Our omniscient God has decided to intervene for (arguably, if you ask some religious people) the first time at least in a very long time.

For matters unknown to us, He has frozen all time on Earth, but has not frozen the cosmos outside of the planet; every molecule, every person, every satellite and breath of wind is frozen-in-time, let's say to the extent of the exosphere (10,000 km) for five months.

July 2015 is suddenly December 2015 according to our position around the sun, and all the other external cosmos. There will be a follow-up question about how this scientifically screws things up, but for now, I'm just asking what the general reaction would be for folks. This is set in Portland, Oregon: not an overly religious city, and not a city that panics much (looting, etc.) in bad situations; but if it's not too broad, I'd be happy for some hints on elsewhere.

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    $\begingroup$ Spin by Charles Robert Wilson has a similar event. It's a pretty decent book too. $\endgroup$ – Samuel Jul 7 '15 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ Does God act secretly or has he announced his intention to do this (or, after, that he did so)? $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jul 8 '15 at 0:30
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio - He acts secretly, although I suspect the believers most likely will attribute this to "an act of God," whatever their religion might be. $\endgroup$ – Mikey Jul 8 '15 at 17:19

People tend to interpret the data to suit their innate biases [citation needed]

As such, Portland, OR (as you noted, not a hotbed of a religious thought) would

  • most likely go into "Aliens" blame mode, leavened by assorted spiritualism of various unorthodox faiths.

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  • Approximately 78% of population will blame G.H.W G.W. Jeb Bush.

    The rest will probably blame Clinton Obama Clinton

  • There would likely be tons of "prophets", 97% of whom would be out to swindle a fool out if their money.

More specific societal response would strongly depend on scientific effects (which OP noted are offtopic for this question)

However, sudden seasonal climate changes would likely wreak havoc on food availability. This would likely lead to food shortages, and in Portland, likely rationing, price controls, and not impossibly, full on nationalization of food supply and distribution.

Longer term, I foresee a spike in physics major enrollments, as people will get jolted into wanting to understand this clearly weird event.

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    $\begingroup$ Good point: did this freeze the orientation of Earth's axis? Then the seasons would jump pased on the new position in orbit. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Jul 7 '15 at 19:47
  • $\begingroup$ Upvoted because Aliens meme. $\endgroup$ – Aify Jul 7 '15 at 20:23

Well I think it would take up to a day for people to begin to have any idea what 'happened' meaning, why are the days shorter/longer, why does it seems to be getting colder/warmer than expected. Astronomers would be the first to have some inkling of what is going on, since they watch the night sky and would notice we are not where we were several 'days' ago. Some kind of time warp would be postulated. The people with the biggest problem are going to be farmers in the extreme climes, Northern crops are going to die mostly useless and southern crops might be too late to plant.

There will be some panic, and a lot of 'Armageddon' or end times prophecies would grow but if that was all that happened, most people would shortly get on with the business of living, though with a lot more fear as an undercurrent since we don't know why/how it happened and so don't know if it will happen again. But other than some uncertainty and a few extra crazies running around, things will likely fall back to mostly normal after a few weeks.

One year the northern hemisphere didn't have a summer, there was a bit of panic, but overall, people made it through. Many died, but we are a fairly hardy race that can handle changes. Bigger problems would be for plants and animals that expect and need the seasons for their life cycles.


Denialists of all kinds will figure some way to attribute it to the global conspiracy that is Science, since they beleive it's all fake anyway. This includes "flat earth" and "geocentrism" spcifically (check out you-tube if you don't know to what extent these people exist!) and various religious fundamentalists who believe that the rest of the universe does not exist.

Most people don't have direct knowledge of the positions of the planets and won't care, or won't beleive that such a thing happened, and won't understand why astronomers are sure.

GPS sattelites are included in the freeze, so that should still work. Communication sattelites and others in geosynchronous orbit will be messed up. At the cery least, adjustments and calibration will be needed. In some cases, the satellite will not be recoverable.

Spacecraft elsewhere in the solar system will be on its own for that time. They might include saved data relating to the earth. Look at solar observatories in particular.

Was the freeze actually a protective stasis shield? If outside evidence is seen (e.g. on the moon) and the solar observatories are fried, it could point to a solar event or a nearby gamma ray burst. Maybe a fresh supernova reminant can be seen. Maybe it was for a would-be impact event.

Even if there is no such evidence, that would be a hypothesis that is floated by non-religious and beleived on faith by a new class of nuts.

If this was indeed done for Earth's protection or benefit, why 5 months? That will jump to a different season and mess up the weather and ecosystems. It would be less disruptive to jump an exact year, or briefly. In fact, if it was an exact year you might wonder if it's happened before but was largely unnoticed in pre-technical times.

Why would an omniscient being do that? If it's for protection, why not just prevent or divert the disaster directly? True religious folks don't grasp the paradoxes or imagine the laeger picture and treat "omni"scence as within their own narrow human viewpoint, which is far from omniscient as one can get. If it's just because, the issues of why? are deeper.

Consideration might be given to the one real effect — the jump in seasons — as being the purpose.

Skeptics and non-believers will look for an explaination of über-technology rather than something ouside the laws of physics (supernatural). The idea of "the world is a simulation" may also be advanced to justify the existence of supernatural.

If the various religious populations don't destroy everything fighting over which god and what command tomus is infered, it could lead to a WW-II style technological explosion, as people put resources into better understanding what is possible and how it all works, and searching the cosmos for more clues.

Rather than giving a reason up front, a good story would be to have different culture and groups react in different ways, and write about those.


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