Easter Eggs

 
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Easter Eggs

With the rapid approach of an extremely late Easter, I thought a quick article on easter eggs might be fun.

Speaking of late Easters, did you know that the extremely esoteric method of date selection for the Christian holiday was decided upon all the way back at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD? I had always assumed that the date of Easter was a later Catholic tradition. Turns out the early Church wanted a way that all of Christians could reliably celebrate Christ’s resurrection on the same day. The first day after the first full moon of spring was the method they went with, which gives a range from March 22nd to April 25th. That April 25th date happens extremely rarely, but will actually be coming up in a few decades in 2038.

As the director of my church’s choir, I’m pretty sure that means I would get at least an extra week to procrastinate starting rehearsing for Easter…

Long digressions aside let’s talk easter eggs. A fun little side effect of writing a near future story like After Moses is that I can include all sorts of real-world easter eggs, or fun little references and hidden gems for readers to discover. After Moses only takes place a couple of centuries from now, not nearly enough time for all of our culture and history to be forgotten and discarded. I try and keep them small enough so that they don’t scream, “Look at me!”

In the opener of Chapter 3: Train to Churchill, I mention John Wayne. This doesn’t require an awful lot of explanation, but I did want to mention that’s the most pop culture of a reference I’ll make. Making things too modern has a bad side effect of dating your work. If I mention Lady Gaga, Donald J. Trump, or McDonald's it would feel a bit hammy. Mr. Wayne has been gone long enough to not have that side effect. His impact on film was big enough that even a few centuries later, I have little doubt that film historians will remember him.

Now a few easter eggs that might require a little explanation.

You may remember in chapter 6 a very strange detail about the University of Ganymede.

Sunrise after the long night had always been a time of celebration at the university as a gathering of students and faculty would meet at Galileo’s Mausoleum to greet the dawn. Of course the long dead scientist wasn’t present, but three of his fingers and one tooth had been preserved in a bell jar and were proudly displayed. The old joke was that everyone at the university would be branded a heretic if Galileo endured a sunrise alone.

It didn’t make much sense, but then most traditions don’t.

 
Statue of Galileo outside the Iffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

Statue of Galileo outside the Iffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

 

If you wondered what in the world I was thinking here, I promise I have an explanation! Those fingers and that tooth? They are actually preserved in a museum in Italy. (He’s not the only historical figure we have pieces of. We’ve got some of Napoleon preserved too) I wasn’t able to figure out WHY they preserved those pieces and if some history buff knows that answer and can tell me, by all means, comment or send me an email. Anyway, being the sentimental saps that we are, I thought it quite likely that we would take some of Galileo’s remains to the moon he discovered so long ago. A university was founded in his honor and I imagine, to the students and faculty, he became something of a patron saint. Thus, a weird ritual sprang up in his honor.

Then there’s the more sciency easter egg. I named an orbital refinery over titan Huygens Industrial Chem. Now most of you probably don’t know who Christiaan Huygens (pronounced Hy-gens) was. Let me tell you. Huygens was a Dutch polymath, meaning he was an expert across multiple fields, who lived in the 1600s. He did work in Astronomy, physics, mathematics, and was an inventor. And you know what he’s most famous for? Discovering the rings of Saturn.

Christiaan Huygens, painting by Caspar Netscher

Christiaan Huygens, painting by Caspar Netscher

In 1655, using a telescope he designed himself, Huygens spotted “bulges” on the side of Saturn. He proposed that Saturn had a single solid ring encircling it. Of course, later astronomers with much better telescopes would more accurately see the rings of Saturn, but Huygens beat them to it. He also discovered Titan. I felt it fitting to at least give him a mention when the story made its way to the part of our solar system where his work was so important.

There are others scattered through After Moses and many more to come. In the next chapter, we’ll find out just what is going on in orbit over Titan. Check back next Friday to read chapter 8 or subscribe and keep an eye on your inbox. Thank for reading!

Michael Kane1 Comment