle, in a pouch on his back. As I say, the paper might not be the best proof for you; you can get historical newspapers from a variety of sources. But Alim, look at its pristine condition. Even the ink! You cannot get one that new…because there aren’t any! Now, check out the shoe.”
He picked up the shoe – of a simple design with just the hint of a heel – and said, “Sure, the shoe is very much great.” Alim had retained some of his ‘Inglish’; that is, Indian pronunciation of English, “It looks authentic, but you could have purchased it somewhere or even had it made, Bea.”
“Sure, I could have, but I didn’t. What you’re holding is genuine 18th Century woman’s footwear made with all-natural materials. It was worn by Helena on her trip from 1766 to here and now. Most women’s shoes from the period featured heels. But, because Helena is so tall, she prefers no heel. She told me!”
Sam Richter is the diplomatic agent who had volunteered to see young Skypilot safely home to Canada after his ordeal in Africa, when Sky’s parents were murdered. Sam had become a friend of the family.
Now a Canadian Security Intelligence Service operative, Sam was not in Fraserdale just for the wedding of Skypilot and Helena. He had been directed to find out more about the scientist, Beatrice Westover.
CSIS routinely observes the activities of scientific leaders to ensure that national interests are not being subverted. Ms. Westover was a leading scientist at a prominent research agency; an agency that has been on the cutting edge of technological advances in quantum theory and the space-time continuum. That alone placed that agency and its leaders under the scrutiny of CSIS.
The national intelligence service had learned that Ms. Westover continues to be employed, but, curiously, works primarily from her suburban home.
As Richter’s boss in Ottawa had put it during his briefing, “We assume that the nature of the research agency is to maintain a collaborative work environment to forward knowledge in its primary areas of research; not to have leading employees working in isolation over a lengthy duration. She may be, knowingly or not, an information security threat.”
Director Hancock, the steely-eyed boss, leaned forward and slapped a report with the back of his hand, “And, to top it off, the Canadian Space Agency confirms that she is a former astronaut candidate. She turned down an opportunity to fly into space, citing ‘personal reasons’. Something stronger than mere gravity must have kept her on earth.”
He paused, then scratched his chin, “Find out what’s keeping her grounded, Sam.”
So having returned from London in 1766, where do you think Sky and Zac are headed next? Aunt Beatrice thinks that they should travel back in time to prove that Jesus Christ, the man, existed. And her colleague, Alim, with his knowledge of Aramaic (the language of Jesus) agrees.
What are your suggestions for a destination?
The book signing was a huge success, thanks to all those who attended. I hope that you enjoy reading "Ticking" and that you let me know what you thought of it.
I will be at Chapters, Coquitlam Centre on Saturday April 13 between 1 and 3 pm to sign a copy of Ticking for you. Please drop by; I’ll have softcovers for sale and signing. For those of you who have read the book, I’ll have a place for your comments. See you then!
A MUST READ BOOK! TICKING captured and held my attention from beginning to end. I am really looking forward to reading TICKING II: The Hawking Sequence to discover what adventures are in store for Sky and his best friend Zac.
The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both.”
James A. Michener (writer, 1907-1997)