Escape Artists

News:

  • Congratulations to the winners of the Podcastle flash fiction contest!

News

Congratulations to the winners of the Podcastle flash fiction contest!

Author Topic: EP267: Planetfall  (Read 29201 times)

Paranatural

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 44
Reply #50 on: December 01, 2010, 05:21:19 AM
I have to say I loved this one. I think the author really has something here. This is a whole series that is just begging to be written. I thought the worldbuilding, while a bit heavy-handed, was a frigging great world, I liked the characters, even the Loban, I just plain liked every bit of this story. Ok, so it was a bit off-putting to have heavily armed and armored characters have nothing to do with their actual armaments, but hell, isn't that usually the way? I loved this setting, I loved the characters, and I felt this was easily the best Escape Pod story in a long dime, if you discount the Union Dues stories. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I really, really hope the author continues with this setting.

The one real quibble I have is I don't think I'd classify this as science fiction. It should have been under Pod Castle. I think what made it appear on EP was that it felt very SF-iy. Anyway, loved it. Hope to hear more.



Gamercow

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 654
Reply #51 on: December 01, 2010, 03:11:22 PM
I'm of two minds about this story.  I absolutely loved the world building and the back story of the planet-eating god-monster.  Absolutely stunning.(I do have one very minor quibble, that debris from a planet would not form an asteroid belt, but would most likely fall back into the planet, or possibly form a ring, depending on the material involved)

That said, I thought the two main characters were a bit weakly put together.  After the first few paragraphs, I had formulated "Okay, its a space-elf and a space-orc(or dwarf), I get it."  There was not much character building beyond that. I didn't have a problem with the magic-tech, and actually really enjoyed the use of the communication imps, which were analogous to quantum entanglement.

I didn't have a problem with the Loban flying into the source well when I heard the story, though thinking about it more does make me wonder why they'd go in whole hog.

The cow says "Mooooooooo"


mclea

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Reply #52 on: December 01, 2010, 06:13:11 PM
Thanks, @Paranatural and @Gamercow -- comments that warm my heart indeed.  If you want in on the manuscript-reading group as I develop the novel, send me an email or a private message with your email address.

I never knew how to classify this story.  I actually submitted to Pod Castle first and was rejected!  No comments on why, so I assumed it was for genre and sent it on to Escape Pod instead.  I am just happy that it found a home.

Gamercow, about the asteroid belt... I don't claim to be an expert in astronomy or physics or anything, so you've probably got me.  My thinking was that if the planet was sufficiently devastated (thus reducing its mass and therefore its gravitational field) and the debris was expelled with sufficient force, it might escape the orbit of the planet but not the orbit of its star, and end up as an asteroid belt.  Since I did say that there was enough of a planetoid for the skeleton to cling to, I can see that a ring might have been more logical.  Hardly the most unrealistic thing in the story, of course, but if you feel like sharing more on how these things really work I'd love to hear it.  I doubt I've blown up my last planet, and I want to do it right next time.  :)

(Actually, come to think of it, another planet meets its doom in my story in Permuted Press's TIMES OF TROUBLE, coming soon.  I wonder if I have some kind of problem...)



ElectricPaladin

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1005
  • Holy Robot
    • Burning Zeppelin Experience
Reply #53 on: December 01, 2010, 06:23:48 PM
Gamercow, about the asteroid belt... I don't claim to be an expert in astronomy or physics or anything, so you've probably got me.  My thinking was that if the planet was sufficiently devastated (thus reducing its mass and therefore its gravitational field) and the debris was expelled with sufficient force, it might escape the orbit of the planet but not the orbit of its star, and end up as an asteroid belt.  Since I did say that there was enough of a planetoid for the skeleton to cling to, I can see that a ring might have been more logical.  Hardly the most unrealistic thing in the story, of course, but if you feel like sharing more on how these things really work I'd love to hear it.  I doubt I've blown up my last planet, and I want to do it right next time.  :)

(Actually, come to think of it, another planet meets its doom in my story in Permuted Press's TIMES OF TROUBLE, coming soon.  I wonder if I have some kind of problem...)

So, I actually had to get some feedback on this for my (and Scattercat's) Blightverse setting that we're working on... kinda... going to work on again someday... I hope...

*Ahem* Stupid teaching profession taking all my time. *Cough*

Anyway, apparently it's really hard to break up a planet, and no terrestrial force is really going to do the trick. They're just too big and massive. Apparently a planet's gravity is so great that even if you could disrupt its structural integrity, its own gravity would pull it back together. Of course, this would kill everything bigger than a bacteria (though I guess some seeds and spores might survive), poison the atmosphere with underground gasses, and generally f*$@ things up, which makes it a pretty bad thing nonetheless. If you want to destroy a planet completely, you need tidal forces.

Captain of the Burning Zeppelin Experience.

Help my kids get the educational supplies they need at my Donor's Choose page.


Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8729
    • Diabolical Plots
Reply #54 on: December 01, 2010, 06:28:20 PM
Gamercow, about the asteroid belt... I don't claim to be an expert in astronomy or physics or anything, so you've probably got me.  My thinking was that if the planet was sufficiently devastated (thus reducing its mass and therefore its gravitational field) and the debris was expelled with sufficient force, it might escape the orbit of the planet but not the orbit of its star, and end up as an asteroid belt.  Since I did say that there was enough of a planetoid for the skeleton to cling to, I can see that a ring might have been more logical.  Hardly the most unrealistic thing in the story, of course, but if you feel like sharing more on how these things really work I'd love to hear it.  I doubt I've blown up my last planet, and I want to do it right next time.  :)

I saw a very interesting show on the science channel about moon formation that covered material related to this.  If I remember correctly, according to the show, both our moon and Saturn's rings were formed by planetary collisions that flung debris up.  The angle of collision changed the result.  In our case, the moon formed, which is getting further and further away from the planet and will eventually escape the earth entirely (it'll take a very very long time, it's moving at a rate of inches per year).  

Shortly after the moon formed, it was much closer, thus appeared much bigger, and its gravitational pull was much more powerful, causing havoc on the surface.  Apparently the moon is important for the formation of life on our planet, because it acts to stabilize the tilt of the planet, keeping it at 23 degrees and keeping the climates relatively constant, while planets without moons can suffer significant tilt wobble that would make a planet pretty much unlivable.  Right now it's sheer coincidence that the moon and sun appear the same size from our point of view, making for very unlikely full solar eclipses where they match up nearly exactly.  When the moon gets further away it'll no longer be able to cover the sun completely and a full solar eclipse will look like a ring.

In the case of Saturn, the debris wasn't flung far enough away to escape orbit. In fact it is slowly, slowly falling back down to the planet, but again it is at a very slow rate as it's velocity prolongs the fall.  Eventually it'll all be reabsorbed back into the planet mass.

And, with all of this, keep in mind that I saw this weeks ago, and I'm not sure what their sources are.  That was the material that seemed to make sense to me.  There was some questionable material in there where one "scientist" claimed that the moon acted as an asteroid shield to protect the planet's life.  Considering the relative size of the earth and moon, I am skeptical of that.  Even she admitted that "it may not be likely, but it would've just had to save the earth once.  There would be no evidence of such a moon collision."  And if there's no evidence to base your conclusion on, it's not really science, it's just making crap up..



Gamercow

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 654
Reply #55 on: December 01, 2010, 08:41:05 PM
I forgot that moon was definitely a possibility from planetary destruction. 
That said, with all the little godlings flying out from the planet, the mass of the planet could be reduced significantly, yet still leaving a planetoid there to cling to. 

The solar system's asteroid belt exists where it does because the gravitational pull of Jupiter makes it impossible for the mass to coalesce.  Additionally, the mass in the asteroid belt is not that much, just 4% of our Moon. 

And I did not consider this tiny technical quibble to affect your story at all.  After all, a big effing lizard skeleton clinging to a ruined planet with debris all around it is cool, and for the story's sake, it doesn't matter.  :)

The cow says "Mooooooooo"


Dave

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
    • I Can Bend Minds With My Spoon
Reply #56 on: December 04, 2010, 06:18:14 PM
I really wasn't feeling this one. And, once again, didn't care for the fantasy elements intruding into the sci-fi podcast... although I'll grand that, since it contained space travel, this one was more SFnal than "St. Darwin's Spirituals".

I liked it specifically BECAUSE of the fantasy intruding on the sci-fi. I really like stories that merge the genres.

I just prefer my science-fiction to not have magic in it. If I want fantasy, I'll read fantasy.

Magic in this setting was a technology, and therefore, SCIENCE.

That's one thing that always bugs me about stories that pit magic and science against each other, especially when they are somehow "incompatible". If magic has predictable rules, IT'S SCIENCE. If water still boils to make tea in the magic-world, THAT'S SCIENCE. Technology is pervasive and inescapable, everything manmade or affected is technology. Clothing. Paper. Fire. Buildings. Language. Domesticated animals. Potions. Magic spells. Sorcery.

/soapbox.

-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)


Dave

  • Peltast
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
    • I Can Bend Minds With My Spoon
Reply #57 on: December 04, 2010, 06:23:04 PM
-- The Lobans didn’t run afoul of the sourcewell and meet their fate through blundering or sheer stupidity.  They cruised into it because Galthas told them that cruising into it would reveal the secret of his technology.  I suppose I should have presented the full exchange, but it felt like spoon-feeding when (I thought) the results spoke for themselves.  You could argue that trusting him was stupid, I suppose…

it feels weird to contradict an author on their own work, but you covered this early in the story:
Quote
He sat at the very edge of the grassy clearing, and came no closer to the well itself. Any sentient being who strayed too close would be entranced, drawn irresistibly into the Source to be annihilated.

all he needed to do is send them into the vicinity.  any probes sent to scout were non-sentient and wouldn't reveal this property of the fountain.

it would have made sense for the aliens to send a small advance team to investigate before moving the main ship so close to an unknown phenomenon but there could be many reasons why they didn't.  i didn't have any problem with this part of the story.

D'oh... you're right, I totally missed that. Good catch.

-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)


wakela

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 779
    • Mr. Wake
Reply #58 on: December 06, 2010, 01:41:59 AM
I really wasn't feeling this one. And, once again, didn't care for the fantasy elements intruding into the sci-fi podcast... although I'll grand that, since it contained space travel, this one was more SFnal than "St. Darwin's Spirituals".

I liked it specifically BECAUSE of the fantasy intruding on the sci-fi. I really like stories that merge the genres.

I just prefer my science-fiction to not have magic in it. If I want fantasy, I'll read fantasy.

Right.  What's more magical that me being able to type a message into this little box and you being able to read it?  It's only science because we know how it works.  You can have all the demons and charms and thaumaturgy you want, but if you can predict the results then it might as well be quantum mechanics. 

sort of related maybe: http://xkcd.com/808/

Magic in this setting was a technology, and therefore, SCIENCE.

That's one thing that always bugs me about stories that pit magic and science against each other, especially when they are somehow "incompatible". If magic has predictable rules, IT'S SCIENCE. If water still boils to make tea in the magic-world, THAT'S SCIENCE. Technology is pervasive and inescapable, everything manmade or affected is technology. Clothing. Paper. Fire. Buildings. Language. Domesticated animals. Potions. Magic spells. Sorcery.

/soapbox.



hardware

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 192
Reply #59 on: December 09, 2010, 02:52:09 PM

I must say I really like this one, unlike most I thought that it had a very nice story, as well as a nice world building. It starts with two guys on a jungle planet, it expands out to two species in conflict, we get a world-destroying monster and end up with a whole universe in crisis, caving in to a 'everyone to themselves' philosophy.



Prophet

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 26
Reply #60 on: December 10, 2010, 01:58:10 AM
I thought this was an interesting story, though I had to listen to it a couple of times to fully understand it. The heavy use of description, especially early on, made it a bit difficult for me to get into. I think it was mostly the audio format. If I read it instead, then I may not have had as much trouble.

Also, like others have mentioned, I too felt that it was more an introduction to a universe. Or the prologue of a novel.

As far as the "magical" aspects of the story, I agree with Dave. If it follows predictable rules, it is science. Magic is just another way of saying, "science we do not understand." I had no problem with this part of the story.

"I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates who said, 'I drank what?'"
- Chris Knight, Real Genius


eytanz

  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 6109
Reply #61 on: March 10, 2011, 06:23:35 PM
The discussion of magic and science, and the fallability of science, was developing into an interesting tangent, so it got its own thread. Read it here



FNH

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 309
  • F Napoleon H
    • Black Dog Of Doom
Reply #62 on: March 18, 2011, 05:02:24 PM
What a wikedly awesome story. Totally excellent.  Lets have more!!!!!