Read "A Giant Mess of Darkness" in Ray Gun Revival Today

A science fiction story I wrote called A Giant Mess of Darkness goes live today on the Ray Gun Revival website. Like everything they publish, it's completely free to read (however if you like the magazine and would like to support them, you might consider donating or purchasing a kindle subscription). 



For those keeping score, this is my first paid publication. I already did my share of bragging when the sale was announced, but I'd like to say again how pleased I am to have scratched this goal off the milestone list. Not to mention, I'm extremely proud to have my first real publication credit at the hands of RGR, a magazine that I've been enjoying as a reader for quite some time. If you like stories that hark back to the golden age of pulp science fiction, it's probably right up your alley.

Now I figured I'd post a bit of commentary on the story for those interested. If you haven't read it yet, I'd encourage you to do so before reading on, as spoilers are inbound.

On "Darkness" (spoilers ahoy) . . .

This story's backbone had been floating around in my noggin for quite some time before I actually sat down to write it. It started, like many of my stories do, with the smallest sliver of an idea. I wanted to write about the human instinctual response to darkness. As it happened, I'd just finished the first draft to a taxing fantasy story, so I was ready for some good ol' scifi when I decided to scratch that itch.

The story's concept as it originally came to me was quite different--there was no Dyson sphere. My initial idea involved an astronaut who has an accident while on an EVA mission and begins to drift away from his vehicle. I pictured a scene in which the astronaut had his back to the craft and faced total darkness, with only a small piece of debris floating in front of him reflecting the ambient light behind him. He grows uneasy as the reflective surface of the metal begins to spin away and the shining beacon leaves him.

While I loved this image, it didn't take long to realize there were some plausibility issues there. Why would there be such imposing darkness if he were so close to his craft? Why wouldn't he have a light mounted on his suit, as our astronauts do today? Why wouldn't his crew mount a rescue effort long before he started losing a grip on things? As I toyed with the idea, I eventually realized this story would work better combined with another idea of mine that I'd set aside involving a Dyson sphere, a hypothetical construct named after theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson

The Dyson sphere concept has always fascinated me, so I leaped at the opportunity to finally toy with it a bit. Not only did it address most of my plausibility issues, but it brought an entirely different flavor of mystery and menace (and let me play with certain other concepts as well). The rotating debris became the flickering flashlight, and the original spirit of the idea--overwhelming darkness penetrating the mind of our poor astronaut--still got to reign supreme at the heart of the story.

I hope you enjoyed A Giant Mess of Darkness, and I'd love to hear what you thought of it. If you found your way here from RGR, feel free to stay a while and say hello.

And no . . . I'm not telling you if she was real or not.

Comments

  1. Congratulations on your first publication! It sounds like an interesting read.

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    1. You're welcome. Also, I chose to award you the Liebster Blog Award. Check out the info here. http://noreecosper.blogspot.com/2012/06/liebster-blog-award.html

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    2. Thanks so much, Noree, I'm flattered. Unfortunately, I took my blog award free last month, so I must decline. I appreciate you thinking of me though!

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  2. Many congrats!! This is an awesome achievement, and an even awesomer story!

    I did muse about the girl, but honestly, it doesn't matter. The girl isn't the most beautiful or the most scary thing in there with Alex. ;)

    An extra +1000 bonus points for the Dyson sphere. I can't help but drool over that one.

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    1. Glad you liked the story! I've been wanting to write a story about a Dyson sphere for a long time. In fact, I still have another idea for a story that might make use of one . . .

      Thanks so much, Vero! And thanks so much for the comment over at RGR. You rock.

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  3. Congratulations! I will go read it today.

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  4. JW, that is an awesome achievement. A book publishing video game could be a best-seller.
    - Maurice Mitchell
    The Geek Twins | Film Sketchr
    @thegeektwins | @mauricem1972

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    1. OMG, I'd totally buy that! Does anyone care to shove this idea of a game under some developer's door? Please?

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    2. I agree with Vero, someone should make that game! I'm picturing something similar to Game Dev Story . . .

      Thanks, Maurice!

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  5. First, let me just say that I LOVE the achievement unlocked graphic! Feels good to be a paid author, eh?? I'm a little crunched for time right now--just wanted to check in and see if there were any updates (I'm a curious little bug) but I'm going to read first thing when I get home from work! (and, of course, review!)

    As always, thanks for the retweet, man :D

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    1. Nifty, isn't it? I think I'll make one every time I cross something off of the Master Plan of Writeritude. ;)

      Thanks, Randi! Hope you like the story.

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  6. Seems everybody is on the same page. I write about Raygun Gothic (the Trope) and join a SFR group (current WiP is SFR) and now this. Weird...

    Congrats on publication!

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    1. Great minds think alike, Rafael. Thanks very much!

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  7. Nicely done! Left a comment and rated it.

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    1. Thanks so much, defcon. And congrats on your story in Lovecraft! Don't remember if I told you yet or not, but very nice story.

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    2. Went back and re-read, and it really is masterful. There's a large range of human emotions in the flashback sequences, and the glowing woman is wonderfully sinister and ambiguous.

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    3. Whoops, that was meant as an original comment not a reply. Sorry for confusion.

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    4. No confusion; it happens!

      Thanks very much. I'm flattered, and pleased you enjoyed the story. Hopefully there will be more where this one came from, and soon! Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. Hi,

    Thanks for the follow...and congrats on the publication.

    Feels guuuud...doesn't it? *smile*

    - Mac

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    1. That it does, Mac! Ditto on the follow, and thanks for stopping by.

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