Logico Fractatus | Quoted in Character: Inaugural Post


Vanakkam. Today, I begin a series of entries involving quotes from my fictional characters who, using their own perspectives in the Gods of Terra setting, capture something of modern scientific skepticism. Future installments get their own title, but since this one uses a recent image, it piggybacks on Logico Fractatus. The image I used for this is a Julia set of the Burning Ship fractal type , via Ultra Fractal 6. Today’s quote comes from one of my oldest Gods of Terra characters, Dasaelos Gurao, Warlord of the Rj’lt’ar species.

Tf. Tk. Tts.

All JPEG, PNG, Tiff, & GIF images in this post are original works by the author, created by way of various fractal apps, and these are copyright 2019 by Troy David Loy unless stated otherwise. 

Feel free to save or distribute these images for private, noncommercial use, or elsewhere online with a link to the original source and/or credit to the author.

Thank you!

MetaCognitions | Fictional Plot Devices


I’ve noticed something worth avoiding in writing anything approaching good speculative fiction: never explain too much, be economic with any explanation you do, and only explain, by showing, not telling, what actually needs explaining.

I notice a failure to do that in some of my earlier fiction of even a few months ago, much less from years back, not consistently, but often enough to cause concern. Mostly it happens with a piece that I spend only a couple of hours on, in total writing, editing, and proofreading time; almost always a hastily written piece or two when a deadline looms. That’s bad form when it occurs.

But what sort of things ought not to be explained?

For example, there are the Heisenberg compensators of Star Trek used by transporter technology, that offer a nod to the quantum mechanical problems of teleportation without being explained as to how they work, which is good use of rubber science technobabble that adds to, not subtracts from, the feel of the story.

It’s good to acknowledge real science even when not strictly conforming to it. It’s one of the hallmarks of any good SF franchise.

Another would be the Holzmann effect of Frank Herbert’s Dune series, using variations of that phenomenon’s name in different books of the series. It’s cleverly never explained in any detail, but serves the background and feel of realism of the setting very well. Again, a nod to science without spoiling the fun with an explanation which would likely backfire as seeming contrived and even less consistent with real-world science. As a plot device permitting rapid space travel and personal force-screens, enabling the plot by fostering willing suspension of disbelief, it works well for that reason.

From my own writing, like my Gods of Terra setting, both old timeline and the current reboot, there’s the Kurtz-Dunar effect, named for scientists Raoul Kurtz of Terra and Ranan Dunar of Sirug, permitting cheap, safe, and efficient surface-to-orbit and interstellar travel, and personal teleportation via short-range warps in space-time, among other things.

It’s annoying when I see something over-explained elsewhere and annoying when I do it myself as well, especially the latter.

After all, if I really knew how the Kurtz-Dunar effect, or ancient relic technology like hypershards, actually worked, I wouldn’t be using them as plot devices in my fiction, but instead building and testing working prototypes under contract from DARPA! and I am quite obviously not doing that . . .

So, the more shone, not told, and the more economic that is, only what furthers the story, the better.

That’ll do for me, one story at a time, no matter what region of space-time, and which space-time continuum, is involved.

Mongo Fiction| Fractal Genesis: Draft 1, Part I


I am Samdrumani Amhadiraan Natalanaana Paruul, and I am proud, for today, after months of digging at the gravesites of dead civilizations, my teammates and I have made a most unusual find on our most recent excavation. We are, my team and I, archaeologists from the esteemed Madutraada University, main campus, on the homeworld of my species, mighty Sirug, city-continent Avatrumuulat.

We have found an anomaly, a very old one, too old, indeed, older than the origin of my people on our adopted planet, the capital of the Galactic Exarchate of Sirug. But I get ahead of myself, and shall related things as best I can for posterity’s sake. Should anyone recover this journal, they will know that this finding will shake the galaxy, and end our bitter war with the Giants of Tokmolos.

We had been at dig site after dig site on this dying world, its resident biosphere already on its last gasp as its stellar primary began to brighten too much and boil away the oceans, its stellar wind stripping the once breathable atmosphere to dangerous thinness and exposing the ruins of the surface to lethal levels of stellar radiation. We must all wear protective suits since our stay here, only the simplest forms of life, the hardiest microbes analogous to extremophiles living on my homeworld, remaining. Of those, only species far beneath the crust and its dead mantle will continue, for a time, at least.

We were at a newly identified location on this planet’s northern hemisphere, where the icecaps once covered the pole some million years ago, before the planet’s sun began to die. We had gotten some very strange readings from a site that looked barren, no surface structures, yet our readings indicated that something was emitting terahertz radiation, something far below the ground, something that could only be technological. At arrival, we zeroed in on the readings, locating our spot, and set down, garbed in our suits.

After months of fruitless digging, spurred on only by what was left of our funding and the readings of our instruments, we were about to give up, pack our equipment, and head back to Kai’Siri space, when we found it, or rather, them. It was our group’s assistant excavator, Khamudraht Vaasa, a brilliant young man barely out of his teens who uncovered them, alien artifacts in a set of three, all broadcasting a radiation signature that was off the scale from all previous discoveries.

Relics. Relics billions of years old, relics predating the evolution of life on Sirug. This was an impossibility. There had to be something wrong with our method of dating the findings, but after recalibrating our instruments over and again, the readings checked out. Young Vaasa was killed instantly. Or so it seemed. Probably some sort of security failsafe built into the relics, or a malfunction, whatever. It was a pulse of radiation that went off as soon as the digging was complete. He was closest to it, instantly disintegrated. After an impromptu funeral, sending a starfold courier drone with the news to the nearest Kai’Siri outpost system, we looked closer…

They were shining spheres — well, not quite spheres — but constantly shifting back and forth between sphericity to things altogether different, as the radiation died down and we examined them closer, in relative safety given the local conditions. Made of some kind of bizarre alien crystal, they seemed to rotate in and out of space-time dimensions higher than the usual four, barely tangible to our sort of matter. We were forced to hold them using instruments employing Kurtz-Dunar fields to grasp them at all, much less in safety, once recovering them from their casing, a sort of stasis box.

It was then we made our next discovery. Instruments showed fossils below us, probably the ancient remains of native life, or so we thought, until we made sense of the scan we were getting — it was a fossilized human skeleton, dated at fifty-five million years old, and it matched the measurements of Khamudraht Vaasa, our comrade who only hours before had been seemingly destroyed…

To be continued…

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