Please post in usual format your second entry for this competition.
DO NOT POST YOUR ENTRY HERE IF YOU HAVE NOT POSTED ONE IN THE MAIN COMPETITION AS YOU WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.
Entries posted here will judged against each other, but will not be judged against the ones in the main competition, so it is your choice if you wish to enter again--bear in mind that means you will have to vote in both competitions (critting is optional voting isn't).
The creature crawled from the darkness between pews into the central aisle. It dragged broken and bloody wings behind, leaving a trail of blood and white feathers on the stone floor. “Help me, priest,” the creature hissed, turning its pale, yet beautiful face towards me. “I need you now...” Rainbows swirled within its eyes--I felt myself drifting; I shook my head to clear my thoughts. “W...what the hell...?” A slow smile revealed a row of sharp, white teeth. “Don’t you recognise an angel when you see one, father?” It inched closer. “An angel? Who in God's name did this...?" I felt powerless to pull away as it reached for my wrist. Its hand was cold as ice. The angel laughed. "No, not God." It bared its fangs and bit delicately into my flesh. I gasped. Blood dripped from my fingers
[This message has been edited by skadder (edited March 15, 2010).]
Dark Designs: Dulley's Theory and the Search for the Vampiric Soul
It was another boring lecture on the puzzling nature of vampire physiology. For decades the same old questions were posed with no new developments. The problem was this. Most people still think that red blood cells are alive and were the means by which vampires held on to life. All red blood cells, however, are dead by the time they enter our bloodstream. They are nothing more than bags of hemoglobin soaking up oxygen as they pass the lungs. Why then do the vampires need fresh blood? There is no "life-force" to absorb and they don't use oxygen. Every part of them is the clinical definition of dead. In nearly fifty years since the H6F6 virus outbreak, colloquially called the “vampire bug,” no one has been able to figure out the transformation process and the need for fresh blood. At least, not until Dulley's theory came along.
Vira shifted over to make room for Sparks at the opposite end of the booth, her black fingernails caressing the safety-pin through his ear, stretching the lobe, making it catch on his leathers. Gag was already paralytic, his spikehawk covering half the table. Neo-punk music assaulted our eardrums. "What'd you bring us?" I asked. Sparks slid a box across the table. Inside was a leech. Its wriggling exposed a pair of curved fangs at its head. "Something different," Sparks said. "Vampires. Genetically engineered. Full high, no downer." He pulled his collar back, showing two vampires pumping on his neck. "You know, all this noise?" He waved his hand around. "These can turn it down. Like the volume on an amp. I can now hear you as if it wasn't there."
Well, since there are only three of us here, we will have to hope a few people stick there noses in and vote too. Can't vote for your own, so i will just give votes for 1st and 2nd and best title:
I’ll throw out a bone: First: #1 – I wished this one was in the first group. I liked the vampire’s appearance being an obvious allusion to an angel. Personally, I think you should drop the “What the hell…?” It’s a lazy pun (no offense intended), and I don’t believe there are many priests that swear (not even the really bad ones). If you were to keep it – I’d show some other character flaw first. Otherwise I really liked this one.
Second: #3 – The reference to the leeches as “vampires” threw me off at first read-through. It was kind of cyberpunk in feel – I’d suggest working on the “visuals” a little more to help the reader see the scene.
Entry 2 – I had two problems with this. First, you open describing “another boring lecture”, and make that your entire first 13. Second, I had a problem with the science – blood is basically oxygenated by the lungs and as our heart pumps it pushes these oxygen-filled cells to our brain and other organs. All of these cells are alive until they either clot, become damaged, or burn up all the mitochondria within and become absorbed or discharged from the body. None of this necessarily reflected on your prose, but I was immediately turned off by something that I immediately did not believe.
Yeah , I'm not in this group, but I just wanted to say, that if entry one was in the first group, it would have taken the number one spot for me. I thought it was so clever and well written. If it's finished, send it to me to read, please. I loved it.
Entry two didn't work for me, because 1)it has the word boring in the first sentence. 2)It has no characters, and 3) it feels like a lecture. I already feel my eyes glazing over the way I always did in math class. The subject matter, and the idea is interesting, but why not have a POV character who gets to discover the idea.
==== VOTES: Really tough to call. I really like both Entry 1 and 3 a lot.
I'll go with: 1 - Entry 1 2 - Entry 3 Title Entry 3
The reason is mostly becuase I'm in a mood for a kind of story than any particular flaw. I would read ahead for both - and i think these could have bested some of the entries in the first post. So kudos, good job!
==== Hehe I guess I'll reveal I'm entry two. I figured not many would go for it. I was trying to write it as a fake nonfiction piece, sort of like a Jorge Luis Borge would, but based on real science of RBCs
Speaking of which...
-sciency parts- Unfortunately, Philo, I have to say you've got some facts wrong: red blood cells are very dead in *every* sense of the word - not a single normal one is alive. First, they have no nucleus. They eject it in the bone marrow so they can take their specific biconcave shape which allows them to squeeze through capillaries. If they don't have these biconcave shapes they get stuck, and we get sickle-cell type diseases. Second, the RBCS don't use their mitochondria because that would use up both the glucose in the blood and the oxygen bound to their hemoglobin - both are substrates the brain uses exclusively for living - and nothing else. It wouldn't work out well if RBCs ate it up. Instead they just use glycolysis and go into anerobic respiration to get the litlle ATP needed for maintaining cellular integrity. So no use of sugar or oxygen. So RBCs cannot ever grow, duplicate themselves, or even sustain themselves - they are literally floating bags of hemoglobin. They come from living precursor cells in the bone marrow - and the minute they eject their nucleus they are dead cells that can travel thru the capillaries in the bone. The only cells that are alive in the blood are white blood cells WBCs - these can proliferate. but they make up a very small percentage compared to the number of RBCs.
Edit: forgot to mention that RBCs don't actually clot. Platelets do and rbcs can get caught in their sticky meshwork.
-end of sciency parts-
-writerly parts- The idea I liked about these facts was the TRIPLE IRONY: 1) Medical-irony: That something utterly dead is what keeps all of us alive - more than food or water! We'd die in a few minutes with out proper oxygen transport (aka the hemoglobin). 2) Fantasy-irony: That vampires need to drink blood - something dead in the first place - to stay alive. 3) Social-irony: that entire religious and social sub-cultures cultures and rituals have developed based on the incorrect belief that blood or the things that make blood red (RBCs with hemoglobin) are actually alive!
I thought that might have been a cool hard-scifi idea to introduce - but perhaps I should have gone with presenting my characters first and slowly introduce the science ideas later. It was hard for me to figure out how to use it in a story as a sort of hard-sci-fi thing. I need to dwell on it a little more. Anyway hope all this gives you all some ideas to think about.
[This message has been edited by billawaboy (edited March 18, 2010).]
Billawaboy, I'm not trying to be argumentative, but please point me to a web site that states red blood cells are dead as they course the the body, because I couldn't find a single one that supports that position. I am truly interested in what you are stating, but nothing I've read supports this.
Posts: 2003 | Registered: Jul 2008
| IP: Logged |
I didn't enter, but I actually really liked the idea of number 2- an attempt at a scientific explanation for vampires (without crazy chromosome stuff) seemed intriguing. As far as dead, lacking a nucleus isn't enough to justify that term. All prokaryotes lack a nucleus. I'm willing to consider them dead (lack of reproduction, ability to sustain self, etc). I also like that in terms of DNA, you could never clone anything from them, since what DNA is left is pretty useless.
Usually conversations occur on the threads after voting closes (except perhaps a brief exchange). I thought your exchange was going to make the thread look like voting was closed.
Posts: 2995 | Registered: Oct 2007
| IP: Logged |
True - but very low amounts are metabolized. But I agree with the direction you were probably heading - I should have said negligible amounts were used. It's more important that oxygen not be used. The body can always break down glycogen or use amino acid precursors to generate new glucose to maintain serum glucose levels. --
I found a reliable source that explicitly says they are dead!!
Medical Biochemistry - Chapter 3 - Meisenberg - p34: "Unlike all other cells in the body, erythrocytes have no nucleus and are therefore no longer able to divide and synthesize proteins; they are dead." "They cover their modest needs by the anaerobic metabolism of glucose to lactic acid. In essence, erythrocytes are bags filled with hemoglobin at a concentration of 33% physically dissolved in cytoplasm." --
Note to readers: VOTING IS NOT OVER! - PLEASE VOTE! - YOUR VOTE COUNTS!
[This message has been edited by billawaboy (edited March 18, 2010).]
yeah, who knew it would cause such a commotion? Of course, I could have let it go. (Of course if you knew me you'd know I wouldn't...) Don't even get me started on ID, lol.
TBH, I don't know how to continue the story - If I could make it funny I would try to write it, that way people won't always be focused on the science. I'm not sure if this piece even has a market. Who would even publish it? Can you imagine the letters to the editor demanding their money back?
I feel the subject matter should just be a short monologue in a Quentin Tarantino movie - remember that scene in Kill Bill V2 about Superman? We all thought or discussed about that as kids, but no one ever used it as a cool monologue given by an evil villian. (hmmm...kinda redundant. Aren't villians inherently evil?)
Anyway, we need something like that for this whole vampire/RBC fiasco...