Odds and Ends
Notes from the author about the science in the book:
One of the most important bits of science referred to in the book is the concept of stopped light. This was based on the research that Lene Hau has done on this subject, though of course it was extended in the novel. You can find many articles about her work, perhaps starting with the Wikipedia one.
The concept of hypervelocity planets orbiting a black hole is not science fiction, as you can see here.
For those of you who watch the Big Bang Theory, the Drake equation was mentioned in one of them. It is a way to calculate how many extraterrestrial civilizations there might be in the galaxy, based on several variables. Here it is .... have a go, and see what you think!! ...
The numbers I think work are:
which gives an answer of 0.9, which seems about right. I mean, we are here, so it can't be a zero probablility. On the other hand, I don't think there are going to be too many worlds that escape all of the possible catastrophes which can occur. Still, even if there is only one intelligent, sentient world in every reasonably sized galaxy, that would still give us one hundred billion sentient worlds in the universe. Enough for you?? And that would be considered a very low estimate by most!!!