Welcome to a very special edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and we have something fun going on today. Thirteen outstanding authors have teamed together to bring you an anthology of short stories called Quantum Wanderlust.
In the interest of full disclosure, Craig has a story in the collection too.
Today, we’re chatting with Alberta who is an aerospace engineer. “Welcome to the show, Alberta.”
“Thank you, Lisa. I’m excited to be on your show. I’ve never been on the radio before. And call me Abbi, please. Alberta makes me think of my mother when she is angry with me.”
“What led you to working in the aerospace industry?”
“I’ve always been quite the science geek. When my schoolmates were playing with Barbie and plastic jewelry, I was building spaceships with my brother’s Lego. I never really had to decide what to do after high school, Polytech in Turin sounded like the only viable option. After that I applied to ESA, the European Space Agency, for an internship and the rest is history. There are so many possibilities in space, you can’t even imagine. Or maybe you can. But what really attracted me was the travel itself. The challenge is covering unimaginable distances as fast as possible, bringing astronauts as near as possible to the speed of light. Actually, getting there would change our perception of space but also of time.”
“Of time? How so?”
“You need to think about time as another kind of dimension, just like space. Einstein taught us that everything constantly travels through space-time at the speed of light. This motion is usually ‘spread’ on these two dimensions and it can be distributed differently. If an object is still in space, it’s only moving through time. When it moves in space too, its motion through time gets slower. This slowing down is infinitesimal in day-to-day life, so we don’t feel it. But when the speed of an object gets near to the speed of light, its motion in time slows down significantly. Are you still with me?”
“I think so. You’re saying that when your speed increases, the flow of time slows down.”
“Exactly! The point is time is going at the usual speed at your starting point, so if you go back after a while, time would have passed much faster for those who stayed behind. It would be like going into the future. And this is amazing! If we can reverse the process too, we could go back and forth in time. I can’t stop thinking about the possibilities. We should devote so much more to this kind of research.”
“Abbi, that sounds like it’s almost an obsession. What caused you to dedicate your entire career to time travel and all it could bring?”
“Well, it’s– Usually I don’t talk about this. People tend to regard me as a mad person when I do, but the fact is I actually travelled in time once. I was only five years old. My brother and I were playing in the garden at my parent’s house in Italy. We went into my father’s shack and, when we came out, boom! We were in the future. My memories are a bit foggy and I discovered what really happened only recently, but it was life-changing for me. I had a glimpse of the future, my future. I know what was bound to happen, I knew what I was destined for. How many people can say the same? From then on, all I had to do was work to make that future real. And that’s what I did.”
“My bio indicates that Pietro didn’t handle this quite the way you did. He seems to think you shouldn’t interfere in the process. Does this cause any stress between the two of you?”
“My brother is – how can I put it – quite unscientific in his approach to life. I work with facts and figures, he prefers to deal with feelings and purpose. Pete wasn’t as curious as I was to understand the how, he was more preoccupied with the why. He doesn’t approve of my work and tried over and over to talk me out of this. I want to make time travel real, he is sure the chance to go back and forth through time shouldn’t be accessible to everyone. He says it could be incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands. But who are we to decide for everyone? Needless to say, Pete wasn’t happy to discover I was working on a prototype of the time machine.”
“Wait… You already have a time machine?”
“Well, sort of. ESTEC is a great place for an aerospace engineer to work, but time travel isn’t exactly their priority. So I started working with a group of colleagues who were interested in my ideas. We borrowed a place and some equipment–“
“There is a lot of unused space in the basement under ESTEC exhibition, you know. And there is a lot of scrap material unsuitable for the main projects. Let’s say we hate wasting. When things became bigger we found a… sponsor. I can’t reveal his name but I can tell you, he sees the potential in our research and he is passionate about this kind of science.”
“You’ve really put a lot into this, and I hope it works out for you, and for childhood Alberta too. Don’t you find it interesting that you’re creating a loop for yourself? Childhood Alberta shows up, adult Abbi has to help her return to her own time. This fuels the interest in time travel research and starts all over again.”
“We made great strides in this field, but we still know very little. I’d like to make further tests on this, to see if this loop thing is something we can change or if it’s beyond our control. Would it have changed anything had I stayed in Amsterdam that day, had I never met my child-self? Or space-time continuum would have found a way to bring me here anyway? I know this sounds a lot like talking about fate, and it doesn’t sound a lot like a scientist, but great discoveries require something like a leap of faith. Just think about what time travel could mean for future generations. We could have a look at the past and learn from our mistakes or see the outcome of our decisions in the future. I’m not saying everyone should have this chance, but small groups of selected people sent at the right time in the right place could work wonders.”
“It’s an exciting discovery, no doubt. Whatever the ramifications, the world just changed and I, for one, can’t wait to see what develops. Any closing remarks for our guests today?”
“Oh, well. I’m not… I don’t know… My brother is the one to go to for motivational speeches.”
“Don’t worry about it, Abbi. You can always come back in time and redo the show so you can leave some awesome remarks.
“Please use those sharing buttons on your way out today. Quantum Wanderlust is a free book, and all the authors would appreciate you helping spread the word. I’ll include a purchase link on the website, but since it’s free it would really help if you could pick your copy up today. Clusters of downloads really help with Amazon’s rankings.
“If you’re feeling extra generous, you could add it to your reading list on Goodreads too.
“For Quantum Wanderlust, and Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”
Thirteen authors answer that question with short stories about time travel. Go back in time to right a wrong, forward to see the future. No jump is too large, no method unfeasible, no lesson beyond learning.
• Visit the past to learn a family secret.
• See the formation of a future dictatorship.
• Assume responsibility for weaving the fabric of time.
• Travel back in time to WWII.
• Use a family heirloom to solve problems.
• Wear an inheritance to visit ancestors.
• Leave a dystopian future for the hope of something better.
• Make history come true in an unexpected way.
• Fight evil fairies to protect a chosen angel.
• Live with the childhood memory of visitors until the day they arrive.
• Seek medical help for a memory issue and get way more than bargained for.
• Discover that with great power comes great responsibility.
• Uncover the secrets of a pharaoh’s tomb and curse.
Do the characters observe or interact? Is the outcome better or worse than the original timeline? Read these stories to learn how far they go, how they get there, and what happens when they return.
The scope is virtually limitless, definitely timeless.
Irene Aprile has been writing since she was a child, but she decided to pursue her passion only recently. During her detour from writing, she read tons of novels, took a degree in Chemistry and got married to an amazing patient man who puts up with all her notebooks and papers scattered all around their house.
Now she lives a double life: chemist by day, writer at night. She loves many kinds of stories and works with multiple genres. Her chick-lit Secrets of a Handbag is due later this year. In the meantime, she is working on Undercover, the first volume in her science-fiction/spy story series.
When she isn’t chained to a laboratory counter or her laptop, she loves spending time with her family, shopping for books, handbags and shoes (more than she can read, use and wear), and falling in love with TV series.
You can get in touch with her through her website http://ireneaprile.com or through these social media links: