A world building discussion on a science fiction writers board I frequent took a curious turn when somebody asked: how do we approach topics that are still very much theoretical (in other words…topics that have still not been proven or disproven)? The concept of time was named specifically. So was the concept of extra dimensions.
I happen to be working on stories that involve those concepts, as well as a story involving alternate realities, so I felt the urge to participate.
Quite obviously, every science fiction author has his/her own slant on how those concepts actually exist, and I’ve always believed that such liberties are justified because our planet’s greatest theoretical minds still don’t have indisputable evidence as to their actual nature and mechanics.
One of the board’s participants shared that his approach of including such topics in his stories involves gathering and reading as much information as he can, then letting it ‘cook.’
That’s just about the same way I’ve been approaching that task. I’ve read more theoretical information on those three topics than I expected to find. I’ve held those theories up against the stories I wanted to tell, and vice versa; what I discovered was that, in addition to making adjustments to the stories themselves, I was rewriting the rules—the very existence!—of the Directions of Time, the higher dimensions, and alternate realities in ways that made sense for the stories. It was an interesting and educational checks and balances dance: the published thoughts of others kept me from twisting these theories in contriving ways just to keep my original storyline intact, and my desire to tell a unique story tasked me to push these theories in directions others might not yet have considered or imagined.
Of course, I won’t have a true indication as to how plausible are my theories and how entertaining are my stories until these works are published. Check back with me in a hundred years or so.
Or, depending on what I conclude about the directions of Time, check back with me yesterday.