Sunday, 10 April 2011

This week's word is: NOTHING

Hello dragon fans. You might be tempted to think that with a header like that there would be no blog post at all this week, but clearly you are wrong (hrrr!). The header refers to the fact that for the last week or so, the author has been wandering around thinking about nothing. I don’t mean that no thoughts have entered his head. If you were to put a small telescope to his ear and peer inside you would still see tiny lights blinking on every time he mused about soccer or breakfast or whether to scratch his nose or not. The tumbleweed is still moving. No, what he’s been thinking about is the concept of nothing. That’s very different. And slightly baffling. Let me explain.
 
The other night we were watching an interesting TV programme on precisely this subject. The presenter, a very clever professor, held a plastic box in his hands and said, “Imagine you could take everything out of this box, all the air, all the dust, all the light etc. What would you be left with?” The author raised his hand and muttered, “Erm, a vacuum.” The professor nodded and said, “Yes, but even in the vacuum tiny particles of matter and anti-matter spontaneously appear and almost instantaneously disappear again.” This bizarre idea sent the author’s tumbleweed into a real spin. “How can that happen?” he asked. But he didn’t address the question to the professor, he addressed it to me.
 
It’s all to do, of course, with what humans call ‘physics’ or that fascinating branch of physics that Arthur Merriman is intrigued by, ‘quantum mechanics’. Without going into mind-boggling detail (even a dragon as smart as me can’t truly explain the wonders of spontaneous creation) it appears that at the tiniest, tiniest levels of existence (i.e. within atoms) particles don’t obey the normal laws of movement. They tend to dash about randomly. Famous scientists like Einstein have studied this for decades and no-one has a real explanation for it. One scientist in particular, a rather brilliant man called Paul Dirac, went as far as to say that quantum mechanics could not properly be described in words but only in physical or visual concepts. Put another way, we may not be able to explain the entire mechanics of creation, but we can certainly recognise or experience its effects.
 
So how does this apply to The Last Dragon Chronicles? Well, it will come as no surprise to you to know that dragons are in tune with the auma of the universe. We understand time and energy and matter – and their relationship to consciousness. We can’t explain the laws that govern it (even in dragontongue), we can only be one with its different states of being. And sometimes, in extreme circumstances, we can interact with it... Notice the use of the word ‘sometimes’ there? Every week, the author receives several messages from fans asking, “What happened at the end of Dark Fire? Where did everyone go? Why did Zookie write ‘sometimes’? What does ‘sometimes’ mean?” (Haven’t they realised yet that the author knows nothing???) If you split ‘sometimes’ into two words ‘some times’ maybe the concept gets a little easier. In the battle of Scuffenbury Hill, time is suspended and everything focuses on that one point. At first it appears that nothing is happening. But as we’ve already discovered ‘something’ is always spontaneously happening out of nothing, and that something, in this instance, is a miniscule leap into another possible timeline, the parallel universe described in FIRE WORLD (only 16 days before it’s published in America, btw). Don’t worry, we will be coming back to Earth and Scuffenbury, but doing it via another jump in time. For as David becomes more attuned to the dragon auma within him, and Zanna learns how to control the energy of tornaqs (particularly through her increasing compatibility with unicorns) they find they are able to move into the ‘future’ or the ‘past’ with ease, and that takes them all the way back to Gawain. The only problem, of course, is that their old adversary Gwilanna is there as well, and a slight step ahead of them… Until next time. Happy reading. Hrrr!

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