Sunday, 21 February 2016

New Worlds And A New Cosmos?

Poul Anderson, For Love And Glory (New York, 2003), Chapter XXVI.

A rotating black hole has both an event horizon and an ergosphere. When two black holes meet, the energies released cause some gas clouds to exceed ergospheric escape velocity. Receding, the clouds hold together either because of magnetic bottle effects or because each has become the atmosphere surrounding a new planet-sized mass, as if the union of black holes had begotten worlds.

Meanwhile, during the microseconds of fusion, the ergospheres, the event horizons and spacetime are contorted:

"'For an instant, the gates stood open between entire universes.'
"'The hints alone should reveal a new cosmos to your minds...'" (p. 143)

Why "between" universes?
Is each singularity regarded as matching the singularity of a white hole in another universe?
(But the singularities were not uncovered during the collison.)
A new cosmos or a new understanding of this cosmos?

Either way, new worlds whether material or conceptual.

When Time Patrolman Manse Everard relates sagas and Eddic and skaldic poems to the Emperor Frederick in 1245alpha AD, the latter exults:

"'You open another whole universe!'" (The Shield Of Time, p. 396)

The Eddic universe is conceptual but certainly "other." I remember the imaginative impact the first time I read Encyclopedia articles about Norse mythology and about Buddhism. In the first, gods who will die; in the second, not a strange god but a compassionate man. This takes us away from black holes but it is all one in Poul Anderson's imagination.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

The quote about Emperor Frederick II listening with keen interest to the Eddic poems and Norse sagas recited by Manse Everard in 1245alpha AD made me wonder why Scandinavian legends and sagas fell into such obscurity after about our AD 1200. After all, considering how relatively quickly the Scandinavians learned literacy and wrote down so many of their sagas and poems, they should have become more widely known. Was it because Old Norse/Norse was a strange and difficult language for non Scandinavians? As a Germanic language it should have been no more difficult than German.


Paul Shackley said...

Was non-Classical Pagan mythology discouraged by the Church?

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I don't think so, at least not in any OFFICIAL way. Perhaps it was simply that Iceland, where most of these poems and sagas were written down, was so remote and far away from the centers of Medieval civilization.


David Birr said...

Sean and Paul:
Perhaps it had something to do with hard feelings resulting from roughly two centuries of Viking raids? "We don't want ANYTHING Norse...!"

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, David!

Oops! I should have remembered that! The Viking raids, invasions, and wars waged by the Scandinavians from the 790s to at least the death of Harald Hardrede at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066. I've seen angry and bitter extracts from Anglo-Saxon and Frankish annals making it quite plain how their victims regarded the Norse and Danes. So, yes, they would not want ANYTHING Norse!