Schrodinger’s Cat, or Review in the Box

When does quantum superposition end and reality collapse into one possibility or another? I stare at my mailbox and the email attachment, containing the dreaded Kirkus review of my book, Dark Shaman Awakening. Instead of a theoretical cat, my author ego is the one trapped in the rigged box. The possibility of decaying radioactive material is the possibility of pointed searing words of the reviewer, which can trigger the stab of the poisoned ink pen into my author ego. Praise on the other hand would leave the author ego alive and elated.

Copenhagen interpretation: An observation must take place for superposition to end. I would have to open the attachment and consciously observe and read the review to know if the author ego was stabbed. Without my observation the author ego state is both dead and alive.

Many-worlds interpretation and consistent histories: The observer becomes entangled with the two possible states separating into two realities. When I open the review box, one version of me will observe a stabbed author ego, while the other will see an intact author ego. Decoherence means that there is no interaction between these two versions of me, maintaining in each reality a consistent history.

Relational interpretation: Depending on whose viewpoint one takes, the point at which superposition ends varies. The fragile author ego in the review box knows the outcome before the observer outside the review box sees it.

Objective collapse theories: An objective threshold can force the superposition to collapse independently. Time has already determined the outcome. The review has been written, the author ego is already affected one way or the other. The observation of this by opening the review is merely an after the fact affirmation of the state of the ego within the review box.

“Nobody really doubts that the presence or absence of the cat is something independent of the act of observation.” Einstein

Is the cat alive or dead?

If a blog falls and no one hears it

Did it make a noise? Without a thud or a reverberation, a comment or a like, does a story exist? Telling stories implies there is an audience, a readership, those who listen and share the experience. Without readers, stories are just monologues, cathartic to the writer, but are they stories?

Readers are vital to storytelling. What if no one reads my book? What follows is more gut wrenching. What if someone reads it and the story doesn’t resonate? Indifference might just be worse than someone hating the story. At least if they hate it, something in the story made them react.

If a story falls and there is no one upon whom it makes an impact, it crashes in piercing silence onto a needle carpet littered with a forest of dead stories and blogs.

Of endings and beginnings

I received a copy of Dark Shaman Awakening. It’s real, was my first thought. Lynx and Laurel Raven’s adventures and battle against the Dark Shaman have begun. My own adventure as a writer has come full circle, book 1 is done, but book 2 has just begun.

It got me thinking about reading a good adventure and that conflicted feeling I get as a reader. On the one hand I can’t wait for the story to move forward to find out what happens, yet at the same time there’s that nagging thought in the back of my head that once I reach the end, the adventure will be over. At times I find myself so vested in the story that when I look up from the written words I’m surprised that the vivid imagery playing in my head goes blank. I greedily pick up the trail again scanning the next words so that the imagery of the story can resume. It’s the same when I write, I’m living the story. I suppose in a way it is time travel. My mind is experiencing a different time and reality.

I hope the adventures of Lynx and Laurel Raven as they navigate in strange new worlds facing dangers and challenges makes you a time traveler. Nodyynia and the Guardians’ world are calling, stay a while.

N.H. Fennecus