Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powell


Tell us what you thought about the April 2005 issue!

Moderator: Editors

User avatar

Junior Critic

Posts: 68

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post April 18, 2005, 11:49:47 AM

Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powell

The simple fact here, is that when I began to read this ss, I was immediately hooked. I LOVE hard sf, and this one with it's roulette ships and wormholes had me after the first sentence....<br><br>What a great premise and the intro of the backstory was great. Loved the chars and the whole personification of the hero too....<br><br>BUT...and here's the problem for me...I fullly thought that the premise was there, the potential to tell a superb space opera was there....and that it fell flat on it's face. I've never said that about any story I've read here....but truly, I felt that the great thought that went into the ss, was sabotaged by a too soft mid story and the ending was atrocious (sic?)<br><br>My problems I guess, stem from an imagination that had taken off soon as the ss began....and I never liked what the writer "did" with the plot after about the first third of the story. Realizing that the hero had fled was bad enough....and even then I could tell he'd be going back to find that alien ship....<br><br>But that's just it....it was too 'tellable' for me then, too 'ordinary', too 'plain' -- man the roulette ship idea is so full of potential, that I truly felt almost 'cheated' out of a great plotline....<br><br>Note : my comments do NOT come from a superior writing ability....I struggle with just about everything when I'm writing. But as a reader of thousands of sf ss and novels, I know a good plot when it appears...and I felt so bad that the ss was mired in a too-tellable  and totally lacking last 2/3 of the story and ending...<br><br>Jim
Last edited by JVRudnick on April 18, 2005, 11:50:11 AM, edited 1 time in total.
-------------------------------------------------
[i:1lubxs05]always learning to write GREAT sf...[/i:1lubxs05]
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 550

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Atlanta, GA

Post April 18, 2005, 12:32:05 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

I'm going to disagree with Jim on this one. I thought this was one of the best stories I've ever read on Aphelion. It's not a happy ending, but the style and depth of character kept me enthralled from beginning to end.<br>
"Even the straight arrow needs a crooked bow."
- Samani


jaimie l. elliott

[b:2o4dvkjg]Check out my website:[/b:2o4dvkjg]
http://www.jaimie.org/
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2379

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Post April 18, 2005, 01:34:19 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

Gareth Lyn Powell's original version ended with the departure of the ship on its return trip to the alien 'derelict' (which turned out to be some kind of a trap, rather than an actual abandoned ship). I asked him to tell us what happened next -- and he gave us the current 'everybody dies' ending.<br><br>However, by doing so, he's opened up the possibility of more stories in this universe (with new characters, of course). Why did the alien ship respond differently to Dervish's ship the second time? Was it because it 'recognized' the ship? Or was it because doing whatever it did to Sal's former crewmates gave it more energy? Where did the ship come from?<br><br>And now that the ship has more power and fighting capabilities, will it change from a trap-door spider to a wolf spider and go hunting for more prey?<br><br>Gareth -- any plans for sequels?<br><br>Robert M.
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)
User avatar

Junior Critic

Posts: 68

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Post April 18, 2005, 01:52:49 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

OH my gosh, yes please!!!!<br><br>I get the drift Robert, of the ending....but with the possiblity of new stories in this universe...I'm overjoyed!<br><br>Ooooh...running from that "huntership" that can track you down a wormhole too....gee....hurry Gareth!<br><br>:-)<br><br>Jim<br>
-------------------------------------------------
[i:1lubxs05]always learning to write GREAT sf...[/i:1lubxs05]

Senior Critic

Posts: 387

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Somewhere outside San Diego

Post April 18, 2005, 09:05:30 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

Great story. <br><br>Fxxk `em. Kill `em all. It was a bit like Slim Pickens riding the nuke into the sunset, but w/o the laughs. <br><br>Although, I admit I liked the hero and would've liked to see his next adventure. But perhaps there'll be prequels. <br><br>One problem with offing the hero is that we can't see him resolve his problem with the evil twin. Maybe Dervish has a friend who'll deal with the dude in a sequel.<br><br>World-building worked well. Effortless. The mark of a talented writer. <br><br>There were a couple of times when I was confused by section breaks, but for the most part, not a problem.<br><br>Also, there is an ethical issue with Sal essentially murdering Christofoli. He might've made an effort to dissuade her from coming on a flight already fraught with risk...<br><br>Anyway, this is another Aphelion writer who deserves to be in print, and I hope that's the case already.<br><br>Dan E.
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post April 18, 2005, 10:19:17 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

The simple fact here, is that when I began to read this ss, I was immediately hooked. I LOVE hard sf, and this one with it's roulette ships and wormholes had me after the first sentence....
Jim
<br>Hmm... Unless Gareth crunched a whole lot of numbers that I didn't notice to test the stresses the theoretical physics would put on the ship as it burned through the wormhole, this 'hard' tale seems a little 'limp' in the science department.<br><br>While Jim was enthralled with the opener, it left me nonplussed. Being told the ships were dangerous and sexy, rather than learning it though the attitudes and actions of the players, was a definite turnoff. Rather than setting the mood, the telling of it made me think the opposite, and that this was sarcasm.<br><br>Some of the world building was excellent. Neat concept of the roulette ships; a lottery of your life. There were bits of all the senses tossed in, and that was good. Actual description of the people, places, and events, however, was rather lacking. After the arrowhead shape of the ships, the flapping coats on the ice miners, and Christofoli's copper-colored hair, I stopped knowing what anything looked like. I was clueless on the designs of the AI chamber and the alien ship--and those were important settings.<br><br>In terms of characterization, I think Sal was done ok. He had a problem, faced it, made a choice, and paid the consequences. You can't ask for much else from a character. Everyone else, with the exception of Kate, was a cardboard cutout—one-dimensional. They were bit players, so bit most of them weren't even needed. Now, if Sal had instead sought out the brother, that twist would have added depth to both of them... plus Kate. Why bother to see the farm girl inside the ditched chick? Her character comes and goes in only 270 words. Christofoli too, she was means to an end rather than a character with any life of her own.<br><br>The "soggy" midsection may have been the best part of the plot. At least it began to have some flow, some energy, as the discordant bits of Sal's life thrashed together. Sal was a burnout, waiting to die as a guilt-ridden nothing, as he felt he deserved. The brother's plot line was a dead-end, serving only to force Sal off the station (but only barely, since he's not badly wounded, and still waited two days before leaving--he clearly wasn't worried about the brother). <br><br>If this ship was so tough that nuclear bombs just break cameras, would it had survived impaling the raider? (I suspect that such a propulsion system would create a time/space distortion wave at the bow--why else streamline the ship--increasing the impact's effect.) What happens next could be the best part of this story, especially if Dieter was right, and Kate survived.<br><br>After how well Gareth handled dialogue in his last story, I was let down by the lack of distinguishing characteristics of the speech. Nick Malik from "Catch a Burning Star" had the burnout vibe to him. I didn't get that from Sal's words, or anyone else's.<br><br><br>So, good idea for the universe, but I was let down by the execution of the plot and the lack of character development.<br><br>Nate
Hardcover, paperback, pdf, eBook, iBook, Nook, and now Kindle & Kobo!
Image
A cooperative effort between 17 Aphelion authors. No part of any sales go to Aphelion.
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 845

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee    USA

Post April 19, 2005, 07:29:59 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

Hmm... Unless Gareth crunched a whole lot of numbers that I didn't notice to test the stresses the theoretical physics would put on the ship as it burned through the wormhole, this 'hard' tale seems a little 'limp' in the science department.
. . . . . . .

(I suspect that such a propulsion system would create a time/space distortion wave at the bow--why else streamline the ship--increasing the impact's effect.)

Nate
<br><br>To say the least, Nate made some interesting points. But I think I'm going to critique the critic on this one.<br><br>No. This isn't HARD Science Fiction. Any time you are using wormholes (constructed by the Ancients?) as your FTL drive, you're invoking magic. <br><br>Wormholes are like good Nazis who are also good people: There ain't no such thing. . .even though the possibility of such a beastie might be intriguing. Nobody knows if they might be hot or cold, stressful to a ship's hull, or literally insensate from the traveler's point of view. So Nate's comment about crunching numbers doesn't quite make sense.<br><br> What numbers? <br><br>Mr. Powell's wormholes cause stress and heat. . .well, so be it. If someone else decides to make them as gentle as coasting down a babbling brook in a raft. . .they are using exactly as much 'Hard' science as anyone else.<br><br>And the comment about the shape of the ship being determined by the propulsion system. Well. . .again. . .what propulsion system? Nowhere in the story does it describe what makes the thing move. And I'm really glad that Nate suspects that a "time/space distortion wave" might form at the bow. Anybody know what that is? Enquiring physicists want to know. Maybe they made it look like an arrowhead because they thought it was a really groovy design. <br><br>The moral of all this is that if you're going to challenge the science in the story—always a good thing, btw—maybe you should know a little, first. And oh yeah, Star Trek 'science' doesn't count. It's all made up. <br><br>I too found the ending disappointing. Disappointing isn't the same thing as bad. It's just what happened in the story. You don't like it? Write a better one and submit it. The tale rather mirrored the protagonist. It was full of potential but in the end it just seemed to give up on itself and go out in a blaze of glory. <br><br>The story was certainly readable and interesting on several levels. It snagged me early and kept it going right up to that oh so unsatisfying end. But good storytelling isn't like your wedding night. It's okay to leave 'em wanting more.<br><br>Bill <br>
"I am Susan Ivanova. . . .I am the Right Hand of Vengence. . .I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post April 19, 2005, 09:05:55 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

Nate made some interesting points. But I think I'm going to critique the critic on this one.

No. This isn't HARD Science Fiction.
<br>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_science_fiction<br><br>I'd agree that there is a lack of agreement as to what exactly constitutes 'hard' (see above link). Personally, I say the 'hard' label applies when you know that everything you are doing and using in a story are supportable by existing scientific theory, usually because you are a physicist yourself or have based your work on the papers of one, and you can present the math to prove the possibility of everything in your story.<br><br>
And the comment about the shape of the ship being determined by the propulsion system. Well. . .again. . .what propulsion system? Nowhere in the story does it describe what makes the thing move.
<br>Fusion engines are mentioned a number of times in the text, "burning" an apparent fuel.<br>
And I'm really glad that Nate suspects that a "time/space distortion wave" might form at the bow. Anybody know what that is? Enquiring physicists want to know. Maybe they made it look like an arrowhead because they thought it was a really groovy design.

The moral of all this is that if you're going to challenge the science in the story—always a good thing, btw—maybe you should know a little, first.
<br>How about this apparently little-known theory called general relativity? It was, after all, the theory that allowed for wormholes in the first place. Also in that theory is allowed the transfer of energy through oscillations, or waves, in space time, (although in fairness) usually by gravity. <br><br>The wormhole conduit in this case is described as a "hot" place. I took this to mean in temperature rather than in radiation. The presence of such heat and the streamlined designs I took to imply that there was enough matter within the wormhole to cause friction. Forget scientists. Anyone who has ever seen dolphins riding the bow waves of ships could tell you there's a lot of force and momentum there. I believe general relativity again holds the acceleration of the particles through which the ship travels to a finite limit, due to stresses of friction and giving off their excess energy as heat--making the conduits hot. Those particles near to the speed of light would logically be distorted in time as well as space relative to the alien ship.<br><br>I assumed the fusion drive produces speed near or passing that of light, and that travel though the matter of the wormhole would create a time/space distortion wave at the bow of the ship. I believe the effect of that wave striking a stationary object would be considerable, and logical to infer without proving the physics of it in fine print.<br><br>Reviewing my own argument, I may have erred in that the ships may not have been still within the conduit. It is unclear in the text whether they are out or in. <br><br>This is as hard science as I can give, but it is hardly “Star Trek”.<br><br>Nate
Hardcover, paperback, pdf, eBook, iBook, Nook, and now Kindle & Kobo!
Image
A cooperative effort between 17 Aphelion authors. No part of any sales go to Aphelion.

Commenter

Posts: 3

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Farmington, AR

Post April 19, 2005, 10:01:38 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

I, for one, really enjoyed the story. The plot was well thought out and I really enjoyed the descriptions of the ships from the past. Nice job, Gareth...I look forward to reading more of your stories!
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 550

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Atlanta, GA

Post April 19, 2005, 11:18:11 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

No. This isn't HARD Science Fiction. Any time you are using wormholes (constructed by the Ancients?) as your FTL drive, you're invoking magic.
<br><br>When you tear apart the hard science, strip away all the equations, all the theories, what's left is something that hasn't been done yet... and that, boys and girls, is magic. That's what distinguishes science fiction from science fact.<br>
"Even the straight arrow needs a crooked bow."
- Samani


jaimie l. elliott

[b:2o4dvkjg]Check out my website:[/b:2o4dvkjg]
http://www.jaimie.org/

Commenter

Posts: 13

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Orange County - California

Post April 19, 2005, 11:38:13 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

Grumble of the Month: We interrupt your reading with the following message.<br><br>I read with some interest the comments and reviews in this months (April) issue of the story ‘Six Lights Off Green Scar’, and the argument about ‘hard science’. Several of the commentators spoke rather despairingly about ‘Star Trek’ science among other things, crunching numbers and the shape of a starship, heat inside a worm holes, plus other sundry things. I had to smile a little at all this, not in a despairing manner, but from a sense of surprise. Paddling around in our primitive inter-system canoes we call space shuttles, few if any but theorist and Sci-Fi writers have any concept of the problems we are going to encounter once we start pushing the light speed barrier. Much as they didn’t know what to expect when we approved the speed of sound or beyond, designs of that time were woefully inadequate. It took the X-craft and ships like her to find the questions, let alone the answers to the problem.<br><br>Any talk about ship design, stresses, engine and the like has to be pure speculation at this point as we simply don’t know. A case in point might be the proposed Mar’s mission, and here I am speaking of the original one, not the present one. The design for this spaceship was scrapped when it was discovered that the crew would all be dead before it reached the half way point. How you say? High energy particles from the sun would have ‘chipped’ off aluminum atoms from the ships hull and poisoned the crew, hence the gold Mylar wrap for space ships of later design, and the gold laminate in the crews helmets.<br><br>Before we can talk of any design for a ship approaching the speed of light, or one that will encounter high radiation, a very real possibility, on its journey we will have to come up with the mythical ‘Star Trek’ shield. You think this a crazy idea? Fact: A micro meteorite the size of a grain of dust hitting a ships hull at .5 or .75 percent the speed of light will crash through ANYTHING with the impact of a .50 cal rifle bullet passing through jello.<br><br>If you have an effective shield to stop nasty little things like micrometers, high energy particles, radiation and the like, the ship can be any shape your heart desires. You only concern in designing a ship then would be if this ship will land at the other end of your journey, or hang in orbit while you take a shuttle to the surface. Even now, standing on the shoulders of giants we can only see the beginnings of the problem that will face us when we finally leap off into the endless night. The writers of ‘Star Trek’ and similar shows, like all of us that write Sci-Fi, try to see and imagine the possibilities and problem in ship design, and come up with some very creative idea of how to solve them. As Arthur C. Clark said, ‘…space is stranger then we can imagine…’<br><br>Now back to you regular scheduled reading.<br><br>Boomer<br>
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post April 20, 2005, 10:15:10 AM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

I read with some interest the comments and reviews in this months (April) issue of the story ‘Six Lights Off Green Scar’, and the argument about ‘hard science’.  Several of the commentators spoke rather despairingly about ‘Star Trek’ science among other things, crunching numbers and the shape of a starship, heat inside a worm holes, plus other sundry things.
[snip]The writers of ‘Star Trek’ and similar shows, like all of us that write Sci-Fi, try to see and imagine the possibilities and problem in ship design, and come up with some very creative idea of how to solve them.  As Arthur C. Clark said, ‘…space is stranger then we can imagine…’
<br>I certainly don't mean to imply Star Trek is without scientific merit, and it's value as a source of imagination and wonderment goes right off the scale. <br><br>I watch Trek myself.<br><br>I was thinking mainly of the Voyager days and whichever "Quantum" impossibility drive they invented that week and never tried again. I think anyone would agree that the science was a little "soggy" there.<br><br>Nate
Hardcover, paperback, pdf, eBook, iBook, Nook, and now Kindle & Kobo!
Image
A cooperative effort between 17 Aphelion authors. No part of any sales go to Aphelion.
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2379

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Post April 20, 2005, 11:52:08 AM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

I certainly don't mean to imply Star Trek is without scientific merit, and it's value as a source of imagination and wonderment goes right off the scale.

I watch Trek myself.

I was thinking mainly of the Voyager days and whichever "Quantum" impossibility drive they invented that week and never tried again. I think anyone would agree that the science was a little "soggy" there.

Nate
<br><br>Not as soggy as the TNG episode where they used maneuvering thrusters to swing around a star at the center of a (rather small) Dyson sphere when their warp and impulse engines were off-line. That would be like putting a shuttle in low-Earth-orbit using a couple of fire extinguishers.<br><br>Then there was the whole interspecies mating thing ... okay, TNG had that episode that established that ALL the major humanoid races (Klingon, Human, Vulcan/Romulan, and probably Andorian, too) had been 'seeded' across the galaxy by the same ancient race, so the genetic differences would not be as drastic as one might think, but still ... human/Vulcan and human/Klingon offspring seemed to happen without a lot of extreme genetic messing about, even in ST:TOS days.<br><br>A great deal of the technobabble on the Trek series was just that -- great gobs of current scientific (and fringe scientific) jargon, usually misused. (Consider the way they used superstrings in ST:Generations and an episode or two of (I think) TNG ...)<br><br>The Star Wars universe, on the other hand, never CLAIMED to be at all scientifically accurate. At its, best, however, it sure is fun to watch (I love lightsabers ... it's the frustrated samurai in me, I think.)<br><br>Robert M.
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)

Senior Critic

Posts: 387

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Somewhere outside San Diego

Post April 20, 2005, 12:38:45 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

I would like to suggest that in this post-postmodern, postreality age there is no science, soggy or otherwise, only discourse.<br><br>Dan E.
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2379

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Post April 20, 2005, 01:25:51 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

I would like to suggest that in this post-postmodern, postreality age there is no science, soggy or otherwise, only discourse.

Dan E.
<br>
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)
User avatar

Master Critic

Posts: 845

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee    USA

Post April 21, 2005, 04:46:08 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe


How about this apparently little-known theory called general relativity? It was, after all, the theory that allowed for wormholes in the first place. Also in that theory is allowed the transfer of energy through oscillations, or waves, in space time, (although in fairness) usually by gravity.
<br><br>Oh please, Nate, don't get me started on general relativity. I'm one of the growing number of physicists out here that thinks that large portions should be scrapped—basically everything concerning the nature of gravity—and given the decent burial that it deserves. I'm a Higgs Boson man, myself. Gravity IS curved space. (Can I get an Amen! from the congregation?)<br><br>And we could argue ad nauseum about whether the critters called Lorentzian wormholes (general relativity) or Euclidean wormholes (of particle physics fame) ever can, ever should or ever will be. <br><br>But as often as Lorentzian wormholes (those in the story would simply have to be this kind, by the way) may come up in certain general relativity-based equations, nothing we have describes their physical properties. So we don't know if they're hot, cold, blue, green, radioactive or persimmon and puce. So once again I have to ask. . .'What numbers?'<br><br>And yeah, you're right about the fusion engines, I was referring to what makes them go FTL with my comment but I was ambiguous, to say the least. It's not like you need to streamline vacuum ships in any way to move through normal space so I thought that's what you were talking about. And the exhaust from the 'normal' reaction motors rather figured in the plot. . .since the pilot used it to kill people. But I digress. . .<br><br>But in your reply when you said:
"I assumed the fusion drive produces speed near or passing that of light,. . ."
<br><br>Uh. . .Nate. . .buddy. . .pal. . .did you say PASSING the speed of light? Did you really say (write) that? Einstein would kick your butt for first quoting general relativity and then writing that. <br><br>My intent with all of this nit picketyness is to let all the up-and-coming writers out there know that no matter how much they research, some reader or another is going to know more about the science in the story than the writer does and will undoubtedly let everyone know about it if someone writes something that is just plain impossible. Once again, if James Bond escapes the trap by just flapping his arms really fast and flying away. . .even rabid fans won't buy it. And more importantly, it can ruin the story.<br><br>But in this story Mr. Powell did everything right and was criticized anyway. There are literally no numbers to crunch to figure out the heat stresses of a wormhole because nobody knows what the things will be like—assuming they exist at all. It's a little like criticizing Star Trek because Vulcan to Romulas, round trip at Warp 6 should take four days and in episode 14 it took twelve. <br><br>It's an important lesson for all aspiring Asimovs, that some folks will pick apart any science you put in there so the best bet is to—quite literally—stay scrupulously within what is known and go wild with the rest. <br><br>Hard SF works great for stories with a small scope. . .like on a moon base or a space station. But it's boring as heck using nothing but known science for stories on a grand scale. That is, if you want your story to have space ships zipping around visiting different planets or solar systems and you don't want centuries (or millennia) elapsing before your intrepid hero gets back home to tell mama what he's done. If you want this kind of story, you have to use magic.<br><br>Magic is warp drives, hyperspace, null space, grey space, wormholes, jump gates, crazy eddie points and all the rest. Use one or use 'em all. Feel free to make up your own. It's all good. And more importantly. . .you can't get it wrong because you're not pretending that it is anything but a plot device to get your stalwart, square-jawed hero into the range of the BEM's slithering tentacles poised oozingly over the 'Fire All Weapons' button/pad/lever/bulb. . . .<br><br>So Nate, I love you, man. And all writers need to have their science challenged when it violates what is known. But Mr. Powell's wormholes were fine. Since he created them with his story, they can do whatever he thinks moves the plot along toward the ending he chooses. Challenge them when they need it but let it slide when it's nothing but smoke and mirrors. Because that's what makes this stuff so fun.<br><br>Bill Wolfe<br>
"I am Susan Ivanova. . . .I am the Right Hand of Vengence. . .I am Death Incarnate, and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."

Commenter

Posts: 13

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Orange County - California

Post April 21, 2005, 09:07:49 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

Bill. I second that motion and take and order of fries on the side :)<br><br>I'd much rather see remarks and comments on the writing style, plot, characters, plot holes and the like than on the 'hard or 'soft' science involved, unless as you say it violates know principles without reason (as in your JB comment). As a writer, I'd want to know if I got it 'right' from a story point of view and if the story moved you to tears or something else. All comments are welcome, positive or otherwise so I can improve on those aspects that detract from the story. As an engineer, I sometimes get a little heart burn over ship design and the like, but that’s me as I like my inter-stellar ships neat and tidy and grounded in general engineering principals, unless you can show this is ‘other’ or alien science. I do like a lot of Nate’s comments, but as you say, lets be careful when it comes to the science part.<br><br>Boomer<br>
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 3244

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Kaukauna, Wisconsin (USA)

Post April 21, 2005, 09:45:49 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

Uh. . .Nate. . .buddy. . .pal. . .did you say PASSING the speed of light? Did you really say (write) that? Einstein would kick your butt for first quoting general relativity and then writing that.
<br>Considering he couldn't remember to wear socks or coats while he circled the slush-drenched sidewalks around his house, thinking, I'm pretty sure a shiny bit of theorizin' would have distracted him before he went medieval on my hiney. :) <br><br>
Hard SF works great for stories with a small scope. . .like on a moon base or a space station. But it's boring as heck using nothing but known science for stories on a grand scale... If you want this kind of story, you have to use magic.
Magic is warp drives, hyperspace, null space, grey space, wormholes, jump gates, crazy eddie points and all the rest.
<br>But Gareth did use the "magic" wormhole device, so you seem to be agreeing with me that the science was a "little limp". No harm, no foul in using that device, but that it wasn't hard SF was meant to be the gist of my number crunching sentence that seems to have initiated this unfortunate exchange. <br><br>By and large the rest of my message was about character development, setting, & plot, but I don't believe one has to be a scientist before they're qualified to call a story hard SF or not. That's not that difficult distinction to make. <br><br>BTW--Given that the Romulan & Klingon Empires share a Neutral Zone border, it is logical to assume they are at roughly an equivalent distance from us. Earth to Vulcan (TOS [031] Amok Time) is 16.454 light years in the opposite direction. Earth to Gamma Hydrae II or IV (TOS [040] The Deadly Years) in the Neutral Zone is 132.111 light years. From the Neutral Zone to Romulus (TOS [015] Balance of Terror, Spock's map) is 3.621 light years. Crunching the numbers, a voyage of 152.186 light years at Warp 6 would take 141 days, 16 hours, 57 minutes, & 42 seconds. :P<br><br>http://www.stdimension.org/int/Cartography/DistanceList.htm <br>http://www.stdimension.org/int/Cartography/Program2.htm<br><br>Nate
Last edited by kailhofer on April 21, 2005, 09:53:54 PM, edited 1 time in total.
Hardcover, paperback, pdf, eBook, iBook, Nook, and now Kindle & Kobo!
Image
A cooperative effort between 17 Aphelion authors. No part of any sales go to Aphelion.
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2379

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Post April 21, 2005, 11:46:39 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

Poisonally, I figger if a story is INTERNALLY CONSISTENT, I'm happy. Even in fantasy, once you establish How The Frammistat of Arglebargle Works, you shouldn't have it do something entirely different later in the story (or later in the series, if you have multiple stories in the same universe). (I've even tried to stick to some kind of logical framework for How Magic Works in the Al Majius stories, but I'm sure I've bent my own rules as the series has evolved -- or devolved.)<br><br>We have no clue how the wormhole network functions in GLP's story, or what the physical properties inside a wormhole (which may not even be what our current physics would call it) would be. Could be the roulette ships are pointy at least partly because they are designed to fly in atmosphere as well as in space ... anyway, they use fusion drives to do non-relativistic in-system travel (taking some time to reach a 'gate'), then use the wormhole network to travel between systems. Somehow, it is possible to control where you come out (angle of entry, speed, tuning of magnetic or gravitic fields, whatever) so predictable jumps are possible; random jumps (using parameters nobody has used before and returned to tell about it) are also possible, but risky.<br><br>That's all we need to know for the story to 'work'. Consider it as a thought experiment: GIVEN this situation, ...<br><br>Robert M.
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)

Senior Critic

Posts: 417

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: St. Augustine, FL

Post April 25, 2005, 12:40:10 AM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

Hard science fiction, soft science fiction, or magic, I thought the story in itself was great--except for the ending (and I think everybody here knows my hang-up on endings).<br><br>A E van Vogt was often accused of weaving magical fairy tales into his science fiction.  On the other hand,  Isaac Asimov, the scientist, was often praised for the accurate science in his science fiction.  And yet, Asimov used magical devices such as FTL in his stories (without the magical FTL, science fiction would be pretty dull.)<br><br>I once read in the SFFWA Bulletin that hard scifi writers were permitted to use such devices as FTL and time travel in their stories.  It seems that if a device is used often enough by reputable writers, it becomes accepted.  IMO,  just because something magical receives the blessing of SFFWA doesn’t make it accurate science.<br><br>I ‘m fairly certain, too, that the Bulletin gave their blessing to writing about wormholes--either occurring naturally. or left behind by long dead alien civilizations. <br><br>So, as Jaimie pointed out. fiction is the operative word in science fiction.  To paraphrase Mark Twain, the difference between science and science fiction is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.<br><br>I don’t usually think about such things when I read a story--I just lose myself in the story and enjoy it (if I like it!).  For that reason, I’m not a very good critter.<br><br>Donald<br><br><br>
Last edited by dsullivan on April 25, 2005, 12:52:47 AM, edited 1 time in total.
A really good story can compensate for less-than-brilliant writing, but brilliant writing will not save a bad story.

Junior Critic

Posts: 91

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: United Kingdom

Post April 29, 2005, 07:03:09 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth L Powell

I didn't expect this story to kick off such a lively discussion, but I'm pleased that it has.<br><br>There are a few of points I feel I should clarify, as there seems to have been some confusion.<br><br>1) The wormholes allow ships with interplanetary capablity to travel interstellar distances. The Wildcat's fusion motors are for interplanetary manoeuvering only. There is no way they could push the ship to a respectable fraction of light speed, and no need.<br><br>2) The Wildcat is streamlined in order to make passage through the super-heated medium inside the wormholes easier. I did a lot of research into the postulated properties of wormholes before including them in this story. However, like hyperspace, FTL drives, or warp engines, they remain just a theory, and a convenient way to hurl our heroes around the cosmos.<br><br>If anyone wants to suggest a story featuring the adventures of a roulette ship's crew, drop me a line and I'll fill you in on some background. Because of the endless possibilities of random travel through the galaxy, there are endless possible stories that can be told in this framework.<br><br><br>Gareth<br><br><br>
Last edited by Gareth_Lyn_Powell on May 16, 2005, 04:05:02 AM, edited 1 time in total.

Commenter

Posts: 13

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Orange County - California

Post April 29, 2005, 08:03:32 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

I love the idea of wormholes, FTL, jump gates, and such because of the way, as Gareth said, of jumping our hero’s about the cosmos. In olden times, before the world became so small it was possible for writers to send their hero’s and heroines to exotic places like the darkest Africa, the Amazon, Marrakech, and places most people only heard about in the daily paper, or books. Nowadays, there aren’t many places of interest our intrepid adventures to go a-hunting outside of war zones that offer the unexpected, outlandish, and bizarre or rewards possibilities of a trip to the swamp people or Alpha Ceti Five. Before we knew the world, a writer could imagine a wonderful potpourri of possibilities and situation to place the intrepid hero’s and heroines in. Indiana Jones makes a perfect example, or even Master Hawkins in Treasure Island. Being cursed with imaginations as we are, it’s difficult to place our number one man or woman in similar situation in today’s world, so we look outward to the stars. The mode of transport to get there (in our universes) covers a wide spectrum, all with the intent of side stepping old Alfred E’s universal speed limit (I hate galactic cops who won’t let me put the hammer down and see what this baby can really do). One creative idea that gets a chuckle out of me is the thinly disguised old time full rigged sailing ships of David Drake’s ‘Lt. Leary’ series. For my stories, I happily swipe hyperspace or jump engines from whom ever came up with the idea in the first place, all to get you know who in a place where the normal mundane rules don’t apply, and I can happily let my imagination run wild. I for one would be the last to kibitz on another writer’s mode of transport, yet all comments on any stories, including my own are very welcome, no matter what they are about, as it gives me food for thought as to how I can improve. To Gareth Lin Powell, go for it. I hope to see more of your stories here. ;D
User avatar

Editor Emeritus

Posts: 2379

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Post April 29, 2005, 10:41:33 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

...The mode of transport to get there (in our universes) covers a wide spectrum, all with the intent of side stepping old Alfred E’s universal speed limit (I hate galactic cops who won’t let me put the hammer down and see what this baby can really do)....;D
<br>Um, do you mean Albert Einstein, or Alfred E. Neuman? I know, it's sometimes hard to tell the truly Great Minds apart, but still -- one developed Special and General Relativity Theory, while the other designed the Potrzebie Drive. ::)<br><br>Robert M.
You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

Jack London (1876-1916)

Commenter

Posts: 13

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Orange County - California

Post April 30, 2005, 12:03:42 AM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

Albert Einstein, or Alfred E. Neuman? Durrrr.....<br><br>Well I guess I meant Albert E, but if I can go faster than the speed of light I'l take Alfred E. ;D (wonder why the name looked funny when I posted it).<br><br>Either way, I hate speed limits so any way we can get round it the better I like it.

Master Critic

Posts: 897

Joined: December 31, 1969, 08:00:00 PM

Location: Johnstown, Pa.

Post April 30, 2005, 05:20:40 PM

Re: Six Lights off Green Scar - by Gareth Lin Powe

Great Story--It kept me interested! That is what<br> I like in a story. His sentences and words were balanced well, and his descriptions great! Enough description, yet no too much---good job
Tesla Lives!!!

Return to April 2005

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware.