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Second Sun

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Second Sun

Postby nightlock » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:41 am

It was the Chinese who had heard it first. It changed us. It changed the world. November sixteenth of the year 2015. They told the world, us, that they had found signs of intelligent life beyond our solar system. It astonished. The world was left abuzz. The Chinese press release was translated into every living language and before the day was over the world knew. We were not alone.

The old hatreds were pushed back. The rivalries forgotten. We were brothers. We were family. We were no longer alone. The news made us clean up our act. It took but a moment for us to realise we should stick together. Our cosmic neighbours had saved us from cultural meltdown. Nations merged, governments dealt, religions clapped hands together while the cultures of the world prepared for contact.

Scientists the world over stopped their work. All effort, all expertise was given new direction. We would find out neighbours. We would speak to them. Know them. Understand them. Embrace them. Even if we knew exactly where they were, it would take decades for our message to reach them. November twentieth of the year 2015. NASA, ESA, JAXA and ISRO space agencies confirm the Chinese findings.

The radio wave signature was analysed quickly. It's source was somewhere in the Perseus constellation but not yet narrowed down to a specific star. The transmission was too ordered to be attributed to random static. And yet too variable to be a new natural phenomenon. A series of blips and silences spelled out the Fibonacci sequence, starting with the second and ending at the eleventh. The broadcast ended with the radio wave representations for eleven and twenty-one. It was those tracer numbers that closed the deal for mathematicians.

The broadcast was exploiting one of the mathematical characteristics of the sequence. It had long been known that any ten consecutive Fibonacci numbers was divisible by eleven. For the numbers two to eleven, the result was twenty-one. Few people still doubted intelligent origin.

December second of the year 2015. Astronomers had succeeded in locating the exact source of the alien broadcast. Governments of the world were deep in negotiations. January first of the 2016. Global government was a fact. All nations, all cultures, and all religions had agreed to stand as a unified species. We would represent Earth, and all it's creatures as one. Together. For the first time in recorded history, humanity was at peace. A second wave of space exploration began. Volunteers for Mars colonisation came from across the globe and numbered in the millions.

During the first year following that November sixteenth, the world changed. It adapted. It grew and matured. A second enlightenment fuelled by the internet spread among all cultures. Our cosmic neighbours kept their broadcast up, varying their message every two months. By November of the year 2016, we had received half a dozen different mathematical transmissions and were responding them with our own algorithms.

November sixteenth of the year 2016. The second sun appeared and brightened both night and day for weeks and almost immediately we all realised the terrible truth. Our friends from the Perseus constellation had stopped broadcasting. Their star was seen no more, in it's stead, a hot source of infra-red light, gamma radiation and X-rays, all that was left were hot gasses and dust. Our neighbours were no more. Once more, we were alone.


(Note: I use British spelling, hence neighbours with a 'u' and colonisation and the like with an 's' instead of 'z'.)
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Re: Second Sun

Postby Nightender » Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:15 pm

I think you have a good framework here, but I think you need a lot more personal detail. I don't think you have to deal with a cast of characters if you don't want to, but that's a way to go.

The one thing that I can specifically suggest to make this story shine is this: How do these transmissions improve lives? What inventions form? What mysteries are solved because of them? I think that's the detail you're missing. It gives a sense of shared purpose with the extraterrestrials, so their sudden absence at the end can seem more impactful.

Best of luck!
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Re: Second Sun

Postby Xyster » Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:05 pm

Interesting piece. I can't tell if it's a stand alone or an introduction to something though. I'm rather hoping for an introduction since I am interested to see more about this concept and where you are going with it, like did the world peace fall apart once we were alone again, did we try to find out what happened to them, was the message a warning about the same thing happening to us, or maybe it was even a plea for help, only you know, but I would love to find out.

I liked it overall, it was a bit too techincal for my personal taste though, a little more personal would be nice, something to give it a more human touch. It has the effects of reading straight out of a history book, all the important details but a little dry for me.

Overall rating, very interesting and I'd love to see more to find out what happened. It could be fleshed out a little more, perhaps humanized. An explanation of if this is a short story or introduction would be nice.

This is your story though, my critique is just my view of it. Please feel free to disregard any and all portions of it at your convenience.
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Re: Second Sun

Postby nightlock » Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:22 pm

Xyster wrote:Interesting piece. I can't tell if it's a stand alone or an introduction to something though. I'm rather hoping for an introduction since I am interested to see more about this concept and where you are going with it, like did the world peace fall apart once we were alone again, did we try to find out what happened to them, was the message a warning about the same thing happening to us, or maybe it was even a plea for help, only you know, but I would love to find out.


Like so many authors, I really don't know. It's intentionally ambiguous.

Xyster wrote:I liked it overall, it was a bit too techincal for my personal taste though, a little more personal would be nice, something to give it a more human touch. It has the effects of reading straight out of a history book, all the important details but a little dry for me.

Overall rating, very interesting and I'd love to see more to find out what happened. It could be fleshed out a little more, perhaps humanized. An explanation of if this is a short story or introduction would be nice.

This is your story though, my critique is just my view of it. Please feel free to disregard any and all portions of it at your convenience.


You are right, it is history bookish. It's a writing style I'm trying to develop. Needless to say, the difficulty lies in the absence of characters/emotions and dryness of the text. It can't be just another info dump. Brevity seems to help, do it becomes a matter of balance. It's a tough style to develop, but I am enjoying it. Including the technical parts. I've spend more time looking through math sites for a believable way to convey intelligence than I have spend on writing it.

It is just a short story I'm afraid. An idea I had laying around that suited my current needs. Feel free to steal the idea.
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Re: Second Sun

Postby The Master » Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:56 am

The abundance of very short sentences makes it feel more like a poem to me and perhaps contribute to that feeling that this is a prologue to the story you are about to tell. Like Xyster I too find myself interested in what that story might be.

If the goal is to make it seem like a history then I also think that the time frame is much too compressed for the events you describe. World peace and a unified government almost instantly? It doesn't seem reasonable.
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Re: Second Sun

Postby berry » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:45 pm

Hi,
I really liked the story, its a great idea, like others have suggested I too would like more flesh on it. If you wanted to keep it short maybe some personal detail, I'm not sure how you woould add this, maybe making it one of the scientists telling the story or as a series of news articles so you could keep the journalistic style. You did say you were aiming for an inpersonal syle but for me to much happened in a short space of time if it is to be a hisotry piece. I just realised that that was another way of saying what the master has written above, but I do think a change of perpective could take the place of extensive detail.
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