If you’ve read a lot of my work you know that I do sometimes try to keep up with the latest Big Thinks in cosmology — starting, as a matter of policy, writing about the steady-state universe with Jack Williamson way back when. That novel was The Reefs of Space, and Jack used the idea to create parts of the Everything where new matter and new space were being created before your very eyes. Great stuff, I can say with little vanity, because those settings were almost all Jack’s.
But that was then. This is now, and I have to say I have met my match. It is called M Theory and cosmologists say that for the first time they have a Theory of Everything which explains much of what Everything is all about. What’s more, it does this without producing useless infinities as the answers to all the equations that might produce testable predictions.
But as to using M Theory to provide the background science for a science-fiction novel, oh, spare me. One of the predictions that M Theory makes is that there isn’t just one universe, even not just a million universes, but 10 to the 500th power universes, and,. guys, I just can’t count that high. My newest novel, All the Lives He Led, which (hint) is just out, doesn’t move one skillionth of a millimeter off the surface of the Earth, and the one I’ve barely begun (about 75 pages of rough draft so far, completion date God knows when), hasn’t yet told me if any of it will get Off Earth at all.
So, sorry, Stephen Hawking. I admire you intensely and treasure the one time I heard you lecture, back at Fermilab years ago, but you’ve gone way too far for me to follow right now. But do send me a postcard when you get there.