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Author Topic: The End of the Universe
Member # 10234

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Brief and vague description of a concept in Physics: After the Big Bang, mathematically postulated proto-matter was expanding away from the center at phenomenal speed, far exceeding the speed of light (Inflation). The forces that we recognize as separate (electromagnetism, strong force, weak force, gravity) were undifferentiated during this time. Then, poof, the forces separated and Baryonic matter (matter as we know it) came suddenly into existence along with the Laws that it obeys. For all intents and purposes, this event occurred instantly and all over the existing universe; one state of being one nanosecond and then another state (ours) in the next.

Fictional premise: A physicist/mathematician discovers that the universe is ripe for another such change. There is no detecting it. Even if there were a progression (think ice expanding from a center point), it would be unobservable because it would propagate at or above the speed of light. The story would be character driven; physicist attempting to convince colleagues, the public, etc.

Question: How would one raise suspense in such a story?

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The Big Shred theory, actually, is a proposed outcome of a closed universe. Hyperinflation after the Big Bang slowed down for a time while gravitational attraction predominated for the early universe. Expanding distance between galactic gravity wells has diminished gravity's predominance. Light pressure, exotic dark matter and energy influences, maybe inversely proportional exotic anti-gravity, are theorized causes of hyperinflation escalation.

The outcome is a shred of matter and energy at below subatomic states. Shred. The loss of cohesion could then result in a universe that's a steel-wool-like sponge of disassociated matter and energy at a bosun phase state. The sponge might collapse into a golf-ball sized uniformity of an n-dimensional nature, perhaps for a sub nano moment. Then, Bang, again in a near infinite cycle of congruent universes' precipitive instances. Bang, Shred, Condensate, Bang, Shred . . .

Anyway, develop suspense? What's at stake? Reputation or humiliation? A dramatic conflict, in other words. The aforementioned conflict, though, is probably too abstract by itself. A congruent tangible conflict is warranted for surface suspense development to carry the action.

While efforts to convince others of the theory are ongoing, momentary local disassociation events plague the scientist. His coffee cup shreds into a cloud of dissipating matter. His fingertips, his car, the home back porch, etc., an associate dissipates: local event shreds no one else experiences. He's in danger himself of dissipation at any moment! He struggles to solve why and prevent his total annihilation and the shred's expansion into a larger event.

[ February 20, 2015, 12:33 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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Grumpy old guy
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One invariable rule of storytelling is that it must deal with, on some level, some aspect of the human condition. As extrinsic says, unless you can reduce the stakes to something that the readers can understand and relate to, you can't create tension, and thus, suspense.

Saving the universe is not the same as saving a kitten. Readers can understand and relate to the latter while the former is beyond their capacity to empathise with. However, given your postulates, which are debateable, as there are theories that the universe is still expanding at an accelerating rate, the change of state could not be stopped anyway: so why bother?


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First off, What can be done about the situation? Can it be stopped, or is it going to happen no matter what happens?
Is there something that can be done to "survive" it?
What difference if no one knew anything about it? The universe would end and that is that.
Who would gain advantage if some solution was not used? What would they do to stop your character from saving the universe?

Of course, You have the scientists trying to get everybody to understand and believe him and he is being ridiculed by everybody. Only a select few would believe him, and half of them are not worried about it.

I saw an episode of something where the universe was getting hotter and running out of usable energy. One scientist figured out there was a way to escape the universe. Another, politically powerful scientist tried to stop him. The scientist and a few followers escaped the universe to a world that was comfortable and idyllic.
With this description, possibilities are endless.

Years ago, I did a story idea where the universe was really a computer. There was a cost to save data so if the system died, that data would be re-used when the universe was restarted.
Jesus died to "Save mankind." That when when the system re-booted, mankind would be in the new universe. In my idea, to "save the universe" one would have to sacrifice an entire species, such as all mankind would have to be sacrificed to save the universe. That way the universe would be restarted as it is.

Problems with the universe is always a fun idea to work with.
Another idea is where "this guy" was really the center of the universe. He remained at rest. The whole universe shifted and rotated to compensate (jerks in response to his fall) his actions. It was barely detectable by some scientist.

How about "warp drive" space travel is poking holes in the fabric of space and it starts ripping open?

Explore and have fun.

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Haven't you heard, "Big-Bangers" are now officially in the same boat as "flat-Earthers" now that scientists just announced that it never happened. Not sure what the new explanation is now, but just sayin'...
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Isn't science fun?
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Member # 10234

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I feel like my son did when I told him that Galactus was the milkman.
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Originally posted by legolasgalactica:
Haven't you heard, "Big-Bangers" are now officially in the same boat as "flat-Earthers" now that scientists just announced that it never happened. Not sure what the new explanation is now, but just sayin'...

I don't think the Big Bang has been disproven. The only news I've seen on that front is a recent discovery claiming to have detected gravitational waves from the Big Bang could also have just been picking up light scattering from interstellar dust instead.

Also, to be in the same boat as Flat-Earthers, you would have to adopt a view of the world based upon a bigoted screed, not simply have failed to keep up with the scientific literature. (Keep in mind, we've known the diameter of the world since the ancient Greeks, and Columbus was laughed out of Portugal for thinking the Earth was half the size it actually was. It always strikes me as ironic that the oft-replicated line "Everybody knew that the Earth was flat until Columbus proved it was round" is itself a fact everyone believes yet is so utterly wrong, not even accounting for Magellan.)

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Member # 3233

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It does not matter what is right or wrong in theory. Some of my best story ideas were taking something impossible and explaining it in a way to be likely.
Believability is the key, not accuracy.

Basically you are working with "what if this happened? and then following the results of the question to some conclusion.

I did quite a few story ideas based on New Year's eve, where something happens with time. How do the characters react to the change, how do they adjust, what solutions might there be to the problems, What is the result?

Anything can happen with the end of the universe. Especially how it is going to end, and how long do you have before the effects reach you? Is there an "after" to the event and how do the survivors reach it?

As mentioned, How the main characters react to the situation is key, along with those who don't want that reaction to succeed. (In 80s/90s the Movie FLASH GORDON, A scientist who was disgraced for his theories, is the one who realizes that the destruction of the moon was being caused by an outside force, an attack. His problem was that he could not get the scientific community to even consider his theory. He had to come up with a solution on his own.)
The more difficult the resistance to the heroes when there is no question they are right, the more intense you can make it. Also, if you add some doubt to the heroes, it makes it even better.

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