Discover Authors Tour Day 6: About Time

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When Sheila Wilkerson, Marta Hamilton, and Marshall Grissom become the three primary Travelers assigned to explore time, their initial steps convince scientists that rather than journeying into the past of our planet, the laws of physics place them into the past of parallel universes. If business moguls and politicians can’t manipulate our past for profit or political advantage, then the financial backers of the time travel program see all the research as pointless. Without the ability to alter our own past, the future of time research is in a precarious position. And when the Travelers are sent into a nearby universe to determine once and for all whether our past can be changed, Sheila, Marta, and Marshall must confront the ethics of their mission at a critical time when anyone who threatens corporate interests becomes expendable. 

About Time is funny and bawdy novel exploring the conflict between pure science and the application of science for profit or politics.  The sexual tension created when people in their libidinous prime are confined together on a secret base in the Arizona desert furnishes the psychological setting as young men and women go about the age-old task of finding their place in the universe, or in this case, several universes. This irreverent story about the frontier of time travel will keep you laughing as you travel a landscape of theoretical physics, lust, and the questionable ethics of manipulating entire universes for the profit and amusement of one small planet.

Rather than a complete flight of fancy, About Time takes a science-based approach to the subject of time travel. Inspired by the works of writers like Christopher Moore or Carl Hiaasen, author Michael Murphey applies a twisted sense of humor to this tale. Wonderfully suited for science fiction fans everywhere, this engrossing novel is a perfect crossover into the world of science fiction for fans of numerous genres–some adventure, some romance, some crime and a touch of coming-of-age.. Filled with humor, physics, and the lust for sex, profit and power, this novel possesses a broad appeal that is sure to reach a multitude of fiction fans.

So come meet the lushious Sheila Wilkerson, the dangerous Marta Hamilton, the bewildered Marshall Grissom, the confusing Naomi Hu, the reprobate Elvin Detwyler, the clueless Frank Altman, the blackguard Andrew Gormley, the devious Leonard Rose and a host of other characters who populate a secret facility buried beneath the Arizona desert from which mankind first challenges the limitations of time.

Here are a couple of excerpts to stir your curiosity.

To add a little context, the scientists initially used dogs and pigs as test subjects and sent them back in time wearing collars of vests containing various recording devices. This resulted in the demise of a number of dogs and pigs. Eventually they learned that only organic matter can be transported through time.

When the program finally evolved to the projection of people, the scientists were relieved not to have to worry about things like vests and collars. They did, however, have to concern themselves with implants.

 Take breasts, for example. By 2043, implants will advance to the point that enhanced breasts are absolutely undetectable by sight, feel, or taste—although if you want, they do come in a variety of flavors. Any woman will be able to have perfect breasts without worry that her lover will be put off by the plastic feel of a fake boob.

That means that women everywhere insist what they have is what they were born with. “Those other women might have had the surgery, but these puppies are all mine!” And when asked on the questionnaires about the status of their breasts, most of the female Traveler candidates said just that. Lying to a bunch of theoretical mathematicians is difficult, though, because they know the statistics. In any given group of mid-twenty-first century women, statistics show, X percentage will have modified their breasts. And taking the female Travelers candidates as a statistical sample, the numbers simply didn’t add up. They could have put all the female candidates through an expensive scanning procedure that has the capability of detecting the high-tech frauds. But the program backers didn’t want to spend the money.

So GRC officials simply made an announcement.

“If you are lying to us about any surgical implants, you will be at great risk during a time projection. It appears that inorganic matter of any kind projected through time is decimated in the process. Our best guess is that your boobs will catch on fire.”

So the female Traveler candidates were given the opportunity to get things off their chests. They could either drop out of the candidate pool and apply for some other job on campus to fulfill their five-year contract obligations, or they could have their implants removed. The result was a significant reduction in breast size for the remainder of the program.

(And in answer to your question, no. Neither Sheila nor Marta were affected by this development.)

By 2043, though, breasts are hardly the only things being enhanced. Artificial organs will be coming into vogue. Knees, elbows, hips, and other joints are replaced almost at a whim. Optical implants will make glasses and contact lenses obsolete.

Because the Traveler candidates were all young and healthy as a prerequisite to the program, these implants were not so much of an issue. Cell phones were the big problem.

Yep, that’s right. In the future, you won’t have to carry a cell phone around—at least for the span of a few years. Tiny cell phones—fully functional computers, actually—are implanted in the cranial cavity just behind the ear. Brain function allows you to direct your phone to place calls, answer calls, or access any sort of information. The more advanced models have a ‘heads up’ display that places a three-dimensional image in the frontal lobe of your brain so you can see all your data or visual information by simply closing your eyes and thinking the correct coded sequence.

 They did it that way so people wouldn’t be trying to drive while watching pornography or doing their taxes. They just assumed that people would have the common sense not to drive with their eyes closed.

Ha!

This went on for just a few years before the government decided that having the entire population strolling about and talking into the air is not a good idea. For one thing, schizophrenia becomes impossible to diagnose. Everybody walks around hearing voices and talking to people who aren’t there. Soon, even the sanest of people were not always sure if someone was calling them, or if they were just imagining it all.

Finally, the phone manufacturers were required to implant a small light in the middle of the person’s forehead, which became a bright red dot when you were on the phone. This solution worked well enough—except in India. But soon, people just tired of it and went back to carrying their cell phones in their pockets.

The time projection program, though, was developed during the early phone implant era, and the Traveler candidates considered it a great hardship to have to go back to using a manual device rather than thought-directed technology.

And here’s a little more.

Again, to help with the context, Frank Altman is an inept Traveler who has been sent back in time to try and avert a disaster in which an entire universe is destroyed by a time traveling accident. He is sent because he is having an affair with a receptionist name Betty who is the guardian of the entrance to the time projection laboratory and his job is to charm her into breaking the rules and letting him in. Naomi Hu is one of the three chief scientists on the project. Growing up in China, everyone made fun of her because she had a Western first name. When she moved to England to complete her education, everyone made fun of her because she was Dr. Hu. So when she went to the United States to join the time travel project, she insisted on just being called Naomi.

Frank took one last long drag on his cigarette and marched into the reception area outside the lab. And sitting in the receptionist’s chair was—not Betty. Instead, a thin, blond woman with glasses and a carefully cultivated air of officiousness was in her place.

“Where’s Betty?” Frank asked.

“She had a doctor’s appointment,” the blond said.

“Uh…is she OK?”

“I don’t know. I’m a temp from the administrative secretarial pool. May I help you?”

“Yeah. I’m Frank Altman. I’m one of the Travelers, and I need to get into the lab.”

“Well, if you are one of the Travelers, you know the rules, don’t you?”

“Of course I—”

“And the rules are that once mission checklist has started, no one goes in or out. That’s what they told me.”

“Yes, but this is an emergency.”

“They didn’t say anything about emergencies. They said no one.”

“This is a life-and-death emergency.”

“Nothing in the set of rules I read made any distinction about life and death.”

“Life and death on a scale you can’t even begin to imagine,” Frank growled with bared teeth. “They are on the verge of a disaster in there, and I’ve been sent to warn them!”

She looked at him over her glasses.

“You’re the guy who was outside smoking.”

“Yes, I am.”

“So on your way to rescue us all from imminent disaster, you took the time to stop and befoul the air all the rest of us have to breathe.”

“Listen, I really don’t have time for this. I don’t have time to explain…wait. Wait, just go to the intercom and ask for Naomi. Tell Naomi that Frank Altman is outside and has a vital message from the I Love Lucy universe.”

The blond studied Frank for a couple of moments more.

“Please!” he pleaded.

“I’m to ask for Naomi?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“Naomi who?”

“Yes.”

“What?”

“Go get Naomi!”

“Naomi who?”

“Yes. Naomi Hu!”

“That’s what I asked you,” she said. “If I am to find this Naomi person, I must know her last name.”

“Hu!”

She looked at him a moment and said, “You’re a nut. Go away or I’ll call security.”

And with that, a whole universe—home to planets and entire civilizations and dolphins and kittens and spiders—melted into oblivion.

The novel is 108,000 words and 380 pages, published through the CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform and is available through Amazon and on Kindle. The
book’s website is www.michaelmurpheyabouttime.com. Its link to The Kindle Store is www.amazon.com/dp/B00DQH3VZA.
Its link on Goodreads is http://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=About+Time%2FMichael+Murphey

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