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Null and Void

 
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hboff
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:25 pm    Post subject: Null and Void Reply with quote

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Null and Void
Posted by J. D. Ford (fordyman@comcast.net)
19 November 2009, 6:07 pm

http://halosn.bungie.org/fanfic/?story=J._D._Ford1119091807541.html
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kabu
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is powerful stuff. The little bits of levity (Satan's favorite g-string, heh) only serve to make the rest of the story even bleaker. And the slow build from the top, until we realize that he's actually floating alone in space, is rather spine-tingly. Really amazingly excellent.

And the last line is perfect.
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eb4642
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I concur with kabu. The balance between bleak humour, chin-up optimism and inevitable bumhole-gazing (in the proverbial sense) is very near perfect.
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Phædrus
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well written mate. Nice mix of humor, bleakness, and hard science fiction. Reminds me a little of one of my pieces. *cough* Wink

You forgot a few effects of exposure to vacuum:
Bleeding from nose, ears, eyes, and mouth
Bursting of subcutaneous blood vessels leading to bruising
Venting of gas from your digestive system, from both mouth and anus
The bends due to expansion of gas in the bloodstream
In explosive decompression the lungs can actually rupture inside the chest if one holds their breath, as the pressure inside the lungs stays a bit over 1atm and the pressure outside hits 0.

If you survive exposure to vacuum you'll usually be half-blinded, subject to continuous coughing, have extreme pain in the ears, and may die anyway from coughing up blood. Bursting subcutaneous blood vessels will also give your skin a permanent mottled texture.
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J. D. Ford
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah. I also chose not to insert the bit about the saliva on your tongue boiling almost instantly. There's a huge misconception about one's blood boiling in vacuum, and an old 80's movie fetish with exploding bodies...but blood doesn't boil at the temperatures present in hard vacuum, and skin tensile strength is actually very, very high, so no boom.

From this character's point of view, I didn't want to go through a forensic examination of exposure or explosive decompression, just the basic emotional overview.

I'll be sure to keep all those juicy details in mind, though, when I write a sequel from Mr. Navy Forensics Guy's POV. Wink

And thanks for the generous comments, guys.


~J. D.
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eb4642
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

J. D. Ford wrote:
There's a huge misconception about one's blood boiling in vacuum, and an old 80's movie fetish with exploding bodies...but blood doesn't boil at the temperatures present in hard vacuum


[physics pedant]

It depends. An object in a hard vacuum will be very hot on one side (the one facing the sun) and freezing on the other (the side facing away from the sun). What would make one's blood boil is the drop in pressure: on Mars, a glass of water would simply boil off.
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J. D. Ford
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, but human blood pressure prevents the blood from boiling, in addition to the containment effect of the circulatory system. Saliva and sweat are totally different. The only way your blood will boil is a sudden drop in blood pressure...such as a massive arterial wound. And that's all beside the point. If I wanted to get into the nitty gritty of exposure to vacuum, I just would've paraphrased NASA.


~J. D.
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fallschirmjager
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very frightening stuff, JD.

I used to have nightmares when I was a bit younger about drifting in space so reading a story of a bloke knowing he's rat shit brings back a bit of the emotion I felt waking up in a cold sweat.

Very vivid with just that right sprinkling of humour to really bring out the character of the poor sod.
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J. D. Ford
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, 'Schirm. I never thought about tapping into subconscious fears...but then, I never had nightmares about dying in space. Tornadoes, yes, but not space. In fact, I rarely remember my dreams these days, so they very rarely impact my writing, even from a consideration standpoint.

Phædrus wrote:
Reminds me a little of one of my pieces. *cough* Wink

You know damn well that I love Red. Can't help it if I'm inspired by the format. Very Happy


~J. D.
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kr1
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent work, J.D. I love the first-person style, it makes for a good change of pace now and then, and it's about the best choice for a story like this. Loved the dark humor, and how the narrator looks at his situation all too realistically. Love the ambiguity at the end, too. Realistically, he has little chance of survival, and he knows it, but there seems to be just a bit of, "Well, I might make it," there.

And Phae meant Stars. Razz

Anyways, great work. Wink
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J. D. Ford
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, kr.

I've never read Stars. Hell, I've never even heard anyone mention it.

*looks up Stars*

Oh, yeah...definitely some similarities there. I'd say they have a closely-related premise, but we obviously took completely different approaches to characterization. I'd say Stars is more contemplative...more sophisticated and psychological, in both style and execution. Mine's more straightforward, stream-of-consciousness, and I'm looking at it from the perspective of being alone in the void (literally), not inside a wrecked ship. Then there're the totally different POV forms. The ship is a smarter setting because it presents more storytelling opportunities, when you think about it. Not a whole lot out in the deep, after all.

Smile

Really liked Stars, BTW, Phae. Wish I'd read it before I wrote this. Then again, if I had, I probably wouldn't have written this.


~J. D.
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kabu
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

J. D. Ford wrote:
Thanks, kr.

I've never read Stars. Hell, I've never even heard anyone mention it.

*looks up Stars*



I did the exact same thing. I wrote a story, Phae proofread it, and said "uh, this is Stars." I'm still going to post it eventually, though, because I really like it. Maybe in a few weeks/months.
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The 14th Wonder
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really good stuff, J.D.. You oughta post more digestible-sized pieces like this more often Wink.

I think my favorite thing about this is that it just feels...real. You're obviously keeping things intentionally simple, but it still felt fresh and, as eb said, you're balance of elements that set the tone was spot on.

Really nothing to criticize that stands out. Great job.
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Phædrus
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I should stop using the "Stars" card. Dying alone in space is a semi-common motif in classic sci-fi stories, I just happened to be the first (that I know of) to write one on this site.

Null and Void is a great example of the death in space story, with some good black humor and solid style. Wink
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