Sci-Fi Writer Attributes Everything Mysterious To 'Quantum Flux'

Top Headlines

Science & Technology

Timeline Of Mass Extinction

Scientists predict that human activity has put the world on the brink of the sixth mass extinction in earth’s history, an event characterized by the elimination of a large number of species within a very short period of time. Here is a timeline of extinction events over the planet’s history

Study: Floating Heap Of Trash Now Ocean’s Apex Predator

SANTA BARBARA, CA—Noting that no marine species posed a threat and the total domination of its habitat, a study released Wednesday by researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara revealed that the floating mass of trash known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now the ocean’s apex predator.

Dementia Study Reveals Fond Memories First To Go

BALTIMORE—Researchers at Johns Hopkins University published a new study this week on the cognitive effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other deteriorative brain disorders, finding conclusive evidence that dementia sufferers’ fondest memories are nearly always the first to go.

FDA Approves Female-Libido-Enhancing Man

WASHINGTON—In an effort to address the needs of women suffering from a lack of sexual desire, the FDA announced Tuesday that it had approved a new female-libido-enhancing man, which is expected to be made available to the general public by year’s end.

New Report Finds Humanity 10 Years Away From Something Called Ash Age

TUCSON, AZ—Explaining that the large-scale shift in geologic conditions and social organization would require a new taxonomic classification, researchers at the University of Arizona released a report Tuesday revealing that humanity is approximately 10 years away from something that will be called the Ash Age.

NASA Announces Bold Plan To Still Exist By 2045

WASHINGTON—In what is being described as the most ambitious mission ever undertaken in the space agency’s history, NASA officials announced at a press conference Tuesday their bold new plan to still exist by 2045.

YouTube Turns 10

On April 23, 2005, three former PayPal employees started a video-sharing site called YouTube, which has since grown into an influential media platform with over 1 billion users.

Pros And Cons Of Screen Time For Kids

As technology becomes more of a staple in everyday family life, parents are making choices about how much screen time to allow their children—and asking questions about how computers, phones, and TVs might help or hinder a child’s development.

Geologists Unearth Fully Intact Rock

FORT COLLINS, CO—Describing the discovery as the most flawless specimen ever unearthed, a team of geologists working in northern Colorado announced Friday they had excavated a fully intact rock.

Rehabilitated Otter Released Back Into Food Chain

SAUSALITO, CA—Following nine months of surgeries and physical therapy to heal the aquatic animal’s debilitating injuries, officials from the Marine Mammal Center released a fully rehabilitated sea otter back into the food chain Tuesday.

Conservationists Attempting To Get Head Start On Mars

WASHINGTON—Fearing that any further delay might prevent their movement from having any meaningful impact, a consortium of leading conservationists confirmed Wednesday it is attempting to get a head start on preserving the planet Mars. The newly form...

Apple MacBook vs. Google Chromebook Pixel

Shortly after Apple debuted its new ultra-thin MacBook this week, Google announced its new Chromebook Pixel 2, which similarly boasts the new Type-C USB port and high-tech trackpad.

How Cable Companies Plan To Fight Cord Cutting

More consumers than ever are “cord cutting,” or getting rid of their cable service in favor of watching shows online, challenging the cable industry to launch new initiatives in order to keep customers.

Features Of The Apple Car

After dominating sales of smartphones, tablets, and other electronics, Apple is reportedly secretly designing its first car, code-named Titan.

2015 Tech Trends

Showcasing everything from wearable devices to self-driving cars and personal drones, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show revealed the latest in new technology.

Doctors Recommend Getting 8 Centuries Of Cryosleep

STANFORD, CA—Claiming that the practice is essential for effectively recharging the body and waking fully rested and alert, doctors at Stanford University issued a report Monday emphasizing the importance of getting at least eight centuries of atomi...

Scientists Receive $10 Million Grant To Melt Stuff

COLLEGE PARK, MD—Saying the money would help further researchers’ understanding of the awesome scientific phenomenon, representatives for the American Institute of Physics announced Tuesday that they had received a $10 million grant to melt st...

Pfizer Releases Vintage Cask-Aged Robitussin

GROTON, CT—Touting the new offering’s full-bodied flavor and bold, fruit-forward bouquet, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer unveiled a vintage cask-aged variety of its popular cold medicine Robitussin on Friday. Labeled as Robitussin Reserve, the hi...

Apple Releases Brief, Fleeting Moment Of Excitement

CUPERTINO, CA—Ending weeks of anticipation and intense speculation, tech giant Apple unveiled a short and fleeting moment of excitement to the general public Tuesday during a media event at its corporate headquarters.

Startup Very Casual About Dress Code, Benefits

AUSTIN, TX—Touting the business’s laid-back, nontraditional corporate culture, Go-Go Maps founder and CEO Mike Hannasch explained to reporters Thursday that his company is pretty casual when it comes to employees’ dress code and benefits...

Hospital Comforts Patients With New Therapy Oyster Program

CHICAGO—As part of an effort to provide comfort and serenity to patients, officials at Mount Sinai Hospital have launched a new therapy oyster program that brings hundreds of the bivalve mollusks to the bedsides of those most in need of cheering up.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Technology

Sci-Fi Writer Attributes Everything Mysterious To 'Quantum Flux'

ROLLA, MO—A reading of Gabriel Fournier's The Eclipse Of Infinity reveals that the new science-fiction novel makes more than 80 separate references to "quantum flux," a vaguely defined force the author uses to advance the plot, resolve conflict as needed, and account for dozens of glaring inconsistencies.

The strange force is used to explain everything from time travel to why everyone in the novel can understand aliens.

"I'm really excited about this latest book—there's action, adventure, drama, and a little bit of something for everyone," said Fournier, who decided to introduce the narrative device after realizing that the galactic ambassador vaporized in chapter two needed to be alive a lot longer. "And, of course, there's something I call quantum flux, which is like the binding force behind everything in the universe. Plus, it can cause time travel. And it's an energy source, too."

In Fournier's novel, the idea that particles of energy can appear suddenly out of nowhere is used to explain events that might otherwise seem random, such as how a starship achieves light speed despite the total destruction of its engines in battle, why a loyal first officer suddenly decides to spy on behalf of the aliens who murdered his family, and what became of the security captain whose Southern accent was getting annoying to work with.

"This is a huge oversimplification, but you can think of it as The Matrix times a million," Fournier said. "I use quantum flux to explore crucial questions about the nature of our universe, but also to probe basic human experiences we can all relate to. In my novel, as in life, sometimes things don't quite work out the way you planned."

The book's cover depicts Quantum Flux in the vacuum of deep space, a phenomenon readers later learn can be harnessed to open wormholes or provide eternal youth.

At the beginning of The Eclipse Of Infinity, a catastrophic quantum flux event on a nearby moon is threatening to destroy the planet Magnus 9. When the planet's shields suddenly become inoperable due to a quantum flux surge, the inhabitants frantically evacuate. At the end of the first chapter, the novel's protagonist, Cutter Van Dusen, clutches the hand of his dying mother, who before succumbing to quantum flux poisoning tells her son that an oracle has chosen him to travel back in time through a quantum flux rupture and save the planet by harnessing the power of a strange, mysterious force known as "quantum flux."

Though the storytelling device provided Fournier with what seemed like an endlessly flexible narrative structure, the author acknowledged that he still suffered from writer's block on at least one occasion.

"I had written myself into a corner," said Fournier, who recalled sitting for weeks just staring at the words "Chapter 12: Quantum Flux" on an otherwise blank computer screen. "Then out of nowhere, this really amazing twist came to me. I don't want to give it away, but if you've read carefully up to that point, it makes perfect sense."

According to Fournier, the rest of the novel—in which, on average, quantum flux is invoked every two pages to negate the effects of earlier quantum flux incidents—just seemed to flow from there.

"It was one of those rare moments when I was writing without any effort at all," said Fournier, who made use of quantum flux to iron out the remaining wrinkles in his plot, finding in it an unexpected justification for why Cutter's nemesis, Mal-Dag Par, abruptly switches gender for three chapters. "It's almost as if I were possessed by some kind of powerful unseen force or something."

Fournier told reporters that The Eclipse Of Infinity is part of a trilogy, the second book of which, Denizens Of Flux, will begin with a sudden fluxquake that ties up several of the first novel's loose ends.

The author admitted he wasn't entirely sure yet how the final book in the series, A Flux Quantum, would end.

"I'm giving it a lot of thought," said Fournier, who hinted that he has been toying with some cosmological theories that suggest different versions of his storyline could exist in multiple parallel universes. "I want to make sure that readers who've stuck with me through all three novels get the payoff they deserve."

In the meantime, Fournier is at work on an old-fashioned Western about a rugged band of pioneers who make their way across the unforgiving prairie only to find a fearsome enemy lying in wait—a tribe of Indians who wield a strange and ancient power the white men call "Cherokee flux."

Next Story