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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Lightbusters -Feedback

   
Author Topic: Lightbusters -Feedback
David C
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Here's a short story I just started. Lightbusters. Sy-fi. Have about 1,000 words so far. Looking to be 3,500-4,000. Looking for feedback for right now.
________

I remember seeing them in the flesh for the first time. They were our heroes. Most every kid I knew wanted to be a Lightbuster. They were cool. They were immortal. Sort of.

They just came off a shot to and from the colonies around Jupiter. I imagined them, in my mind, jetting from Io, to Ganymede then on to Europa. Probably stopped off at the thermal spas there, having a few drinks while lounging in that warm, bubbly water before stepping back into their ship. Compared to that, coming back to Earth must have been a drag.

Three of them walked out of the landing area. We all wanted to see them fly in, but got there too late. But this was way better. Watching them swagger towards the main building at the spaceport. The sun was setting. The clear, New Mexico sky let
_____

A bit of background: Wanting to hint that when (not if) we humans achieve near light speed travel, we discover that the accepted "time dilation" only applies to biological decay (i.e. age) not human "perception" (i.e., concepts of hours, days, years).

Thank you for your input. Will let anyone who wants read the whole thing when done.

David

[ October 03, 2016, 08:57 AM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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extrinsic
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A youth admires light speed travelers.

A specimen-type opening, which an observer, an objective lens, observes a specimen subject -- a subjective character, or characters. The objective-subjective character-type narrative entails also an influence character or force or object that shapes the action: the contest, the complication.

The emotional cluster of the fragment is awe and wonder and an indistinct complication contest, aside from the "kids" and narrator want to be "lightbusters." A problem could be implied that lightbusters are an elite group and is hard to become one. The outcome of such is the narrator becomes one. If so, that's too predictable unless another and intangible contest is the true action of the narrative.

Time dilation is a physical and proven function of the time-space continuum, not a matter of human perception of time -- which hours, days, weeks, and such measure the time-space continuum.

Relativistic velocities dilate the time such travelers experience and is measurable by distance traveled at relativistic speed. Jovian moons, for example, are only 45 light minutes from the Sun. Plus or minus eight or so minutes from Earth, depending on which side of the Sun each planet is on at the time of travel.

Maximum time dilation for a journey from Earth to, around, and from Jupiter is in a two-hour range. Aside from an external observer's relative time, who is not time-dilated, time dilation and consequent time displacement is also relative to observer traveler: relative to where a traveler starts, travels to, and returns from.

In other words, logic and credibility issues arise from relativity misapprehensions, that spoil willing suspension of disbelief.

A simple adjustment removes most of the above considerations: instead of the Jovian system, consider another star system.

In any case, relativistic travel's time dilation invariably slows such travelers aging relative to non-relativistic travelers, though not their aging relative to their personal experiences. It is all relative.

On the other hand, the relative perception of non-time displaced youths and the naive is apt to misapprehend a relativistic traveler's life span as "immortal." The first-person narrator would not know of the misapprehension; savvy readers will. How to accommodate both perspectives is a challenge this fragment doesn't meet.

One punctuation glitch: "clear, New Mexico sky" stray comma.

I would not read on because my willing suspension of disbelief is ruined.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Please keep your manuscript postings to the first 13 lines.

Thank you.

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David C
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Your points are correct in regard to the science. I like to take the view that the main task of an sci-fi writer is not to reinforce any particular belief, but to challenge it.

Thank you for your input. It will go a long way to help my story.

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extrinsic
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Science beliefs are a peculiar species. Their "pure" objectivism defies dissent yet nonetheless entails questions and challenges of science's folklore artifacts, customs, and traditions. Physics, for example, teaches that the totality of the cosmos can be reduced to an equation, possibly, the unified field equation -- however, the equation is incomplete, probably cannot be completed or fully solved or even factored.

Relativity, a physics field, is a bizarre phenomenon. General relativity and special relativity effects combine though are studied separately. Nor are they effects only in relativistic space travel. They occur in everyday life in measures amounting to trillionths and more fractions of nanoseconds.

For example, three persons, one walks west, one east, one remains stationary relative to the same reference frame, same gravity space anyway. The walkers' passage of time slows a nonzero, infinitesimal amount relative to the stationary person's. The eastward walker's time slows an additional nonzero amount due to Earth's eastward rotation.

If the three are instead stationary on a tower at different heights, the one at the bottom time's passes nonzero slower than the others', due to higher gravity, plus the faster velocity of Earth's rotation closer to the rotational center means time for the one lowest on the tower nonzero slows more than the others'. The real-life net effect is unobservable, though, part due to cancellation effects, part because humans cannot sense -10^9 or more nanosecond fractions.

If relativistic travel causes health effects, for example, delays aging effects, in addition to slower time passage, that itself is open to question. The fragment doesn't portray that premise. A challenge to do in thirteen lines, or even four thousand words, maybe possible in a novel of discovery, and especially hard from a "kid's" viewpoint. Relativity is hard enough for informed adults to wrap minds around, let alone children.

Something nontrivial, though, directly stated in the fragment could overcome those challenges. An observation the kid learned and misunderstands that space travel at relativistic velocities slows aging even more than relativity.

That then questions science assumptions about relativity, not the science, per se, rather, the unexpected life consequences of advanced technology. Which is the genuine paradigm of science fiction, both fantastic physical science and social science -- both hard and soft science fiction.

[ October 04, 2016, 02:28 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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