bonny_kate: (doctor and rose)
Lately I've been mulling over collateral damage and aftermath in stories. For some reason, watching action movies often makes me wonder about the collateral damage. Does anyone care about all the cars that are smashed, the buildings that are blown up? Who fixes everything after the villain has been defeated? Is the insurance responsible if your car is destroyed due to a heroic act of saving the neighborhood? I've been pondering the implications for many different settings.


Fantasy
So many heroes go on a quest, defeat the Dark Lord, and the story ends (more or less happily). After the Dark Lord has been defeated, then what? Who builds the country again? Most of these Dark Lords also have Dark Armies. If it is some sort of nasty that is morally bad (e.g. Tolkien's orcs), who hunts them down and kills them? If the army is composed, instead, of humans or some free-willed creatures, who decides who is good and who is bad? Are there military tribunals? To what degree is the army responsible for the actions ordered by the Dark Lord or his lieutenants? If there were many people pressed into military service, which ones were they (men, women, young, middle-aged, some mixture) and what effect has this had on the culture? What happens when these people go back? Are some of the military roving bands of outlaws, now?

If there is a rightful ruler, is he or she accepted by the general population? Is there an old constitution or declaration of rights that can be accepted, or does it have to be thought up from scratch? Who is in charge of this? Are there any judges, lawyers or politicians who weren't corrupted by the Dark Lord who can help, and if so, how can you tell if they've been corrupted or not? Has the Dark Lord mostly left local politics in place, or has he or she put their own people in charge everywhere? If so, has he or she merely deposed the good people, or killed them? Are there any bands of outlaws that are actually good (like Robin Hood), and how does one distinguish them from the nasty sort of outlaws, and having distinguished them, how does one bring them back into society?

Was there any other country whose army helped depose the Dark Lord? Will they expect some sort of reparations or such? Whose authority will they accept regarding a peace treaty? Are they leaving any occupying forces?

Has the Dark Lord accumulated gold or supplies at their fortress? What happens to these things, particularly any money? Is it to be turned back to the rightful owner, and if so, how can you determine that? Is it to be used for helping the citizens rebuild the country, and if so, who determines which people receive aid? Is there an oversight committee?


Superheroes
Superhero movies seem to have a whole lot of destruction. Who fixes everything after the supervillain is defeated? Where do the funds come from? Insurance companies? State or federal governments? Who buys the new cars, fixes the roads, and rebuilds the buildings? Is counseling offered for those people held hostage by the supervillain? How does one deal with that sort of thing? Who fixes the security leaks? Can they be fixed?


Science Fiction
In my experience, this genre deals the best with questions about the aftermath of a bad government being toppled (see in particular Elizabeth Moon). There are pirates who either show up or grow stronger with less organized military resistance. Communication between planets becomes more of an issue. There tends to be a redistribution of power. There are people very unhappy about losing. Firefly explores this a bit from the other side.


Just a few thoughts. There may eventually be a story out of these thoughts, but right now I'm just mulling things over.
bonny_kate: (doctor and rose)
This isn't a story, exactly, but more of a sketch.


I collect sunsets. I press their substance between the thin pages of a thesaurus or dictionary, or on occasion the thick pages of whatever slim novel I've slipped in my purse to read in odd moments (in the elevator, at stoplights, in the waiting). They fade and flatten, like flowers, but something of their beauty is retained, a hint and a memory. Press a violet or a rose petal and you will lose something of the beauty of the flower, the colors will gently leach away, but there will yet remain a hint and memory of scent that will awaken memory. It is the same with sunsets. A pressed sunset is more like the memory of a sunset; the fire has faded a little, the clouds are less white, perhaps, but yet the faded substance will waken the memory of the thing itself. They make me smile, these sunsets.

My cousin collects sunrises. She puts a drop of ether upon their hearts, and then pushes a straight pin through it to hang in neat rows upon corkboard. Her sunrises are more lifelike; they do not fade as quickly as my sunsets. Yet because she has impaled its heart, I think her sunrise loses that inexpressible something that causes us to sigh or sit in silence before beauty. They are beautiful, and they are dead, her sunrises. By trying to preserve in perfection she has captured the details and lost the essence. Their souls have fled her straight pins, but yet the souls of sunsets linger in sweet scents upon the pages of my books, because I have not sought to posses them, merely to remember.

musings

Apr. 13th, 2009 05:52 pm
bonny_kate: (Default)
Being a story, of sorts.

The Ice Queen drove past Greta this morning (that is not her name, but what she is). The Ice Queen thought that she had the clear, blue eyes of Lucy, and that she was hoping that the school bus would take her to Narnia instead of the mundane classroom, with its whiteboards and faded posters and cracked ceiling tiles. The Ice Queen thought about stopping, to tell Lucy (as she thought she was) that no matter how many times you check the back of the wardrobe, it is never Narnia. That was a lie, like all fairy tales, and she would be a fool to believe it. But the Ice Queen did not have time, for she must buy and sell soulless things on the stock exchange today. If she had not been in a hurry, she would have stopped to break the illusion that Fairy can be found.

This morning, Greta found that the world had been washed clean as the sky fell to lie in little fractured bits, reflecting what it had been within itself. She did not know (for how could she?) that the imps had broken the sky, and these broken bits were too powerful for mortals, and yet she guessed. She had not run out into this rain, although she loved the rain, for she had somehow known its wrongness. She had tried to stop Hans (that is not his name, either, and yet it is who he is), but he had run out to stomp the puddle on the way to the bus stop, and a bit of sky had splashed up and lodged in his eye, and what is worse, in his heart. If that broken thing had landed in Greta's eye she would have seen Paradise, for such was the purity of her heart that she would have seen the world as it is. Hans also saw the world as it is, or so he thought, but the splinter magnified his faults and pushed them onto the world. He saw that the world was full of selfishness and hate, that nothing lasts, and that the only thing to do is to find power and hold it. He pushed Greta away and laughed at her naivete as she spoke simply of how clean and nice the world was today.

After school, Greta waited for the school bus, and she was not altogether surprised when it was a different bus, and empty, that she boarded. She is searching for Hans, who is now lost in a dark wood, listening to the siren song of the Ice Queen who offers him Turkish Delight. If anyone can bring Hans to himself and more than himself it is Greta, for in her clear, blue eyes, brighter blue than the sky after the rain has washed it clean, is Narnia or Paradise. But first she must find him, and that is no easy thing because he is so lost that he no longer remembers that he is lost.

story idea

Apr. 2nd, 2009 06:04 pm
bonny_kate: (doctor and rose)
There is a world, very much like ours, where human cloning is prevalent. There are those who speak against it, but they are mainly ignored. Cloning began in the spirit of scientific inquiry; they were going to cure cancer and the common cold. But now parents who lost a child may clone that child in order to have them again. Of course, cloning is expensive, so multiple clones are often made and the imperfect or unwanted are given to adoption agencies, if they're lucky.

The real problem comes with law enforcement. A clone is not quite the same as a twin. Identical twins may appear identical, may have the same DNA, but there are small differences. One is lefthanded and another righthanded. Fingerprints are never exactly the same. But with clones, everything is identical. They have the same DNA, the same retina scan, and the same fingerprints. Guaranteed or your money back (check the fine print).

There is a girl who just graduated high school. She doesn't know that she's a clone. Her adopted parents don't even know. She's about to find out when she's arrested for stealing a lot of money (based on DNA and fingerprints) except she didn't. But that doesn't matter to the law. Legally, she's the same person, and she can be prosecuted to the full extent. Morally, most people agree, because even if she isn't the particular clone that stole the money, she would have, under the same circumstances, because she's the same person.

Everyone knows that clones don't have souls, or if they do, it's the same soul as the original.


It's not so much a story right now as a nifty setting from which I might make a story. We'll see if it goes anywhere.
bonny_kate: (doctor and rose)
Disclaimer: I actually think that time travel is theoretically impossible, as is faster than light travel (which is closely related to time travel; if you can travel faster than light or travel in time, you can theoretically do both). That's the problem with majoring in physics and liking sci-fi; everything becomes a lot less probable. So, having said that, here's a bit of a story I wrote today.


I invented a time machine yesterday. It wasn't hard, once you think about time the right way. You're used to thinking about time as a separate dimension, but it isn't. Or at least, it isn't a dimension in the way that height and breadth and depth are dimensions. Cats, now cats understand dimensions as well as time. That's how they can be in another place nearly instantaneously. They also have an intuitive understanding of paradoxes. A cat almost travels instantaneously, but never quite, because that might result in the cat existing in two places at once, which is dangerous. But I'm not going to give you a lesson in theory, because I don't want you to get any ideas, and besides, this is about what happened after I'd invented my time travel machine.

I was sitting at my computer playing with the device, which I'd made as a sort of puzzle ring, where the interlocking layers controlled time. I wasn't sure what to do with my new gadget, because I wanted to test it, but not on myself. I've read enough sci-fi to be aware of the potential logical paradoxes, or at least I thought so. But there's no point to inventing time travel unless you use it. So I decided to send something small back in time, something that wouldn't make a difference, or at least, not much, and see what happened. I had a letter sitting on my desk that I'd been meaning to send, but hadn't gotten around to so far, and so I took that letter and put it in the mailbox, but then I sent that letter back a few days in time. Or at least, I was pretty sure I'd sent it back in time, because it wasn't in the mailbox anymore. I went back to my computer and found a text message that my friend had sent as a reply to my letter. I was incredibly happy. It had worked, and I was brilliant, and I thought that perhaps the next step was to send myself backwards, or forwards, in time, but just a few minutes, to see what would happen. But then Robin Hood showed up.

I knew it was Robin Hood at once. He was tall, and thin, dressed in faded Lincoln green that was mottled and patched, and he carried a longbow that he was leaning on as a staff, and the quiver at his side was full of arrows, fletched white and grey. "Just what do you think you're doing?" he said.

"I don't know what you're talking about," I said. When I was younger, I'd used to imagine meeting Robin Hood. I never pictured it like this.

"You're messing around with time," he said.

"Just a little," I said, "I sent a letter back a few days. That can't be why you're here, it's not like I stepped on a prehistoric butterfly."

"You don't know what you're doing," he said, looking a little relieved. "You have no idea."

"I just sent a letter back in time a few days," I said, "you make it sound like it's the end of the world."

"You could have caused the end of the world," he said. "No action is isolated, especially when you start moving things around in time. Changing the proper time of that letter caused reverberations and consequences that acted both backwards and forwards."

"Nothing can have consequences backwards," I said.

"Look," he said, "if you're thinking like this, it is extremely dangerous for you to start doing things outside of your proper time."

"You're here," I said stubbornly. "This is outside your proper time."

"Indeed, but I know what I'm doing," he said, "I'm aware of the possible consequences. But I'm not staying here, out of my proper time, nor am I moving anything outside its proper time, most of all you. And I want that device."

"But then you'll be moving it out of its proper time," I said, "won't that contradict what you just said?"

"I'm going to put it past the end of the world," he said, "so it won't, properly speaking, be part of your time. And I want you to promise not to send anything to any other time until you understand how that will cause reverberations backwards and forwards."

"What if I don't?" I asked.

"There's a very good chance you could cause the end of the world," he said.

"This time travel device won't destroy the world," I said. I wasn't entirely sure, but I thought I knew enough of the theory to be confident.

"I mean you'll start the apocalypse," he said, "and if you do that, you won't be able to stop it, and I can't interfere."

"Alright," I said, and handed over the ring.

"Remember," he said, "don't make any more devices, and don't take things out of their proper time until you understand what you're doing." And then Robin Hood was gone.

Today I'm considering the possibilities of teleportation. I don't see how anyone can have a problem with that. But then again, I didn't expect to have trouble with time traveling. Maybe I'll work out the theory a bit more before I build anything.
bonny_kate: (gentle green)
Look! Another story fragment thing! This one is mostly based on a dream I had. It isn't really going anywhere, I don't think.



My mother warned me about the Elves.

"I'm uneasy that you're going to that house," she said.

"I'll be fine," I said. "It's just like any other great house. They're just like any other great lords and ladies."

"They're not," she said. "They're uncanny. Don't take anything they offer you, especially not food or drink. They may not be evil, but they certainly aren't good. I'd rather you were elsewhere."

"No one else would hire me," I said. "And their coin is as good as any other's."

She let me go, eventually, but not before making me swear to always wear a bit of cold iron, as proof against enchantment, and rosemary for remembrance.

I walked up to the steps of the great house, stopping for just a moment to gaze my fill at the house itself, before seeking the servant's entrance. Milord was there, standing on the steps, staring out into the bustle of the city, the carriages clattering past, the women selling apples or chestnuts or posies, the urchins begging for a coin or looking for a purse to lighten, and he did not see any of it. I knew he was milord because of the fine cut of his coat, his perfectly snowy white cravat, and the gold watch chain. He was tall and thin and pale, like all the elves, and yet he might almost have passed for a mortal. Almost. I knew when I saw him that there was something inexplicably different. He did not seem to belong to the world. He was too still, too perfectly sure of himself. Milord and milady were like that, always moving strangely, as though outside the rhythm of the world. They moved to quickly or too slowly, and I never understood them, and I think they never understood us.

I asked milord, later when I had grown bold, what he had been watching for when he stood on those steps. He told me that he had not been watching, but listening. Listening to the music of the spheres. He sounded sad when he said it, if Elves may be sad. I've heard the poets say that we no longer hear the music of the spheres because we've grown deaf through coarseness and evil. That may be. I wonder why the Elves may hear the music of the spheres when they come from another world. I wonder if they hear their own spheres. I wonder how milord could hear it over the sound of London in the morning.

They were kind, or at least, as kind as they knew how to be. I don't think they understood what we mean by kindness. We mean not just the act, the spoken word or the coin, but the intention. They never showed any passions, or at least, not as I understood them. They were never kind, or angry, or harsh. They were always calm and distant, impossible to rouse to any emotion, except, perhaps, curiosity. Milady was curious about dancing. I spoke to her of it, how we dance for pleasure, and showed her the steps. She could not understand it, though, and said she had never danced. I think, though, that we dance inside things, that we live inside our world and dance as a part of it, but the elves live outside and dance ever with it.

I asked once why they were here, and milord said that they had been cast out from their world. I did not dare to ask why.

storyness

Feb. 5th, 2009 10:10 pm
bonny_kate: (eve)
Amazingly, the story I started last week is coming along nicely. I think it is rather influenced by Pushing Daisies; all the beautiful colors. There is much food, and flowers, and dresses. And vampires. Honestly, I don't know why vampires keep ending up in my stories.

storyness

Jan. 28th, 2009 10:05 pm
bonny_kate: (eve)
I'm writing a short story, the first thing I've written since NaNo. It's going pretty well so far, and it's lovely to be writing again. Modern fairy tale retelling, of course, although this one took me quite a bit longer than usual to work out. I'm hoping to finish it in the next week or so.

huzzah!

May. 3rd, 2008 12:31 am
bonny_kate: (Default)
I just finished the story I have been working on for months, which I rather like. It is a modern retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, which is one of my favorite fairy tales. *does a happy dance around her room*
bonny_kate: (Default)
(inspired by the talk at [livejournal.com profile] faeriemaiden's livejournal about superheros)

I've been thinking about why superheros. Not just in general, but for my generation, why have superheros suddenly become popular again? There's been lot's of recent movies about superheros: Batman Begins, The Incredibles, Sky High, that new Superman movie, and the Spiderman movies, to name a few. I think I know why we want superheros.

We believe the world needs saving.

It wasn't always that way. We used to think that the world was mostly good, but there were bad people in it. We thought that the government needed change, that global warming was a major issue, and that we ought to recycle. But it never really hit us.

Not till September 11th.

Then it all came crashing down. We found that the world needed saving. We learned that life isn't fair, that good people die for no apparent reason. Oh, we'd always known it, in a strictly academic, distanced sense. But now we know. We know it in the marrow of our bones, it has slipped into the fiber of our souls, and permeated our heart. It's burned on our brains, with those images. With the image of the second plane hitting that second tower. It still doesn't feel real. We still don't want to believe it. I still can't write about it. There are no images for that image, because it is too huge, too horrible, too real. My teacher wanted us to write about it. But I couldn't, and I can't, and I don't need to. I'll remember.

We'll remember. We won't forget.

We want superheros, not because it would make it better, but because it would make it bearable. It is an evil that doesn't even seem logical. It seems to be the work of a supervillain, and so we want our superheros. And we have a desire, that we may not even admit to ourselves, that we want justice. Life isn't fair. Good people die. Innocent people die. But, there is still justice. We want superheros to remind us of this. We want living, breathing, caring superheros, who can find the villain and bring him to justice. We identify, to, with the superheros.

Before, we felt like America was a great superhero, trying to bring justice to the world, often failing, but never giving up. But then they killed our little sister, who was innocent, who didn't even know. She just wanted a normal life, and now she's dead, and our cape is gone, our mask is gone, and we feel like we only ever pretended to be a superhero. And we want, we desperately want, there to be more. There has to be more to life than this.

There has to be more to the story. Justice exists. This can't be the end.
bonny_kate: (Default)
(Note: this is all backstory. To skip directly to the sort of story, please click on the lj cut) I was going to take a nap this afternoon. I laid down with every intention of taking a nap. But then the phone rang. I got up to answer it, and found that it was an hour later. I had the unsettling feeling that I really had been asleep, because I had wisps of dreams that faded away even as I tried to grasp them. I had been skimming the surface of sleep without realizing it. Being the sort of person I am, I sketched the idea with words.

A Sketch in Words )

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bonny_kate: (Default)
Kate Saunders Britton

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