So here's the plan: Write a short story (less than 1,000 words) that deals with special relativity, quantum entanglement, and the father-son relationship.
And it's all my dad's fault.
Well, to be fair, my dad sent me a link to Quantum Shorts 2013, a short-story contest in which all the stories must somehow relate to quantum mechanics. And I've been toying around with a plot device for a few weeks.
The basic idea is this: A man is traveling alone in a spacecraft at near the speed of light, sending and receiving communications back home. Since he's accelerating, relative to the Earth, this particular traveler's clock is moving more slowly than it would be had he stayed home.
At least, that's how I understand things to work, and I could be waaaay off.
What I'd like to accomplish through all of this, is a story about a man, alone, rocketing away from home, and getting to experience his son growing up all at once.
This is where it gets tricky.
For this whakadoo premise to work, I need to assume that the father and son can communicate with each other without lengthy delays between messages. I'm also assuming that their relative timelines would appear out of synch based on those communications. For example, the father has been traveling for a year, he's receiving messages from a son who has aged significantly more than a year. Given my amateurish knowledge of physics, this is likely nonsensical in every conceivable way and bound for an epic and embarrassing failure.
Worst of all, I suck at math, and as indicated by the above image, math is sort of an integral piece of the puzzle.
Oh well. Smoke 'em if you got 'em, right?
But if I don't at least try to write this story, then what's the point in thinking about it? Keeping that in mind, if you're at all intrigued—even morbidly curious about how this will all play out—you can read below what I have written so far.
An electronic voice crackled over the radio.
John pressed the button and leaned in to the microphone.
“I love you dad.”
“I know, son.”
John felt the tears crinkle in the corners of his eyes. His chest ached and his stomach began to collapse in preparation for big, heaping sobs.
“Dad?” the voice crackled again.
Mike waited for the voice to seep back through the deep groans of static. His body drifted lightly inside the small capsule, with the eternity that once existed between them now collapsing as his ship got closer and closer to home.
“Dad … ,” the voice barely broke through the static, “I wish I’d never met you.”
John pressed the button and sighed into the mic.
“I know, son.”