Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout


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Post March 22, 2012, 12:25:27 AM

Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

There's no telling the characters apart in this one, except by name.

Beyond that, I can hardly wait to see what Bill has to say about it . . .
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Post March 22, 2012, 12:35:28 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

I, too, am awaiting Bill's Masters or PhD thesis on this one. Bill has been AWOL for a number of isssues, perhaps O.E. will entice him back.

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Post March 22, 2012, 01:26:57 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

I think I know at least one thing Bill will jump on . . . it seems, in the story, that the Earth-based researchers are in real-time communication with the goings-on on Europa. I already know that ain't happening. The distance from Earth to Jupiter can be anywhere from 600 million to a billion kilometers. Light goes fast, but not that fast. Sorry, but my poor old brain is so mathematically bankrupt these days that I didn't feel like calculating the transit time for a signal.

Also, the story suggested that Europa has its own magnetic field, and from what I've looked at, this isn't likely, although it does interact magnetically with Jupiter, most likely by induction.

C'mon, Bill, do yer stuff!
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Post March 22, 2012, 07:32:25 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Recall that the earth bound folks had use of that neat little space-folding gravity drive feature that allowed them to travel to and from Europa in almost real time.

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Post March 22, 2012, 08:05:07 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

gino_ss wrote:Recall that the earth bound folks had use of that neat little space-folding gravity drive feature that allowed them to travel to and from Europa in almost real time.

gino

Not quite -- quoting from the story itself:

Merchant said, "Stephen, I can get you to Europa and back in days.
That's days for a physical trip; light-speed telemetry is still gonna take hours each way.
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Post March 23, 2012, 01:28:23 AM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Lester Curtis wrote:
gino_ss wrote:Recall that the earth bound folks had use of that neat little space-folding gravity drive feature that allowed them to travel to and from Europa in almost real time.

gino

Not quite -- quoting from the story itself:

Merchant said, "Stephen, I can get you to Europa and back in days.
That's days for a physical trip; light-speed telemetry is still gonna take hours each way.


Well, not necessarily... if the graviton drive really does 'fold space', signals might take seconds instead of days to make the trip (while the ship, traveling much slower than light, would still take days instead of many months). (How long did Discovery and Discovery II take to get to Jupiter orbit in "2001"?)
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Post March 23, 2012, 12:21:37 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

There's another thing that irks me about this story -- they extracted one single organism from a whole ecology, and it goes whacko. Where does that begin to make sense? The creatures were obviously mortal -- their captive specimen did die on them, after all . . . so, why doesn't the whole planet spin out of orbit when one of them (much less a daily lot of 'em) dies of natural causes?
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Post March 23, 2012, 07:13:24 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Lester Curtis wrote:There's another thing that irks me about this story -- they extracted one single organism from a whole ecology, and it goes whacko. Where does that begin to make sense? The creatures were obviously mortal -- their captive specimen did die on them, after all . . . so, why doesn't the whole planet spin out of orbit when one of them (much less a daily lot of 'em) dies of natural causes?


Here's something that just occurred to me: Europa didn't leave its orbit on a collision course with Earth by accident. The ocean-spanning hive mind took the entire moon in search of its stolen member! If it was just a miniscule (as it must have been) change in the field generated by the life forms acting en masse that took Europa out of its Jupiter orbit, the likelihood that the trajectory would come anywhere near ANYTHING (except Jupiter itself) would be infinitesimal. And remember that the hive mind was able to change the trajectory so that Europa went into orbit around the Earth's moon once it / they received 'word' of what had happened...

That reduces the scientific absurdities to just two: the existence of a hive mind in the ocean under Europa's icy 'skin', and the ability of that hive mind to generate electromagnetic fields more powerful than Jupiter's gravity and to either sense or track an individual or small sub-colony across interplanetary distances. (Wait -- maybe that's THREE scientific absurdities.)
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Post March 23, 2012, 09:31:48 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Oh, and don't forget -- these critters have to see where they're going, too!

Damn, they just get more improbable, I mean, more impressive by the minute!
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Post March 24, 2012, 11:36:03 AM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

These organisms, like many types of Earth bacteria, are flagellated. They feel, rather than see where they are going, and are also capable of motion. Can they communicate? Remember, the operational word here is fiction.

I think Bill is AWOL again.

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Post March 24, 2012, 01:41:37 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Lester Curtis wrote:Oh, and don't forget -- these critters have to see where they're going, too!

Damn, they just get more improbable, I mean, more impressive by the minute!

Lester, It is not seemly for a critic, especially one who is a writer himself, to take apparent enjoyment at flagging another author's work with comments laced with insults about his ability to write a competent story.

There is an immeasurable wall a writer has to overcome in order to write word one and more so to finish a completed piece...right Robert? Self doubt being one obsticle, wondering if the effort is worth the time, pushing aside life as it tries to interrupt the steady flow of creativity and so on.

Gino has always been a good guy and willing to take criticism (way better than me), so it is not necessary or right to ridicule one of his pieces, even if you don't think it is your cup of Earl Grey (tea). He has contributed over 40 stories to Aphelion at my best count over the years and has been consistently brilliant at creating worlds and moving situations by words alone. He is a much better writer than you, me and Robert combined, times three.

A good writer must take criticism, but there should be some level of encouragement (at least in the critic or reviewer's tone), especially if the author has promising work.

Gino, I will write Bill and call his attention to your story in case he has not seen it. He is afterall, gifted at his reviews.

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Post March 24, 2012, 03:07:18 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Mark wrote:
Lester, It is not seemly for a critic, especially one who is a writer himself, to take apparent enjoyment at flagging another author's work with comments laced with insults about his ability to write a competent story.

Gino . . .my apologies if I came across as too harsh; I don't intend to insult.

Believe me, though, I'm AT LEAST this harsh on my self, and frequently more so; the rest of you just don't get to see that. If I find myself writing something that sticks out as too improbable, I change it. Had to completely restart my novel project because some of the initial premises and circumstances were too unlikely. Major plot change, shifting of characters, the whole works. It really hurt, because I loved a good deal of the stuff I'd had, but the result IS better.

Sarcasm is, unfortunately, in my nature. I try to keep aware of it, and don't always succeed. Nonetheless, for me, the story does raise too many questions that don't get explained, and I found myself being taken out of the story by these. That's the important issue.
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Post March 24, 2012, 03:42:33 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Lester Curtis wrote:Mark wrote:
Lester, It is not seemly for a critic, especially one who is a writer himself, to take apparent enjoyment at flagging another author's work with comments laced with insults about his ability to write a competent story.

Gino . . .my apologies if I came across as too harsh; I don't intend to insult.

Believe me, though, I'm AT LEAST this harsh on my self, and frequently more so; the rest of you just don't get to see that. If I find myself writing something that sticks out as too improbable, I change it. Had to completely restart my novel project because some of the initial premises and circumstances were too unlikely. Major plot change, shifting of characters, the whole works. It really hurt, because I loved a good deal of the stuff I'd had, but the result IS better.

Sarcasm is, unfortunately, in my nature. I try to keep aware of it, and don't always succeed. Nonetheless, for me, the story does raise too many questions that don't get explained, and I found myself being taken out of the story by these. That's the important issue.

There are two types of writers in my book; those who care and work at it and those who are sloppy, don't care and a waste of my time to read.

When someone cares, has talent and puts themselves out there, I take the position that (as a writer myself) I'm pulling for them. I want them to succeed. I want them to realize their dreams and I want them to shine. I try to reflect that in my comments, while always telling the Truth without sugar coating the analysis. At least they come away with being encouraged that someone other than themselves wants them to succeed. That goes a long way to encouraging them to work at perfecting their piece and keep at it with new material.

Although no one is helped with false praise (and I can speak for all Aphelionites in so much that no one here does that), most writers want to impress the hell out of everyone that reads their work. The worst reality for a writer is "the next day" when the work they thought was brilliant when they wrote it the day before, looks like $#/! in the light of a new day. Say goodbye to the Nobel prize in literature and hello to the waste can.

If you're for the hard working writer to begin with, the comments will reflect it.

I appreciate your response.

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Post March 24, 2012, 07:49:17 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Mark and Lester, I greatly appreciate your comments and critiques. I welcome criticism. I accept it as a learning experience and hope my writing style benefits from it.

My own criticism of Ocean Europa, in retrospect, is that I think the Pacific storm sequence was several pages too long and really didn't add that much to the story.

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Post March 24, 2012, 08:07:27 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Gino, on the plus side, I did like the way you built tension in the story. It had a somewhat similar feel to the way Michael Crichton wrote. Fast-moving, easy to read, and I didn't anticipate the ending, either.
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Post March 25, 2012, 12:25:54 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Yeah, I do like Crichton. I recall one of his first was The Andromeda Strain, written in the late '60's or early '70's and made into a very good movie. A space probe brings a malignant mutating virus back to Earth.

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Post March 28, 2012, 11:59:03 AM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Instead of Europa, this could have taken place on Enceladus:

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/sc ... enceladus/
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Post March 29, 2012, 03:55:53 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Saturn's moon Enceladus does share some features with Europa. It's quite a bit smaller, about the size of Arizona and would fit between Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to the Cassini mission folks. It does have a partial surface of water ice with a warm spot at its South Pole, which causes plumes of moisture to erupt similar to Europa's ice volcanoes The Cassini mission will attempt to capture some on its next flyby. Could there be an evolving life force? Who knows.

Thanks for the heads up, Lester.

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Post March 30, 2012, 11:37:34 AM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Okay, I’ll weigh in on the critiquing discussion before giving my own critique. First, Lester and Gino have been around long enough to know each other. I didn’t sense anything malicious from Lester. There have been instances of nastiness on this site and I’ve been a victim of it, but for the most part folks have been very constructive.

You need to have a thick skin as an aspiring writer. Some editors are not as kind as the contributors and the editors of Aphelion. If you’re not prepared, someone could easily crush your soul. I’ve always wondered how many great writers never developed because of an overly negative review that discouraged them from proceeding further.

Lastly, hard science fiction is held to a different standard than most other genres. Unlike fantasy or horror, editors will scrutinize your science. Yes, underneath it all, it’s magic; otherwise it’d be science fact and not science fiction. But you had better at least not contradict the existing laws of physics.

Alright. So that said, here is my feedback. I liked the concept. I think there were some potential issues with the actual science, but (like most everyone else) I would leave that to Bill to analyze. The gravity engine, while a neat idea, seemed to be included solely to overcome a potential plot hole later on in regards to the distance between Europa and Earth. Perhaps just stating it existed instead of investing so much time trying to explain it would have been better.

The plot is emphasized over the characters. I know that’s not uncommon for hard sci-fi, but more character development would have been better. I think that would have helped the pacing as well; the narrative is too compact, almost rushed. With such short sections, you lose the epic nature of what’s going on. Instead of telling that people are swarming their respective religious institutions, you could include a cut scene of child holding her mother’s hand as they pray in Earth’s final moments. Humanize the story a little bit.

I’m kind of on the fence with this one. Although it’s polished in some aspects, I think it needs to be further developed.
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Post March 30, 2012, 12:22:09 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Thanks much for your input, Jaimie. As previously stated, I treat critiques as a learning experience and hope to improve my writing skills. Bill is still AWOL.

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Post March 30, 2012, 12:35:54 PM

Re: Ocean Europa by E. S. Strout

Jaimie wrote:Okay, I’ll weigh in on the critiquing discussion before giving my own critique. First, Lester and Gino have been around long enough to know each other. I didn’t sense anything malicious from Lester. There have been instances of nastiness on this site and I’ve been a victim of it, but for the most part folks have been very constructive.

You need to have a thick skin as an aspiring writer. Some editors are not as kind as the contributors and the editors of Aphelion. If you’re not prepared, someone could easily crush your soul. I’ve always wondered how many great writers never developed because of an overly negative review that discouraged them from proceeding further.

Lastly, hard science fiction is held to a different standard than most other genres. Unlike fantasy or horror, editors will scrutinize your science. Yes, underneath it all, it’s magic; otherwise it’d be science fact and not science fiction. But you had better at least not contradict the existing laws of physics.

Alright. So that said, here is my feedback. I liked the concept. I think there were some potential issues with the actual science, but (like most everyone else) I would leave that to Bill to analyze. The gravity engine, while a neat idea, seemed to be included solely to overcome a potential plot hole later on in regards to the distance between Europa and Earth. Perhaps just stating it existed instead of investing so much time trying to explain it would have been better.

The plot is emphasized over the characters. I know that’s not uncommon for hard sci-fi, but more character development would have been better. I think that would have helped the pacing as well; the narrative is too compact, almost rushed. With such short sections, you lose the epic nature of what’s going on. Instead of telling that people are swarming their respective religious institutions, you could include a cut scene of child holding her mother’s hand as they pray in Earth’s final moments. Humanize the story a little bit.

I’m kind of on the fence with this one. Although it’s polished in some aspects, I think it needs to be further developed.

First, wow!

Second, there's a difficult balance between not crushing an author with heavy critique (especially a person who fights through self doubt as an obsticle to their writing) and letting the writer know what he truly has in their fiction or non fiction piece. An artist needs encouragement and I think we should be all about that. No one relates to a writer and the problems and hinderances with getting to the place of working at our craft, more than another writer.

Encouragment does not have to be praise. It can be tone, a sense the editor, critiquer or commentor is FOR the writer to succeed. This at least tells the writer, that the person who is doing the reviewing is an ally, instead of a mean ole' enemy taking pot shots at his creation.

So making fun of an author's work is out! Mocking a person's labors in whole or in part, wounds insteads of heals.

It is certainly true that "out there" away from Aphelion's safe haven, there are cruel and insensitive jerks, who enjoy hurting people behind the hidden veil of their username. But again, this place should be different. We're all after the same thing; love, acceptance, world peace, a nice evening meal and being proud of accomplishing something with our lives.

Nevertheless, Truth should never be left in the dirt. The writer is not helped by meaningless praise. They should just feel the commenter is pulling for them, instead of making fun at their expense.

Mark

P.S.

Jaimie: You have excellent sight and a keen ability to highlight missing parts of a manuscript and the ability to see a work through a microscopic and telescopic view simultaneously.

Lester: Your humourous wit comes through in your joke posting. I'm just waiting for your first story that you cut loose with it. Let me know when.

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