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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » HoPE - 275 word experimental SF flash

   
Author Topic: HoPE - 275 word experimental SF flash
Osiris
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Sometimes, when I wake up at 4 am to pee, strange things enter my head and refuse to let me sleep until I get them down in writing. This is one such oddity.

I'm posting this to solicit an alpha reader or two. As it is pretty unconventional (being written like a piece of programming), I'm mostly looking to see if non-programming types can follow what happens. Just to note, formatting is off from the original document, and I can't get it to look as it should exactly here. The .doc file will have the correct formatting.

------------------------------------------------------------------

HabitablePlanetExplorer entering Kepler System. Initiate systemsDiagnostics…

systemsDiagnostics.check:
vasimrEngineNominal = True
battleSystemNominal = True
probeSensorsNominal = True
commsSystemNominal = True

HoPE systems online. Proceeding to Goldilocks Zone…
Planet detected. ProbeSensors initiated….


probeSensors.ScanPlanet:
celsiusSurfaceTemperature = 22
orbitalPeriod = 289.9
earthRadiusEquivalent = 2.4
aqueousEnvironment = true

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pdblake
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I can see this as an opening scene in a movie, ticking away across a screen, Alien style.

As an opening to a story, I can guess what's going on and it's enough to make me read on, but if it carries on like this I'd put it down. I can't see how you are going to convey a story like this.

[ April 24, 2012, 11:49 AM: Message edited by: pdblake ]

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Osiris
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Yep, it is pretty experimental, and it does carry on like this. The only reason I think it might work is that it is only 275 words.
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sjsampson
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I like it, but I am also a programmer so I am biased.
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pdblake
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So am I [Big Grin]
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Osiris
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Ha. Yeah, I just imagine a non-programmer looking at this and saying "wha?". Hoping a few chime in.
One thing I love about programming (I'm not a formal programmer, but learned it on the job) is the efficiency of the language. I always believed good prose is also efficient, so I wanted to try writing something as machine might, yet could also be comprehended by humans.

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Shaygirl
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Non-programmer speaking...

I got the habitable planet line, then lost it...found my feet again at the Goldilocks line, but shortly there after I hit vasimrEngineNominal, and became disoriented.

So yah, I am one of those people going "wha?". But then again I've toyed with writing a story using music notations, so I get where you're coming from.

I think it's worth following through to see if you could do it. You can try to make it understandable for us non-programmer types, but if it messes up the amount of fun you have writing it, I'd wait for the second draft before translating.

Just the thoughts of a non-muse...

~Shay

P.S. edit...I really think it was the meaning of 'true' that threw me.

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LDWriter2
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This is experimental but it isn't untried. In other words stories done in this matter have been published. Not a lot but enough to know it can be done.

I think you should go for it. Some readers may not be able to figure out some of the terms like these two "earthRadiusEquivalent = 2.4
aqueousEnvironment = true"

And not everyone may know what Goldilocks Zone is. I happen to know because one of the pastors at my church loves the stars and he has used that term in his sermons twice at least. Plus recently there was an article in Yahoo News that mentioned it.

But it could still work. Every story doesn't have to reach every potential reader.


And I would like to double check my interpretations of those two lines.
earthRadiusEquivalent = 2.4 Means the planet discovered is two and forty percent larger than the Earth?

The next one means there is water on the planet?

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JackValentine
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I think that this could work if you use correct plot structure. Any style will work (may not be loved) as long as you have a beginning, a middle and an end. As long as there is a climax at the end, then hell yes! Go for it. Besides, I smell something that is a cut above the rest of the fiction that is floating around here. This is a truly unique approach. But, as Osiris said, it could get tedious to read if it was a longish story. Your on to something though. Maybe toy with this idea, add more to it. I'm eager to see if this turns into something else.
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JackValentine
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Oh, whoops. I thought somebody else had written that comment, Osiris. My apologies.
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Osiris
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@LDWriter. The 2.4 means the planet is 240% the size of Earth, or about 'double and half' the size of Earth. aqueousEnvironment=true just means the planet has water.

I did a bit of research for this story on recently discovered planets that may be habitable, and there is one in the Kepler system. So all these numbers actually match that planet.

@Shay, thanks for you feedback. VASIMR is a type of engine currently under development that supposedly will enable a spaceship to get to someplace like Mars in a few months. I think if I'd used something like 'plasmaEngine', sort of a generic and generalized name, it'd be less disorienting.

@Jack, that is exactly what I did with this, I kept a very simple, straightforward plot structure with this story. At 275 words total, there isn't much room for anything else! I agree with you, it wouldn't really work to have an unusual style and also a complex plot, it'd be too much work for the reader.


Does anyone want to give the whole thing a read? C'mon, it's just 275 puny little words. [Smile]

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pdblake
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Go on then, send it my way.
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sjsampson
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I'll read.
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Osiris
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Thanks PD and SJ, doc sent to both of you.
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JackValentine
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if you want, ill read it too.
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GreatNovus
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I'll read it as well.
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Osiris
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Thanks guys, I sent it to Jack and GreatNovus.

I should be all set after this for readers. Thank you all again!

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