Teaser: The Time Machine

As lots of you may probably know, I am working on a book, which holds so far a working title “Granular bastard”, but will be probably called The Time Machine (although there is no “back-to-the-future” style time machine actually involved).

I wanted to share some ideas behind the book on this blog without actually revealing any part of the story.

The first idea is about “micro-worlds”, which are simply parts of the big world, very small ones, which are somehow special and exceptional. There are lots of them around. People usually look at the common, the normal and the average. I think the beautiful parts are those, that are not normal and certainly not average nor common.

I will describe two examples from the technological world, which will not actually be in the book itself (it will not be that technological, but there will be lots of technology anyways). The first is IPv6, the next generation internet protocol. While it can provide the same services (world wide web, e-mail, …) as currently used IPv4. But there are some under-the-hood differences. If you have a so called public IP address, there is a huge chance, that some automatic exploiting software will try to break in. It’s easy, because trying (and reaching) different IP address is easy. At least one in hundred randomly generated IP addresses are actually live.

This is not the case with IPv6, where by randomly generating an address, you actually end up in a black hole. Exploring IPv6 next-gen internet is like cruising the universe: it’s mostly empty, by randomly choosing a place to go and going there, you will most probably end up in a place with black emptiness all around.

The second one, also technological example is FreeNet project, which aims to provide anonymous and durable information network resistant to censorship. This means, it is really difficult to delete content (it’s certainly not possible to do that centrally or by authority). Navigating this microworld is pretty entertaining, because it has much different content than pure world wide web. Some of it is quite weird (like “The Revenge Cookbook”, lots of weird porn, which actually loads very slowly due to nature of FreeNet and lots of censored materials).

Once I got this idea: to allow people to navigate these microworlds in a computer room with several computers, each one containing a different microworld. One is “anonymous” microworld, using Tor for anonymising the content and displaying the nodes used for anonymity on the world map. Another one would be “censored” microworld. Taking a content filter and reversing it’s functionality - allowing only those sites, that are usually blocked. It would be a weird experience, not being able to read this blog, but being able to go to pornography, exploits, time wasting sites, drug and weapon related sites. It is a much different perception of the world. There are several others.

Anyways, what makes me sad is, that I usually have these quite nice ideas and I’m too lazy or have not enough time to actually do them. That is one of the reasons I started writing this book: it contains lots of information about these projects (not this one actually) and ideas.

It is something I learned at school: When I have a (mathematically correct) proof, that something is possible, I am too lazy to actually do it. Knowing, that it is possible is usually enough and I don’t bother taking the last step.

This book will contain descriptions of these ideas, so they will not be forgotten and everything described there can be done (they actually quite fit into the story, I am quite surprised).

Anyways, the book is a novel, with a proper story. The style is probably realistic cyber/genetic-punk. With emphasis on realism. Almost everything described there actually can happen. There is no secret alien technology, there is no sci-fi gadgets from the future.

I like sci-fi, I like watching Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles these days. But they portray a dull hypothetical world with future technology. (Almost) everything in The Time Machines is current, ready to be created right now, without a need for several years research.

The dull world is just a microworld in our world, it actually exists somewhere and some people know about it.

The book starts with Lisa and Kevin having a race in New York City. A kind of race no one had before.

(An inspiration for the race is Quiet City, a very neat movie, but it is much more complex. You know me, I love complex).


Written by Juraj Bednár //