Geoffrey A. Landis

On-line Interactive Interview
Club Wired

This is a mildly edited transcript of a free-form on-line "chat" originally conducted in April as one of Hotwired's weekly "Head Space" internet SF chats. The "Headspace" chat style is rather chaotic and free-form; with three and four topics being discussed at the same time. A lot of fun if your brain is wired for multi-tasking! However, I edited this one to corect some of the typos and also to make it a little more readable by cutting out lines that didn't relate (mostly questions or comments that never got picked up in the discussion). If you want to see the whole chaotic unedited session, the Hotwired site had the full transcript. It's no longer on-line, but may be in archives somwhere.

Martha Soukup: No, Landis hasn't started yet. Should be here any sec.

walshmr: Hi Geoff

Martha Soukup: Why there he is!

Geoffrey A. Landis: I am here -

eltuercas: Welcome, Dr. Landis!

Geoffrey A. Landis: Hi, all

Angus MacDonald: Welcome!

MorisB: hi

*sTaRmAn*: hi

*sTaRmAn*: what do you think of the sodium discovered in Comet Hale-Bopp?

Geoffrey A. Landis: Ah, I guess you want my scientist persona - one moment while I boot that persona up.

Geoffrey A. Landis: [scientist persona] Actually, I don't think about the Sodium discovered in Comet Hale-Bopp very much. What do you think about the giant lightning bolt discovered in the center of the galaxy?

*sTaRmAn*: you mean the black hole thingy?

Geoffrey A. Landis: That too. There's also a light -week long lightning bolt.

Club Wired Moderator: Lightning bolt?

walshmr: I think it's evidence that the Zeus personality is closer to the One True God than we had previously suspected

*sTaRmAn*: the spark of life?

Geoffrey A. Landis: Discovered by some scientist name of Benford, comes from California. But this one is real science, not SF

Angus MacDonald: Really? Benford found that?

Geoffrey A. Landis: yep One of his topics of study is plasma dynamics in the galactic center.

Martha Soukup: Welcome, everybody, Geoffrey A. Landis, Hugo and Nebula winner, subject of a peeve in _The Economist_ for not being, so important a writer as he, in the hardcopy _Encyclopedia of Science Fiction_! Also rescuer of kidnapped bears -

Maureen.McQ: Rescuer of kidnapped bears?

Geoffrey A. Landis: Long story.

Martha Soukup: That was back at Clarion. He's probably too grown-up for that now.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Grown, but not grown up.

Top Quark: That's quite a resume...

Martha Soukup: Anyway, hah, I get to ask instead of answer this question now:

Martha Soukup: Are you writing a novel? Are you going to write a novel? What's the deal with all these short stories anyway?

Quack!: horrible question I could never answer

Geoffrey A. Landis: Well, I'm a quick thrill junkie, I must confess.

Martha Soukup: Good answer!

Geoffrey A. Landis: I write short stories because I'm addicted to the thrill of getting to the end and finding out what happens. I've lately been noticing some of the same characters showing up in different stories, though

wavetrader: does that explain yr interest in faster than light travel?

Geoffrey A. Landis: No, I'm interested in FTL travel because it's way cool.

wavetrader: it is way cool

*sTaRmAn*: Isn't character development sometimes crucial in SF?

Geoffrey A. Landis: Character development is, of course, quite critical in SF as well as in other literature.

Maureen.McQ: Writers without character are rare.

Geoffrey A. Landis: My problem, I guess, is that when I've finished a short story, I seem to have everything I had to say about the character said by the end...

Martha Soukup: Huh. Fancy that.

Quack!: Geoff, why are most sci fi writers hardcore evolutionists

Geoffrey A. Landis: that's a good observation, Quack! Evolution is a good theory for SF writers. It gives you a background that simultaneously explains a lot, sets up plots, and portends both great danger -- and great rewards.

virtualpresident: may I try an answer for Landis to question ... evolutionists see only as far as the big-bang ... otherwise they'd ask which came first?! again

Angus MacDonald: Not me. I say it's turtles all the way down.

virtualpresident: but it doesn't explain Science ... just monkeys

virtualpresident: [and aliens ... yuck]

Geoffrey A. Landis: Well, I'd say that you may be conflating two theories - the theory of evolution (by natural selection), which is a theory of biology, and the big - band theory, which is a theory of cosmology.

*sTaRmAn*: humans, after all, are not all that different than the creature(s) in ALIEN!

Geoffrey A. Landis: (actually, I meant big BANG, but I kinda like the big - band theory of cosmology.

walshmr: it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing

Geoffrey A. Landis: Wonder where Sydney Harris is when you need a cartoon drawn?)

Angus MacDonald: I think he did that one, now that you mention it.

virtualpresident: I like the big - cush theory ... everything missed each other ...

Martha Soukup: So Geoff. You write hard - Analog fiction (and publish it in Asimov's sometimes); you write that litrachure - type stuff, you recently had a strict fairy tale nominated for the Nebula: do you sit down and say "Feel like cranking out Analog today"?

Geoffrey A. Landis: The answer to your question, Martha, is that I write the stories that I can. I'd like to write great literature, but I write the stories that I know how to write. Sometimes they're fairy tales; sometimes they're hard science.

Martha Soukup: So, one day you know how to write hard SF, one day an angst&metaphor - ridden soft - SF tale, one day a fairy tale, one day a sonnet?

Angus MacDonald: What prompted "A Walk in the Sun"?

Geoffrey A. Landis: Actually, "A Walk in the Sun" was inspired by a scientific paper I wrote.

Angus MacDonald: What was the paper's assertion?

Geoffrey A. Landis: I did a paper for the Princeton Space Development conference about different ways to provide power for a moonbase over the lunar night,

Angus MacDonald: Mobile base, then?

Geoffrey A. Landis: and the plot of "A Walk in the Sun" - or at least the gimmick - rather suggested itself.

Geoffrey A. Landis: The problem of a solar powered moonbase, of course, is that the lunar night is 354 hours long.

*sTaRmAn*: lots of Everreadys!

Geoffrey A. Landis: That's an awful long time to run on batteries - even for the Everready Bunny.

virtualpresident: drill a hole through the moon to let sunlight through

Angus MacDonald: Is the Moon's interior warmer or colder than the surface?

Geoffrey A. Landis: The deep interior of the moon is a mystery still.

Geoffrey A. Landis: A few feet below the surface, the temperature of the moon is rather moderate - even during the scorching hot daytimes and freezing night times

KevinKirby: How about a solar - powered Earth?

Angus MacDonald: Petroleum is, ultimately, a product of solar power.

virtualpresident: microwaving power was proposed for Earth ... easier for the moon?!

archalchemyst: Landis: mobile solar panels would eliminate the long night problem...

*sTaRmAn*: what about solar cell power transmission lines on the far side? or at 120 degrees

*sTaRmAn*: or transmit them via microwave towers?

*sTaRmAn*: space the solar cells like we do the TDRS satellites

Geoffrey A. Landis: Actually, these days I work on Mars a lot more than on the Moon.

Quack!: what ideas are you working on now?

Geoffrey A. Landis: Solar power in space is kinda my specialty - I used to design solar cells

virtualpresident: Okay - MARS - how about we nuke the poles to recover the atmosphere from the clathrate?!

wavetrader: how long before we get an effective warp drive going?

Angus MacDonald: Does Mars's distance from the Sun make electrovoltaic stuff harder there?

virtualpresident: or drop comets - a la Sagan's fright - onto the Martian poles?!

Cory Doctorow: Geoff, I've been hearing about a nightmare scenario where some cowboy puts up a cheapo sat, and it crashes into something else in LEO, which turns into shrapnel, crashing into several other somethings in LEO, and so on, until the whole of orbit is useless until all that debris decays.

Geoffrey A. Landis: A lot of questions - do I get to pick and choose which one to answer?

Martha Soukup: Yes you do, Geoff. That's the big perk here: picking and choosing.

Angus MacDonald: Yes; it's your party.

Geoffrey A. Landis: How long before we get a warp drive going? If I had even a clue about that, I wouldn't be sitting here typing!

Cory Doctorow: Any thoughts?

archalchemyst: nuking the poles.... yes everybody would just love radioactive mutations...

MorisB: archal..not our poles but Martian poles

Quack!: what's so great about Mars

Geoffrey A. Landis: Terraforming Mars is an interesting concept, but it is my guess that it would be a lot harder than just a few nukes at the poles. Remember, Mars has giant dust storms. If dust on the poles would give it atmosphere, it would already be there.

MorisB: I agree

Geoffrey A. Landis: - As an aside, I should mention that my last published story was about a terraformed Mars - - or at least about a Mars following ecopoiesis, if not terraforming.

Maureen.McQ: Is that the anaerobic Mars?

archalchemyst: morisb: I know... what's the purpose of Mars having an atmosphere if nobody's gonna live there?

Geoffrey A. Landis: I think that it will be harder than people give it credit for. -- not that it wouldn't be worth doing!

*sTaRmAn*: maybe we should concentrate on retro - terraforming EARTH!

Geoffrey A. Landis: Actually, one of the arguments for studying terraforming of the planets Mars and Venus is so that we can learn how planetary - scale ecosystems respond, so that we can understand what we're doing to earth - and perhaps correct it.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Remember, although the Greenhouse effect has been known since the 1800s, it was first shown to be something with a large effect on planetary temperature as the mechanism that keeps Venus hot, not Earth. Nuclear winter was proposed by scientists investigating dust in the atmosphere of Mars.

virtualpresident: yes, but Venus can be Venuformed by putting air - cities at 54Km where it's balmy and an Earth-pressure

Geoffrey A. Landis: SHHH! That's my next story! Don't let it out!

Geoffrey A. Landis: Ok, what do we talk about now?

KevinKirby: Clarion?

Martha Soukup: What about Clarion?

Geoffrey A. Landis: Well, Martha, you should know about Clarion. You were there.

KevinKirby: Who was teaching there when you went?

Geoffrey A. Landis: Algis Budrys started the Clarion out, then Mike Bishop, Liz Lynn, Joe and Gay Haldeman, and Damon Knight and Kate Wilhelm.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Some superb teachers (and wonderful human beings)

virtualpresident: [what is Clarion? briefly]

Geoffrey A. Landis: virch, Clarion is a 6-week intensive writing workshop for science fiction writers.

Geoffrey A. Landis: It was an excellent experience.

archalchemyst: who would be nice to explain what Clarion is????

Martha Soukup: For me, that Clarion nicely went Bad Cop, Good Cop, Bad Cop, Good Cop, Mixed Cops. Geoff got Mike Bishop and Joe Haldeman mixed up, though. (Both Good Cops.)

Geoffrey A. Landis: All that, and Martha, too!

Maureen.McQ: Some people call it boot camp for writers.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Yes, Tom Disch nicknamed it "boot camp for writers"

Geoffrey A. Landis: More like "summer camp for the really weird" in my estimation.

Quack!: lol

KevinKirby: Do they really pressure you there?

Geoffrey A. Landis: No, you pressure yourself.

Martha Soukup: One of our classmates only wrote one new story the whole six weeks. The rest of it rewriting a novella. No one pressured him.

Angus MacDonald: Which year was that?

Geoffrey A. Landis: 85

virtualpresident: slightly before the space university

KevinKirby: Would you do it again?

Martha Soukup: They won't let you do it again.

Martha Soukup: If they did, there would be Clarion addicts coming year after year -

Geoffrey A. Landis: I would do it again if I could. Although I think that some of my rough edge has worn smooth.

Maureen.McQ: Jim Kelly did it twice.

Geoffrey A. Landis: I think in the early days, they did let people attend twice. Not any more, though

Martha Soukup: Kelly was actually an admin assistant one of those times, though, wasn't we? We had one of those. Clarion alum, and we considered her pretty much a classmate.

Quack!: what about the pictures from Hubble; any new ideas?

Geoffrey A. Landis: I am continually amazed by the new Hubble pictures, Quack.

virtualpresident: I find discoveries lead to stories ... like being the first to see something ... why is that? what do you find inspiring your stories?

Quack!: that one on Time mag last year sure beats the horses head

Geoffrey A. Landis: Which one was on Time? The Hubble shot of Eta Carina blowing up? The one of the colliding galaxies?

Quack!: both of them virtualpresident: My preference is for real - science fiction, rather than fantasy - exploring what might happen, or have happened, rather than excitement ... can we convince the world there's more to science fiction than fiction in a science - setting?

Geoffrey A. Landis: That's my favorite kind of SF - but it's so hard to find... But then, I'm a way choosy audience.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Finding the science ideas that have plots on a human scale - now that's a trick.

Martha Soukup: What's the trick to it?

Geoffrey A. Landis: I have more science ideas than I know what to do with. It's finding characters that's tough.

Quack!: Science that create a conflict at human level

Geoffrey A. Landis: Right. Science is about big ideas. How do these giant ideas affect us at a human scale?

virtualpresident: Characters are the people around you - I'd expect - the lone doctor who sees the end of the cosmos from the outside .... and lives a small life with his friends .... not unlike Haywood R. Floyd [2001] or the Doctor in Time machine talking with his friends in his living room before off - to - visit - Wena ...

Martha Soukup: That's the first thing I think of when I hear of something scientific. Don't most people? How it would effect actual people?

*sTaRmAn*: characters IS literature Sci - fi is "escapism"

Geoffrey A. Landis: Right, STaRRy. And characters and science - -that's science fiction. Or should be.

archalchemyst: big ideas - big people..... little people like us get squashed by the big people... that is by big ideas... ;))))

Martha Soukup: By big people with big ideas.

Quack!: I like the triple chin

archalchemyst: or by small people with big ambitions...

Geoffrey A. Landis: We were talking about the big bang earlier. Does it matter if the big bang happened or not? What if the universe is closed, and will end in a big crunch - does it matter to us? What if it's not closed, and will end in heat - death?

Martha Soukup: Yes, speaking of the big bang - how do you work things on a human scale, like sex, with ideas on a cosmic scale, like, um, cosmology?

Geoffrey A. Landis: I tried that once, Martha, in a story called "A Long Time Dying", where characters actually did, in a sense, survive to see the end of the universe.

Geoffrey A. Landis: The answer is, even if you live a very long time, it's still your own life that's important to you.

virtualpresident: and the theory being the big - bang itself? or rather the possible closure and end - of - all existence in an utter blacked - out universe consisting of neutron stars roaming the empty darkness ... and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth ...

Quack!: amen

Martha Soukup: Or the lives of your children or other loved ones.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Right.

archalchemyst: big - bang theory is actually somewhat unconvincing....... :

Geoffrey A. Landis: Its only saving grace is that it's the only theory that really fits the facts, archal.

wavetrader: jeez ..all this sturm und drang about the end of the universe..who gives a rats about it!!

Geoffrey A. Landis: That's it, wavetrader - how do we make a story so that people do give a rat's about it?

Martha Soukup: So, where do fairy tales come from? Similar process, or utterly different?

Geoffrey A. Landis: Martha, for me fairy tales come from a different process.

Martha Soukup: Which is?

Geoffrey A. Landis: It's an art form that I love, in a sense, for its naivete and direct connection to the cultural id.

archalchemyst: how about ...neutron stars swimming the through the thickening darkness ;)))

archalchemyst: sounds a bit less depressive : )))

Martha Soukup: Naivete. Which you mean in a good sense.

Geoffrey A. Landis: In a sense, you don't plot out a fairy tale - you just connect in to the ones floating all around us.

Quack!: like all art

deegeea: connect to fairy tales floating all around us ... it sounds Jungian

virtualpresident: two short sketches I've worked on some ... 4-billion AD when our sun goes orange ... and 20?Billion AD when the universe goes ... may be 100-Billion AD ... but that's a story - imagine no stars in the sky, save just one or two ... would you visit?!

Geoffrey A. Landis: Virtual, I'd love to read your story about the universe 100 billion years from now.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Such an incredible setting for a story!

virtualpresident: When the universe is warm again we can take - off some of the padding and step outside the earth .... more interesting was when the universe was smaller and warmer ... then menkind could zoom about the cosmos using plain ordinary nuclear - powered jet - type engines and space had sound to it ... see there's the story to tell ... now we know more about science and man ...

archalchemyst: there should be no worry about the 100 Billion AD... we should be long gone by then or invented teleports... and the second is fine by me..

Geoffrey A. Landis: I've often thought about setting a story in that era, if I could only find the story to set there.

Martha Soukup: Maybe a fairy story?

Geoffrey A. Landis: Perhaps

deegeea: Isn't The City and the Stars by Clarke kind of in that time range?

betht: give or take a billion years....

Geoffrey A. Landis: No, the City and the Stars is mere hundreds of millions of years from now - hardly deep time at all.

virtualpresident: City and the Stars was neat crystalline feeling, but just got started

Quack!: there would be knowledge that time is limited because the universe is going to shrink to nothing

Martha Soukup: By the way, Moris (and everyone), Michael Swanwick will try again to be Head Space's guest, next Tuesday.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Michael Swanwick -- great.

Maureen.McQ: Michael Swanwick, cool.

deegeea: Sailing to Byzantium by Silverberg is kind of a fairy tale of the far future...

Geoffrey A. Landis: Now he's a writer who really impresses me.

wavetrader: Silverberg rox

MorisB: Geoffrey..who? Silverberg?

Geoffrey A. Landis: Well, Silverberg, sometimes too, but I was talking about Swanwick.

Maureen.McQ: He has a story on the Hugo ballot. It's available to read on-line. Michael Swanwick's "The Dead" at

archalchemyst: wavetrader: 'rox' ?????

MorisB: Geoffrey..yes..Swanwick is cool. (Unfortunately I never read anything from you)

Martha Soukup: What other writers impress you, Geoff - just two or three at random, no complete list necessary - and why?

Geoffrey A. Landis: You know, next time I do one of these type of things, I'm going to make up a list of writers I like beforehand. I always seem to get that question, and I always can't think of any names until hours afterwards.

deegeea: That's a good idea. I can never think of just 2 or 3, or other times my mind blanks.

Martha Soukup: Yeah, it's so hard to pull them out of a hat. Even a floppy leather hat. (Do you still have the floppy leather hat?)

Geoffrey A. Landis: Actually, several people present -- naming no names :) -- I find very impressive writers.

Geoffrey A. Landis: I'm very impressed with Greg Egan - although most of the time, I really want to argue with him.

virtualpresident: argue science?

Martha Soukup: "Really want to argue with" is traditionally a great strength of much SF.

Maureen.McQ: How about Banks, Geoff?

Geoffrey A. Landis: I'm afraid the one time I tried to read a Banks novel, it didn't do anything for me. Suppose I ought to try again.

Martha Soukup: Okay, then, tell us what you'd like to learn from Swanwick.

Martha Soukup: Like you, I note, he also writes all sorts of different kinds of stories, pigeonholing himself in no subgenre.

deegeea: Swanwick has continuing themes, like how people are slaves to their instincts.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Yes, Swanwick's ability to write anything well is something I greatly admire.

deegeea: Even though the genres and styles vary Swanwick has a strong recognizable voice

archalchemyst: people are slaves to their doctrines first, lust second, instincts third...

archalchemyst: Maureen: we are in civilized society... we have the luxury of being the slaves in that very way...

deegeea: I'd say at least according to Swanwick's stories that lust is an instinct and a strong one

Martha Soukup: Do you hope to get cool arguments going with any of your stories? Or would you rather settle the arguments with a story?

Geoffrey A. Landis: In a sense, the whole of SF is one long, multi - threaded argument, which I - and you, and Maureen - are all participants in.

Martha Soukup: I thought Swanwick's "The Dead" very Silverbergian.

Geoffrey A. Landis: I try, as much as I can, to avoid all doctrines.

Martha Soukup: You have to like a good argument to be comfortable with good SF. Yes or no? Support your answer.

Geoffrey A. Landis: There are a lot of writers who identify themselves with doctrines, but I hope not to be one of them. A doctrine, after all, is just a way to turn off your mind.

Maureen.McQ: That's interesting, Geoff. Do you ever discover that you in fact hold doctrine you didn't know you did? (I ask this because it happens to me all the time.)

Geoffrey A. Landis: And the best SF should turn your mind ON, not off - in a way that drugs couldn't hope to compare to.

deegeea: I like a good argument and I am comfortable reading good SF. just one anecdotal data point

archalchemyst: a doctrine is a way of narrowing the path of one's thought...

Geoffrey A. Landis: Right.

Martha Soukup: Oh, you never know about drugs. The news today had a bite about a drug that's supposed to stimulate the same good tissue effects as steady exercise.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Interesting, Martha.

Martha Soukup: Some thought can stand to be narrowed. Otherwise, you believe everything, can make no reasoned decisions.

Maureen.McQ: a doctrine is a way of sorting through more information than you can comfortably process.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Well said, McQ. That is, in fact, why people need doctrines.

Martha Soukup: Yes, well put. For good or ill.

Angus MacDonald: Is that a doctrine or a preference, then?

wavetrader: doctrine is a can of spam

virtualpresident: except that the drug is under control of the faith in its power - rather than the exercise which is under control of the runner, swimmer, etc ... [who exhibits some grace and beauty, too]

Maureen.McQ: Well, some of it is pretty benign. Doctrine, that is.

archalchemyst: that's not narrowing... that is making decisions and reaching conclusions

Martha Soukup: Well, I have to - literally - run. Everyone who can, feel free to chat on. See you next week with Swanwick!

Martha Soukup: And thanks, Geoff, for being a fabulous guest.

Martha Soukup: It'll keep going as long as you can convince Geoff to stay -

centauri: What do you think of SF then that uses drugs as part of the story/technology?

virtualpresident: what could a drug do that is really effectual in a story ... cripple aliens?

deegeea: I think there are a lot of good stories that use drugs in them.

Geoffrey A. Landis: I have nothing against stories featuring drugs. Drugs, like anything else, are subject to fiction - and subject to speculation. I am a little annoyed about stories featuring drugs that have no downside. Not for moral reasons, but for realism reasons.

deegeea: OK let's see... drugs. Spider Robinson comes to mind first (Mindkiller, isn't there a new revision of this one now...)

Maureen.McQ: Geoff, I agree. Even insulin has its downside.

Geoffrey A. Landis: case.

Angus MacDonald: That's like stories featuring politics without a downside.

Maureen.McQ: Angus! That's very apt!

deegeea: Stories without a downside tend to be kind of shallow in many cases in general

Geoffrey A. Landis: Right. Of course, with politics, it's finding the bright side that's often the difficulty.

centauri: Gibson has a lot of drugs in his stories too. I think that sometimes its interesting to read about what a drug trip in the future might be like even if one would never want to take the drug oneself.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Politics is, unfortunately, often treated very superficially in SF. And in other literature.

deegeea: There is a story about flashbacks to the past as a drug... actually the movie Strange Days is kind of that thing too

Maureen.McQ: Deegeea, I just think that often writers pick the less realistic downside.

deegeea: Well, "less realistic" in what sense? We are still talking about science fiction, how can you demand "less realistic"?

Maureen.McQ: Sorry deegeea, less realistic in that the downside is often far less complicated than reality. Crime has a downside, but it isn't necessarily getting caught or feeling guilty.

deegeea: What other downsides are there to crime? Societal insecurity, "law & order" crackdowns on freedoms, etc.

Maureen.McQ: For the criminal? A sort of mental and emotional deadening, a narrowing of possibilities, a life lived in a kind of stress and sicomfort...

centauri: mechanical/cyberspace addictions are cool too.

Angus MacDonald: Does pinball count as a mechanical addiction?

archalchemyst: Geoff: Kim Stanley Robinson treated politics extensively in his Mars trilogy...the fact is, politics is an essential part of that trilogy...

archalchemyst: Robinson did some pretty convincing eco - political guessing about the near future...

Geoffrey A. Landis: archal, I was very impressed with the first of Robinson's Mars books for the realism of its revolution. At the end, everything was confused, and you couldn't even really figure out who had won.

Geoffrey A. Landis: The second book, on the other hand, had a revolution so patently unrealistic that I was unsure if the two books had been written by the same person.

archalchemyst: Geoff: yes... the trilogy had an abrupt end... like he was tired of writing more... : (

archalchemyst: the revolution thing in the second book has been quite unconvincing...

Maureen.McQ: I'm off to sleep. See you all next week.

Geoffrey A. Landis: bye, McQ

archalchemyst: bye Maureen!

Angus MacDonald: 'Night, McHugh.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Good to see you.

archalchemyst: I'm leaving... gotta go to sleep...

archalchemyst: bye!!!!!

Geoffrey A. Landis: the discussion does seem to be dying off...

archalchemyst: and good night.... morning... whatever...

Angus MacDonald: Bye, archal.

virtualpresident: my question, though, Geoff, do you think the cosmos has a center mass of giga - galactic hugeness?

Geoffrey A. Landis: No, virch.

virtualpresident: why not?

Geoffrey A. Landis: If you are going to think about cosmology, you have to learn to think in four dimensions.

Geoffrey A. Landis: No center, the center is everywhere.

Angus MacDonald: That's why cosmology makes me edgy.

deegeea: the center is everywhere...

Geoffrey A. Landis: Which is not to say that it may not have masses within it which are giga-galactic in size.

deegeea: it has indefinite extent?

virtualpresident: the big bang must have had some rhythm to it -- sending back a huge wave to recoalesce

wavetrader: So what are your FTL speculations?

Geoffrey A. Landis: I'm afraid that I'm rather an amateur when it comes to general relativity. As an amateur, I've been following with great interest the various wormhole models of possible FTL. Even wrote a paper -- or co-authored one -- on the subject. (Two, actually). That's a subject where it really does help to think in four dimensions! Which I have great difficulty doing, alas. I think Matt Visser can do it.

virtualpresident: wormhole doesn't answer why there's so little anti-matter in the cosmic residue

Geoffrey A. Landis: The asymmetry of matter and antimatter is a big problem in conventional cosmology. Why the one, and not the other?

Geoffrey A. Landis: Is there an antimatter universe, formed at the big band, equal and opposite to ours , and going backward in time?

Geoffrey A. Landis: Oops, once again, that typo should have been "big bang"

wavetrader: talking of bands ...what did you think of the revised "band" scene in return of the Jedi

Geoffrey A. Landis: Afraid I didn't see the revision, wavy. But I have some reservations about the concept of authors re-editing their works decades later.

virtualpresident: if they're science they must keep up.

Angus MacDonald: It's a big temptation, though. I had to hold myself back from revising just today when I put my two published stories up on the Web.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Looks like this is about over - think I'll log off as well.

Geoffrey A. Landis: Gotta get in to work tomorrow, I'm afraid.

wavetrader: thanks for a good session Geoff

virtualpresident: okay thanks

Angus MacDonald: Thank you very much for this, Geoffrey.

Angus MacDonald: This has been one of the better editions of Head Space.

virtualpresident: bye, Geoff, bye all

Geoffrey A. Landis: bye, all.

Angus MacDonald: And thanks to all of you, as well.

wavetrader: bye folks

Angus MacDonald: Thanks again, and good night.

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