My Science Fiction

My science fiction stems from my passion for understanding our universe, including why gravity behaves the way it does, my Theory of Persistence that attempts to explain gravity, and the invention of anti-gravity.

TAMING THE PERILOUS SKIES, a Novel

It is October 19th, 2076. The world has been transformed by Brian Medlock’s “theory of everything” and his invention of anti-gravity. Climate change is on the mend, political and social barriers have been dismantled, crime is at an all-time low, and religions have accepted the timeless “Fabric,” theorized by Medlock, as one and the same as God. 

Despite his paranoia about safety, the dashing Deputy Director of National Safety Jack Woods has just helped his 9-year-old son Erik depart on his first solo trip in an aerial vehicle when he witnesses an aerial transport plummet to the ground. Jack’s fears immediately turn to Erik as The Fall of 2076 – the greatest tragedy in human history – begins.

Jack leads the incident response team to investigate and solve the crisis, including the genius Director of Transportation Technology Olivia Martorana, as well as 95 year-old Medlock and his nemesis Zhang Wang. As the potential cause of the crisis is uncovered, we find that it’s more than just these aged inventors and their technologies pitted against each other. It is a more profound tension between math and observation, between fate and free will, and between the timeless Fabric which binds us all and … God. The clock is ticking. The aerial grid will reset and Erik will fall to his death if Jack doesn’t solve the crisis in time.

TAMING THE PERILOUS SKIES is a hard science fiction novel. It arose from my personal passion for inventive science and technology. It combines a level of detail and humor seen similar to The Martian with the suspense of a thriller-mystery akin to Dan Brown’s Origin. Like Medlock, I am a mildly flamboyant gay inventor who loves nothing more than bringing crazy scientific and technological ideas to life with great fanfare. 

ONE MAN’S PERSISTENCE, a Novelette

Taking place a year after The Fall of 2076, acclaimed science biographer Sagan Franklin interviews Brian Medlock whose invention of anti-gravity saved the planet but also made the tragedy possible. As we journey through Medlock’s history of discovery and invention, we gain insights into the human toll that invention can bring. We also learn that Sagan’s motivations for the interview are personal, and her discoveries could be profound. She doesn’t have much time. With Medlock’s advanced age and failing health, his death is scheduled for the next day. This will be his final interview.

Early-Stage Works set in the Persistence Universe

SCATTERED PICTURES, a Short Story

Somewhere in the recesses of his mind, Dr. Wendell Cooper knows it is New Years Eve at the dawn of the 22nd century. Since he was a young boy, from when Brian Medlock’s anti-gravity began transforming society, he had fixated on the age he’d be at this very moment. And yet, as fireworks and colorful aerials marked the milestone, he struggles to remember that number. Was it fifty-four? Fifty-six? It barely registers that he can no longer remember his own age. He only knows it is an occasion for shame and bitterness.

“Coop” had set out to prove an outlandish theory: memories are created and maintained through the entanglement of elementary particles between our brains and the timeless Fabric described by Medlock. Moreover, he had invented a prosthesis that maintains the connection to the Fabric to preserve memories. If only he had been successful, his invention could have finally treated the rare form of familial dementia that had taken his mother and was consuming him, memory by memory, day by day. As he slips into the indeterminate void of darkness, a miracle occurs.

THE HIDDEN THREAD, a Novel

It is 2139. One hundred years has passed since the invention of anti-gravity, and nearly forty years since Wendell Cooper was reborn and his “Cooper Caps” had cured dementia and changed the way we live. We can now relive every memory in every detail – sunsets, wedding nights, dreams – and enable our friends to relive our memories as well.

Derek Ross is a postdoc at The Memory Institute studying the differences in peoples’ memories of shared events. Using data from Cooper Caps, he discovers a mysterious, deep-seated memory shared across all his study participants. It is not a memory from childhood, or from a dream, nor is it connected to any particular time or place. What’s even more mysterious is that he can recite that exact same memory – a round, brightly lit gate – in the same exquisite detail.

Leading a ragtag band of collaborators, Derek makes the greatest discovery in history: this memory was deliberately laid in the Fabric for us to find. It is a glimpse into another world. He races to share this incredible discovery, but the US government will do whatever it takes to stop him. The greatest tragedy in human history – The Fall of 2076 – had been caused by a superior intelligence, and we may be opening Pandora’s box by accepting their invitation.

THE HIDDEN THREAD is a hard sci-fi novel built upon my prior works in the “Persistence Universe” (Yeah, I just coined that) and my hope is that it spawns endless and fantastic discoveries of new worlds.

Inspirations

Ted Chiang’s Story of Your Life, which inspired me with his powerful depictions of fate and free will, and his pitch-perfect incorporation of intriguing science (ahem, Fermat’s Principle). “What made it possible for me to exercise freedom of choice also made it impossible for me to know the future.”

Dan Brown’s Origin, which helped me to understand pacing, suspense, and the power of voice and character in a thriller, even if “Langdon stopped short and drew a shuddered breath” a tad too often.

Andy Weir’s The Martian, which taught me that humorous hard sci fi has a place in this world.

Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing of the Dog, which taught me that writing compelling characters with distinct voices and clear emotional arcs is possible within a humorous and uplifting science fiction story, even if I will never be as good (Gads, she’s so good!).

Sabine Hossenfelder, who helped me better understand so, so much – the state of physics and math, determinism vs. free will, and even the peculiarities of imaginary components of complex numbers.

Feel free to reach out to me at phil@drphilmarshall.com. I look forward to staying in touch!