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Warp Speed Hardcover – December 1, 2004
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About the Author
Travis S. Taylor-"Doc" Taylor to his friends-has earned his soubriquet the hard way: He has a Doctorate in Optical Science and Engineering, a Master's degree in Physics, a Master's degree in Aerospace Engineering, all from the University of Alabama in Huntsville; a Master's degree in Astronomy, and a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University. Dr. Taylor has worked on various programs for the Department of Defense and NASA for the past sixteen years. He's currently working on several advanced propulsion concepts, very large space telescopes, space-based beamed energy systems, and next generation space launch concepts. In his copious spare time, Doc Travis is also a black belt martial artist, a private pilot, a SCUBA diver, has raced mountain bikes, competed in triathlons, and has been the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of several hard rock bands. He currently lives with his wife Karen, two dogs Stevie and Wesker, and his two cats Neko and Kuro, in north Alabama. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
"In the tradition of Golden Age SF explodes with inventive action. Even more dazzling is the imaginative playfulness with cutting edge scientific possibilities, there's plenty of stimulating and satisfying speculation." Publishers Weekly" --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
It is classic. Joe average ( ok he was a scientist) stumbles upon something that changes the world. With just in time discovery to fuel the story the roars to a conclusion.
In this novel, Neil Anson Clemons is a professor within the Physics Department at the University of Alabama at Huntsville and founder of a company working on the warp drive. Two Physics PhD candidates work for his company. Anson is also a mountain biker and holds a black belt in karate.
Jim Daniels is one of the graduate students working for Anson on the warp drive. Jim is also Anson's best friend. He is working on his brown belt at the same studio as Anson.
Rebecca Jean Townes is the other graduate student working on the warp drive. 'Becca is an orphan and has worked her way through college and graduate school. She is also working on her brown belt.
Tabitha Ames is a Lieutenant Colonel, USAF, and a NASA astronaut. She is well known in the space industry and among space fans.
In this story, Anson wins a karate tournament, but at the cost of two broken ribs. His ribs are taped and he is taking pain killers, but it hurts when he sneezes or laughs. He is self-medicating with beer on the flight to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Luckily he has enough frequent flyer miles to upgrade to first class.
He vaguely recognizes his seatmate and finally realizes that she is Tabitha Ames. She also recognizes him for some reason. They are both going to the BPP workshop.
When he reaches the conference, he discovers that Tabitha is the new BPP program director and that the schedule has been rearranged. He now has the first presentation of the day. After the scheduled talks are finished, Tabitha announces that BPP is being redirected toward more immediate research. Apparently the change is mandated by executives higher than the NASA hierarchy.
Anson is still not feeling well and the disappointing news convinces him to leave early. He flies back to Huntsville on the first available flight. When he reaches his house, he has seven messages on the answering machine. Two are from his mother and one is from Tabitha. He starts to call Tabitha, but the phone rings and Jim fills him in on recent developments in the lab.
Jim and 'Becca have made significant progress on a power supply for the warp drive. Anson approves of their work, but the Casimir effect cells are still too big and too weak for the drive. They brainstorm on the design and come up with an improved version.
Tabitha is in Huntsville and Anson invites her over to the lab to see their newest design. Then Anson, Jim and 'Becca investigate a puzzle in their warp experiments. The electrons are disappearing from the experiment and they don't know where they are going.
Jim and 'Becca add cameras to the test sphere and they try again. Now they notice that the electrons are emitting Cerenkov radiation during the experiment, indicating that they are traveling faster than light. Apparently they have demonstrated FTL travel without knowing it.
Later 'Becca has an accident while constructing power cells for the drive. After rushing her to the hospital, Anson and Jim study the wreckage and consider possible causes for an explosion. They discover an inherent instability in the energy cells.
This tale is much like an early space opera. Not in the space voyages, but in the quickness of new discoveries. Within a few months, they have a working warp drive and then the possibilities increase almost exponentially.
The story starts with a karate match and then ramps up the action from there. By chapter five, the action becomes increasingly frantic. Read and enjoy!
Recommended for Taylor fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of experimental science, wholesale destruction, and a touch of romance.
-Arthur W. Jordin