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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Anyone know anything about nukes?

   
Author Topic: Anyone know anything about nukes?
wetwilly
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I'm writing a story that takes place right after one. One of the images I'm using is ash outlines of people on the walls: their bodies in the positions they were in at the moment the bomb hit. I swear I've come across this phenomenon somewhere before (not in real life, mind you, but in reading/learning), but I can't find anything about it, now. Anyone ever heard of this or know anything about it?

Not that the accuracy particularly matters in this case; it's a pretty surreal story, and I think I can get away with a lot of artistic license, so if this is not at all a thing that happens in a nuclear explosion, I'll still use it anyway. I would like to find some info about it if it's a real thing, though.

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MattLeo
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Sure. You can go to Google Image Search if you want to see: https://www.google.com/search?q=hiroshima+wall+shadows&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ

I don't think it's ash on the wall; there are images of inanimate objects that survived whose shadows were preserved. Think of it as like a photographic print, with the wall acting as the paper. The object blocks the photons, which discolor the wall except where the shadow falls.

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wetwilly
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Should have searched for shadows instead of ash. That makes a lot more sense than ashes (although ashes would make a more poetic image). Thanks, MattLeo. Photographic imprints (or whatever you would call this) work just as well as ash outlines for my purposes.
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LDWriter2
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quote:
Originally posted by wetwilly:
I'm writing a story that takes place right after one. One of the images I'm using is ash outlines of people on the walls: their bodies in the positions they were in at the moment the bomb hit. I swear I've come across this phenomenon somewhere before (not in real life, mind you, but in reading/learning), but I can't find anything about it, now. Anyone ever heard of this or know anything about it?

Not that the accuracy particularly matters in this case; it's a pretty surreal story, and I think I can get away with a lot of artistic license, so if this is not at all a thing that happens in a nuclear explosion, I'll still use it anyway. I would like to find some info about it if it's a real thing, though.

There was a story that was read to us by one of my teachers way back when. It involved an automatic house that did everything for the people who lived in it. An atomic bomb went off killing the family and neighbors. The children were playing in the front yard when the bomb went off. That scene describes the silhouette left behind on the outside walls of the house made when the children turned to ash.
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babooher
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I believe you're describing "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury.
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History
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quote:
Originally posted by babooher:
I believe you're describing "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury.

That is the tale.
A great one.

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LDWriter2
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quote:
Originally posted by babooher:
I believe you're describing "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury.

That may have been why it was read in school.
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extrinsic
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Nuclear shadows or silhouettes are caused by thermal radiation scorching backdrops like walls, the paint maybe. A nuclear explosion releases intense infrared, ultraviolet, and visible light, accounting for a third to half the energy released. Close to ground zero, though, blast pressure knocks structures down. The intermediate high damage zone outside the primary blast radius is where thermal radiation burns and scorches matter. If an intervening object or being absorbs the radiated heat, then the shadowed silhouette area behind is unscorched.
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Robert Nowall
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You'll find "There Will Come Soft Rains" towards the end of Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. Also several other of his short story collections.
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