Reality Bending

If you’re reading this, then you must be one of our new scientists here at the Ideal Propagation Research Center. This classified documentation is for the IPRC’s cutting edge research on Lems. The purpose of this research is to quantify units of reality, and using that research to engineer weapons capable of destroying the reality bender’s that have begun to threaten our society.

But, before we explain the nature of these reality benders, Lems need to be explained. Lems are the average measure of reality a given space has. The higher the Lems are in a space the more real it is, and the fewer the Lems are in a space is the less real it is. This can be hard to understand upon first hearing, so let us explain it with an analogy. Let all of time and space compare to a universe-sized beach. At every point on that beach (the universe), there is sand (Lems). However, some parts of the beach have more sand than others. Likewise, sand can move across the beach if certain events happen that make it move.

This is an extreme oversimplification, and full explanations are given after this Preface, of course. To measure the amount of reality in an area, we use IPRC manufactured Lem Anchors. These devices are like using snow shovels on the beach. They store massive quantities of Lems and spew Lems where ever they need to go, but they need a source of Lems to function. For Lem Anchors to measure the “quantity” of reality within a space, we have used two Lem Anchors to create two arbitrarily high are low areas of Lems to compare to as a base line. The areas of high Lems are determined to have 100 Lems, while the lower areas are determined to have 0 Lems. Every time a Lem anchor makes a measurement, it compares its quantity to the high and low areas, and returns a value that is proportional to those two areas.

While measuring Lems is great, knowing those two benchmark numbers doesn’t put the scale of reality being manipulated. For the laws of physics to functions as they normally do, a value of 0.7 Lems is needed. Most humans maintain a Lem quantity of about 0.3 Lems inside their body, while the very outside of human bodies are kept at a shockingly high 13.4 Lems. In order to create and destroy matter, a Lem count of -30.3 is necessary. This means reality benders with that ability are extremely powerful, and are considered extreme threats to society.

Accessing further information on this document requires an IPRC clearance level of at least 7.

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Hey, that’s pretty good

When writing my fiction stories, I always strive for as much conceptual creativity as I can. That being said, stories about people tend to be inherently unoriginal because people tend to write a lot about other people, and it’s not hard to see why. After all, it’s very easy to just write about the day to day experiences that a writer has. Because of this, I have worked to avoid a focus on an anecdotal human element, and I write more about particular settings and organizations of people rather than individuals themselves. I have found this to be quite effective in creating an interesting, although hard to relate to, narrative.

As a product of this, I also for no particular reason that comes to mind, write stories with the narrator telling the reader how stories occur in the past tense. I think the reason why I do this is because of the ability it gives me to skew time. I could have a narrator describe a series of events, and then I would tell the reader “oh by the way that happened in like 2068” in a fairly passive way. Not only does this set the perspective of the narrator’s time, but it also give the reader a totem to grab onto to understand the scale of the story and potentially give them an idea about how far technology has progressed (this works going into the past, too).

The best part to this all is that I’m also writing my stories in prices that are, get this, greater than 500-100 words! Can you believe it? The stories that I think are the most successful are the ones with greater word counts! Its almost as if the more tools to create an artist has, the better their work will be.

Now that I’ve ranted about the technicalities of my writing, I’ll share a few of my story prompts because I think they’re at least mildly interesting.

The prompt I am most proud of so far is a little something I wrote inspired from SCP. I’ve written a story in the exact same way that an SCP story would be written. The particular object I’ve decided to write about is a TV that emits light that forces objects to age extremely quickly. Constant power must be applied to the television to keep it off (because logic) otherwise the TV will quickly age the area around it. The rate at which the light accelerates ageing is unfathomably fast, but the reader is not told this, as they have to figure it out by doing a bit of cross checking on the experiment logs provided in the story.

The other idea I had was about a factory that hunts down raw resources, and uses them to sustain itself and produce scientific information. The entire process is managed automatically by the factory, so it requires no maintenance. The factory works so well, it has developed past the technology every other civilization that has ever existed, but the twist is that humanity has been dead for many millennia after the factory achieved this state.

Micromeaning in Microfiction

Seriously? An expectation to write strong stories in less than 100 words? I’ve been bamboozled by this conundrum. Less than 500 words is formidable because there was at least some room to slap together an exposition that the reader can hold onto and appreciate, but less than 100 means all you can have in a story is a small arrangement of actions between characters that are so flat that they might as well be classified as two-dimensional.

Many 100 word stories try to expand their characters by trying them into symbols. While I can appreciate the effort  being made to expand these characters, 100 words can still leave extreme amounts of variability when it comes to the interpretation of what those symbols are supposed to mean. Yes, a reader can figure out that a spider, bear, or snake is supposed to be the antagonist, but finding the details to derive the conflict with that antagonist becomes an annoyance. Is the antagonist supposed to represent a rapist, war, genocide, a paper cut, or maybe even you accidentally spilling your coffee on yourself right before you leave home to go to work? The expansion becomes so broad that any deeper meaning the author attempted to weave into their words becomes lost in a sea of vagueness.

It’s not that I hate the idea of short stories, but rather I hate the tools that get taken away with over the top constraints. In a similar sense: it would be cool if I could grow an entire cornfield with just one seed, but that idea does not work in practice. I can’t say I understand why my classmates are so enthralled with this idea,  but if its their cup of tea I guess they can appreciate it. I will be writing my fiction in as many words as it takes to make the writing compelling. Fiction creates an open canvas that no other type of writing can quite compare to, and that open canvas creates infinite possibility for any writer to communicate the world they want to represent. However, keeping stories too short is like cutting a 1 inch square section out of that canvas and trying to use only that fraction of the canvas to create a world. Sure, you can use any part of the canvas you want, but the final product will always be of lesser quality than if you decided to go ahead and utilize the whole canvas.

The Heist

Here is a small narrative piece I wrote for English class:

Tonight, we’re hitting up a warehouse in St. Louis. The warehouse is owned by an organization that calls themselves “private security,” but is really just a bunch of thugs and mercenaries. That being said, this organization has outposts all over the world, so there’s no telling what kind of juicy illegal loot is going to be on the inside.

The first place we need to hit them is their server room, as this will be where one of the guards is watching the cameras. In addition to blinding their primary security system, it will also allow us to steal the servers themselves. Who knows what could be on the servers? Military blueprints, secret state budgets, and even access codes to the vaults deeper inside the warehouse are all possibilities.

Once they’re blind, we need to sneak around the warehouse and search containers. We need to avoid being seen by guards, as every one of them has a pager to set off the alarm. Killing the guards is also undesirable. The more guards we have to kill, the more suspicious their radio operators will be from the silence.

Any look we find can be taken to the back of the warehouse by the river. The warehouse’s lookouts have a blind spot back there. We can set up a zip-line there to carry items across the river without being noticed.

Our contractor wants us to do this silently, and if we do set off the alarm, then we won’t have the firepower to hold off the SWAT team for any mount of time. If the alarm goes off, we are screwed.

Flash Fiction

None of the flash fiction we read in English class earlier appealed to me, and I do not think it is because of the content of the prompts or stories themselves. I think the less than 300 words limit on these stories is difficult for any writer to work with. With a limit like that there is no time to set up exposition, and writes just have to cut to the chase to a rising action. This lack of exposition makes it difficult to create an engaging story, as all of the meaning has to be implied, there are not enough words to state it explicitly.

One You Tuber that expresses my vice on word counts from the opposite perceptive. Be warned, the martial here is a bit adult, but I think the point that he makes is worth sharing. (Relevant part of the video ends at 1:44).

While he is arguing that word minimums make for bad writing, I would like to take the time to show that word maximums have an equal and opposite effect. If a maximum word limit is too low in a subject like narrative fiction, then you can’t create a world that  a reader can become invested in, and you also can not sustain the reader’s curiosity to learn more and more about the fictional world you worked so hard to create.

Of course, that’s not to say it is completely impossible to write immersive works of fiction with low word counts. The SCP Foundation is a web series that provides great examples of this. Each article is short (500-1000 words), but manages to tell a small part of a larger story. Because the story is spread out across all the different articles and the articles do not have any particular order, the story can be reproached and read my anyone from any starting point. The entire point to this is to still put the narrative into small chunks and still drive the reader’s curiosity to know more.

Poetry

In English class, we have been writing poetry for the last few weeks. Here are some of my poems.

Memetic Hazard

Is there a hazard in learning?
Can an image or an idea corrupt you?
Hurt you?

Can inception weaponize?
Enter an incorrect credential and die?
Seems a cruel weapon.

Short of torture.

 

 

Phaneron

Do souls exist?
It’s impossible for me to know
if you are conscious.
Likewise, you can’t tell if I am.
Minds can’t meld to be sure the other
Exists.

How many machines does it take
until suddenly out pops a sentence?

How many nerves does it take
to feel?

Do humans even feel?
Or do we just claim we do?

You, Quantum Tunneling

When I read “You, Disappearing”, I felt very  bored at the idea behind the conflict itself. I am the kind of reader that likes to have some level of understanding with the nature of the conflict. Just having an environment where collections of objects suddenly fail to exists does not give me the closure I would like from a story. The old lady who can supposedly hear the voices of the disappeared does at least help bring closure for me, but it does not do it properly enough for me to enjoy the little closure that it gives. Besides, there were faults to the supposed explanation of what happened to the disappeared. How could all the people who were on the other side possibly be alive if the Earth itself and its air had not disappeared with them? If every item in the first world appeared in the second world, then would the earth have to appear twice eventually? Its at this point where I begin not to accept this idea, and I start to postulate my own explanations.

Although it should be noted that it is so unlikely for this to happen its almost not worth of discussion, in the real world there is a potential explanation for objects disappearing like this randomly. In the wonderful world of quantum physics, the study of how the partials the make up atoms work, there is a strange property that exists for almost all particles called quantum tunneling. To sum it up simply, all particles that make up atoms tend to seemingly randomly teleport in short distances in every instant of time. The longer the teleport is, the more unlikely it is to actually happen. In this story, we could assume that the individual particles that make up had have all teleported unfathomably far away from Earth. While the chances of this actually happening to even one particle are extremely low, it does still qualify as an explanation to me.