Conquering Time and Space in Paragons
Author’s Commentary: Paragons 1.2.2
I’ve always wanted to control time and space!
One of the interesting things about living in Australia is how different it is than anywhere else I’ve lived. There are different animals and plants (you’ll meet some of them in later chapters of Paragons).
The seasons are flipped too. The first day of summer is December 1st. That means you celebrate Christmas at the height of summer, so don’t expect a white Christmas.
A Christmas tree in Sydney. December 2017.
Not that you get any snow in the winter in Sydney anyway. According to the Oracle of Google, the last time it snowed in Sydney was in 1836.
However, I can tell you from personal experience that it can get pretty cold there in the winter. While we lived there, we shivered through a few nights a year at around zero degrees Celsius¹, but there was never any significant precipitation at the same time, so sadly no snow.
Or maybe it’s not so sad after all. I’m pretty sure if it snowed in Sydney, it would be complete and utter chaos to a degree that even Leda Pandora could not imagine! I doubt anyone in Sydney has a snowplow or winter tires.
Ok, so this isn’t actually Sydney. It’s Perisher Ski Resort, a five-hour drive away. August 2019.
All of this has a huge impact on how I write Paragons. When Savannah goes to the Fortress on the 2nd of January, it’s summer there. So she will talk about the heat. She’ll also walk around in t-shirts and shorts or leggings, which isn’t something you typically do in January in many Northern Hemisphere places. Well, unless you’re my crazy teenage son who thinks it’s totally acceptable—and even preferable—to wear shorts as long as it’s above freezing. Brrrr!
So when Savannah travels through the Spirit Tree, she goes from winter to summer in an instant². And not only is she changing seasons; she’s also changing timezones. That’s something I had to account for when writing the story.
By now, it was way past dinnertime. My empty stomach was gurgling, and I was really starting to feel the effects of missing a whole night of sleep. The Fortress was nineteen hours ahead of Bayshore, so I’d effectively lost nearly a day.
In January, when this chapter takes place, Sydney is 19 hours ahead of San Francisco.
But what if I’d set this part of the story in June instead? Well, then the time difference between the two cities would have been 17 hours. Why? Because of daylight saving time. Since the Northern and Southern Hemispheres have their seasons swapped, San Francisco and Sydney switch their clocks in opposite directions.
And because this wasn’t already complicated enough…there are also a few days every year where the time difference isn’t 17 or 19 hours. That’s because not every country/region changes their clocks on the same day of the year. Yikes!
And now, to finish off this Author’s Commentary, I’m going to leave you with one final quote from Savannah:
The First Expedition began on February 14th, 2029. Earth sent a team of scientists through the first Spirit Tree they discovered on our planet. This team travelled across the Many Realms in search of knowledge and technology. Instead, they brought back the Curse.
Yes, this story takes place in the not-so-distant future!
¹ I guess that explains why I saw so many houses there with a fireplace in every room.
² Not that the Bay Area has much of a winter either. It’s mostly just rainy and a little chilly.