Here an extract from Rise of Nine, chapter 1:

I remember feeling my face burn with embarrassment. Her challenge hit its mark. I finally said, ‘No, I’ve never been on an airplane.’ I wanted to tell her I’ve been on something much bigger, something much more impressive than a little airplane. I wanted her to know I came to Earth on a ship from another planet called Lorien and the trip had covered more than 100 million miles. I didn’t, though, because I knew I had to keep Lorien secret.

100 million miles is as much as the distance between Earth and the Sun. Lorien is located in another star system. How is it possible that they travelled such a short distance?

  • "More than 100 million miles" could mean any larger number. – Valorum Jun 28 '15 at 20:14
  • 1
    He knew a shortcut, duh. – Ernest Friedman-Hill Jun 28 '15 at 20:15

Although it raises more questions than it answers, within the "Lorien" canon, we know that the Lorienese(?) are actually quite clueless about the distance of their home planet:

The detective writes something on the notepad. “Where are you originally from?”

“The planet Lorien, three hundred million miles away.”

“Must have been a long trip, John Smith.” - The Power of Six


Of course I know full well where Lorien is without having to be told. There is a certain pull, a certain way that my eyes always gravitate towards the spot where, billions of miles away, Lorien sits. I try to catch a snow-flake on the tip of my tongue, then close my eyes and breathe in the cold air. When I open them I turn around and look at Sarah through the window. She’s sitting with her legs beneath her, Bernie Kosar’s head still in her lap. - I am Number Four

and (mild spoiler)

Anu drums the clipboard with his pen, growing annoyed by Malcolm's hypnotized vagueness. "How will they restart Lorien from here, Malcolm? The planet is light-years away.

Whether this is intended to show that the in-universe world is vastly different to our own or (more likely) is simply a goof by the various authors isn't clear.

  • I'd say goof by authors. Few people really comprehend the vast distances involved in interstellar space, so they grasp for the biggest number people are familiar with. Hence, billions of miles when duodecillions is probably more accurate. – Covertwalrus Jun 29 '15 at 5:40
  • The "goof by authors" story seems to be the most plausible explanation in this case. I read 2 books so far and I'm a bit sorry to have started it at all, although it has 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon. – vap78 Jul 1 '15 at 9:37
  • @Richard - one more place that confirms the "good by authors" option is in the very beginning of the first book. The distance of "several hundreds of light years" is mentioned there which sounds correct. Too pity they did not maintain it though the books. – vap78 Jul 1 '15 at 9:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.