Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fine-Tuned Literary World

I don’t know how many of you have read Stephen Hawking or others talking about the fine-tuned universe. This is the idea that the odds against the universe supporting life—or maybe the odds against the universe itself as we know it—were a trillion to one. Everything had to go right in a series of steps—maybe a billion of them—to create the conditions that led to us. Every step, every choice, the right one. It’s an interesting theory, and might at this point be more than a theory.

When the ULA was formed in 2000, the odds against us getting anyplace were great. We had an infinitesimal chance. We were a band of unknown writers without funds, without connections, without credentials of any kind. Every step we made had to be on point—and they were on point, because all of our opening moves had been plotted in advance, the same way a football coach will plot out the first dozen plays in a game. Nothing happened by accident.

Think of a science fiction novel in which the ULA spaceship is hurtling through space. A giant force field stretches before us, too extensive to go around. It may stretch to eternity on all sides. Our only chance to get through the field is to spot a temporary hole in it—one of a very few occasional holes opening up for brief periods of time, then closing. Windows of opportunity.

In 2000/2001 we spotted one of those holes in the literary galaxy map, and almost got our tiny craft through it, before the hole closed and the ULA vehicle was shattered. Now we’re searching for another window through the dense field. The opportunity, if it arrives, will be brief.

This is why we need a set plan and a cohesive team, with everyone on the same page. A captain of the ship, perhaps, but for certain a navigator, preferably a navigator who’s been on the journey before, has seen the waiting pitfalls, and who may also be carrying a map.

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