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The Genesis Machine
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Summary

In an America becoming increasingly more repressive in the face of growing world tensions, a young mathematical physicist, Bradley Clifford, is virtually drafted from academia to contribute his talents to defense priorities. But his dedication is to the newly formulated "k-physics," which brings about the long-awaited unification of all fields and forces as projections into normal spacetime of a complex wave propagating in six dimensions. In this scheme, gravity joins the other forces of physics in being not a static phenomenon but dependent on a rate of change, in this case the rate of change of mass. Even supposedly infinitely-lived particles like the proton turn out not to be stable, but subject to spontaneous annihilation, in the process causing a transient gravity pulse--hence, all matter has a finite, albeit long, half-life. The apparent steady gravity of macroscopic objects is due to the superposition of many such events. Particles also appear spontaneously, in this case accompanied by a pulse of "negative" gravity, or repulsion. Hence, the universe is dominated by attraction on the small scale (annihilations can only occur where particles already are, i.e. in a mass) and repulsion on the cosmological scale (a creation can happen anywhere).

Much of the story concerns the theoretical and experimental development of the theory after Clifford and a team of professionals establish themselves independently of government controls. Eventually, however, the forces of politics and power prevail, and Clifford finds himself forced back to applying the new discoveries to creating the most awesome weapon ever conceived. Although it isn't recognized at the time, the new physics turns out to be the key to the "hyperdrives" that will be built by later generations. Although the book goes more heavily into physics than any other that I've written, it was well received by general readers as well as hard-s.f. buffs.

[One of the characters is an Aubrey Phillipsz, who, when asked why he has a "z" at the end of his name, replies that if it were at the front nobody would know how to pronounce it. I stole this line from a Basil Phillipsz whom I worked with at DEC. I told him that I thought a name like that was too good to be wasted on just one person, and I intended to make use of it. He invited me to be his guest. So if you're out there and you read this, Basil, I owe you one.]

 
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