In TILT, the final installment of the Gatespace Trilogy, decades have passed since ChroNova’s original discovery of the Gates, and the company’s prohibition against using the technology for things like sightseeing have become all but ignored — which may have the minor side effect of resulting in the mass extinction of all humanity. Will Nigel, Terry and Sarah be able to reverse the actions that threaten the safety of the entire world?
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The desire to create an epic finale to the trilogy.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Most of them carried forward from my books Pinball and Replay.
The morning that everything went south for the residents of the Western Hemisphere of Planet Earth dawned pretty much like any other morning; like practically every morning had, in fact, since time began. Of the roughly 5.1 trillion days that had passed since then — thinking in terms of how we measure days on Earth, that is — October 29, 2020 was nothing particularly unique; at least not at first.
Certainly, there had been some individual days over the countless millennia that were exceptional — particularly memorable, unusually beautiful or spectacularly catastrophic, but with rare exceptions, there had been no one around to keep a record of those days, at least not so far as we on Earth knew.
No one took notes, for example, on the day roughly 65 million years ago when an unnamed and unforeseen asteroid that we now refer to as the Chicxulub object came careening into the Earth’s atmosphere from outer space. It was unforeseen by the residents of Earth, at least, but then they were primarily reptilian creatures of only moderate intelligence that paid little attention to things in the sky, apart from whether or not the Sun had risen.
The six-mile-wide rock detonated on impact, releasing more than two million times as much energy as the most powerful nuclear devices ever devised by present-day Man. It created a crater 110 miles across and instantly wiped out a significant portion of the fauna in North and Central America. It reshaped the Yucatan Peninsula and resulted in conditions very similar to what we now would refer to as a nuclear winter, globally devastating the dinosaurs that ruled the earth at that time and paving the way for Man’s mammalian ancestors to take over in something akin to a coup d’état.
Another somewhat smaller impact, but one which was much more devastating to human beings (who had long since become the dominant life form on the planet), came on June 29, 3123 BCE, when an asteroid nearly a mile wide entered the Earth’s atmosphere on a shallow trajectory. It clipped the peak of a mountain near present-day Köfels, Austria, causing the asteroid to explode before it ever had a chance to impact the ground. Because of this, it left no impact crater as such, but the plume of rocky debris that was thrown into a suborbital trajectory came raining down on the territories beneath its path, bringing fiery death to the inhabitants of the open plains of the Middle East, including thousands in the city-states of Sodom and Gomorrah. The event was forever immortalized in what would later be known as Chapter 19 of the Old Testament’s Book of Genesis (Bereshith in Hebrew) as “fire raining down from God in heaven.”
Then there was a similar event which occurred on June 30, 1908 when a relatively small comet crashed into the Earth’s atmosphere over the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now central Siberia, in eastern Asia. The heat of friction with the atmosphere caused it to explode while it was still several miles above the ground, in a blast roughly equivalent to a ten-megaton nuclear weapon. The blast blew down trees in an area of more than eight hundred square miles, and left them pointing outwards from the center of the blast wave, in concentric circles.
There have been other, more recent events which had a less widespread but just as emotionally powerful impact; some of these were well documented, some less so, but the ones in recent memory all demonstrated the enormous, consistent and unfortunate capacity which human beings seem to have to kill each other for reasons political, religious and philosophical.
Prime examples include the events which took place on the evening of April 14, 1865, in which an American stage actor and Confederate sympathizer named John Wilkes Booth fired a single bullet into the back of President Abraham Lincoln’s skull, mortally wounding him and bringing about his death in the wee hours of the next morning…
…or was Lincoln actually shot to death on February 27, 1860 by an unidentified man in strange, mottled green clothing who was wielding an unfamiliar sort of rapid-fire weapon, while Lincoln was delivering a speech at the Cooper Union Hall in New York City? There is conflicting information in some of the historical records, and it is unclear just why this might be so.
Similarly, November 22, 1963 sticks in the minds of many Americans of a certain age as the day that Camelot’s shining glory was shattered. They watched helplessly as the news came that the young President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, had had his brains blown out while riding through Dallas, Texas in his limousine, shot by a former U.S. Army sharpshooter and Soviet sympathizer by the name of Lee Harvey Oswald. Yet there are those who seem to have a different recollection — that it was the Soviet KGB who had formulated a plan to assassinate the American president, but botched the attempt, instead causing the death of his beautiful young wife Jacqueline — and that Kennedy, in a rage over his wife’s murder, launched a nuclear attack against the Soviet Union mere hours later, bringing about the Third World War, as documented in a book entitled “Saving Jackie K” by author L.D.C. Fitzgerald.
Here and there certain people seem to share memories that are in conflict with those of the other ninety-nine point nine percent of the world. These people insist that their stories are not fictional accounts, yet their experiences do not seem to agree with the majority. So which is our real history, and which is false? Which memories are authentic, and which ones are fictional?
Either way, history is rife with examples of man’s inhumanity to man, many of which are so vivid that one need only mention their dates to bring the images to mind:
December 7, 1941
April 19, 1995
September 11, 2001.
The strange thing is that nothing particularly historic happened on October 29, 2020, until many years later. Confused? We all were.
As the sun rose on that mid-autumn day, no one knew that events were occurring which would forever outshine all these other dates in the collective memory of mankind.
Alan Seeger is the proprietor of Five59 Publishing and, along with his own novels, also writes the music blog Raised on Rock. He hopes to complete his long-delayed BA in English and Creative Writing at Sinte Gleska University in May of 2015.
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