When is an Hour Not an Hour?

A large part of 60th Hour involves time. The driving force behind the narrative is the countdown to the calendar’s end. In addition, much of daily life in the Kingdom of Kenarin involves time or timekeeping.

At some point during the worldbuilding for the story, the Kenarin day became 60 hours long. I cannot remember specifically when or why that happened, but it undoubtedly involved the symmetry with the other units of time. With 6 days in a week, 60 weeks in a year, 60 years in a cycle, and 60 cycles in the calendar, the number 24 just didn’t fit.

Of course, once the fantasy world has 60 hours in a day, that leads to next question: how does a 60-hour Kenarin day compare to one of ours in the real world? Is their day really long or are their hours really short?

Fortunately, 60th Hour was a fantasy novel, not science fiction. I didn’t have to worry about any of those pesky humans from Earth landing on my planet and comparing it to their home world. Therefore there was no need to determine the exact length of the Kenarin hour down to the micro-nanosecond. I just needed a general idea of an hour for timing the action of the story.

After consideration of the issue, I decided to keep the Kenarin day roughly the same length as ours. That meant each of those corresponding 60 hours had to be approximately 24 minutes in real world time. Likewise, each minute in Kenarin is roughly eqivalent to 24 seconds in our world.

So why, you might ask, did John and I decide to use the words “hours” and “minutes” for units of time that did not correspond to those same units in the real world? Why not just make up fantasy names for those units of time?

Two reasons. First, the story already had a lot of long and easily mixed up fantasy names and did not need additional ones, especially not about the critical timekeeping story element.

Second, do you remember the original Battlestar Galactica TV series? How long was a micron past a centon? Maybe you know. I don’t. At this point, I can’t even remember if the two terms measured time or distance.

And just how many parsecs does it take for the average smuggler to do the Kessel Run?

-Susan 6/19/2020

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