|Zero gravity conditions and the fish pond
||I get a lot of comments about the fish in the pond and the zero gravity conditions. Here's the physics: if there is only a pond and calm water nothing will happen, because you always need a force to change something in zero gravity. The cat Goldie is moving upward only because because of her movements (paws pushing downwards) which create a vertical force. In the scene I assumed that the carp are only creating horizontal forces, but admittedly that might be a bit unrealistic. In any case they would certainly send drops of water upward and it's possible that even a fish could come out floating depending on their direction of movement.
|Why does the spaceship Perennial use hydrogen (isotopes) as fuel instead of helium-3?
||Nuclear fusion based on helium-3 is certainly a better choice. The reason was not to complicate matters too much as helium-3 raises the question of mining it on the Moon or other planets in sufficient quantities.
|I thought that in 50 years' time speech-based interfaces would be commonplace. Why use keyboards?
||When people talk to an android this implies speech recognition, so my book reflects that. However, I doubt that the prediction of speech as the ubiquitous interface to computers will really come true. When you surf the Net it's much faster to use a mouse (it might be convenient in a car, though). When you correct someone else's text document or spreadsheet it's much faster to use the keyboard.
|Do you really think that first names change much over the decades?
||Well, actually most of the names do exist even today (Julara, Ronyo etc.) and I think that over time the popularity of names will always change. Perhaps Julara is amoung the ten most popular names in the year 2061. Why not?
|Can large scale projects as the one you describe in your book really kept secret for so many years?
||I do. I believe there's much more going on (even today) than what will end up in the news.