Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos (NP:Sequel preview)

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Chagen
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Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos (NP:Sequel preview)

Post by Chagen »

I wrote this in about an hour or two, and just finished it.

Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

I instinctively shielded my eyes as I stepped out into the cold wasteland. Achaia was not a very enjoyable place. Far away from our parent star, it was a blisteringly cold land just on the edge of human habitability. Once, my mother had told me, humanity had the power to terraform any land to their liking. Not any more. We made do with what we had.

The entire planet was frozen solid, a mishmash of mountain ranges that groaned under the endless snow piled upon them. The winds lashed at my face. It was summer, but that only meant that there was less snow piling up everywhere. I kept my pace up and covered my mouth, passing by one of the humming Oxygen-generating magitech machines nearby. The massive metal device was unsettling at first, but you quickly grew to regard it with thanks for letting you breathe easily.

Still, I often wished I could go to Nagara. I looked towards the night sky—the stars were infinite in number, but two small dots of light caught my eyes. The first was the dull red light of our second Red Dwarf, much farther away than the one we considered our “sun”. It dominated the scene. The second was a smaller pinprick nearby it—Nagara. Oh, how I had heard so many tales about it! Nagara was a place where wet rains and dense fog littered the land, where thousands of unique species and plants thrived. The only life on Achaia were vicious mammals in the underground caves fighting over geothermal energy. No plant life existed. There were many things that I wanted to see in my life, but a “tree”, as they were supposedly called, was definitely one of them. Even the coldest day on Nagara was still scorching compared to Achaia, where every day came with the chance of a blizzard forcing us into the vaults lest hypothermia kill us within minutes.

I kept walking nonetheless. There weren't too many people. I couldn't blame them, with this chilling air biting down on my skin and these howling winds whipping across my face. I scanned the area ahead, my eyes darting to a bright light atop one of the mountains nearby: my father's observatory.

The edge of my town contained a temple to our Godstar. I stopped, and mouthed a prayer, rendered inaudible by the roaring winds. I did not know if she heard everything we said. How could it, with four human-populated planets, each with millions of people? The priest attending to the temple yawned, clearly struggling to stay awake. Compared to my practical layering, his scarlet robes were incredibly ostentatious, adorned with stellar iconography relating to our star. He weakly smiled at me. “She is all we have...small and red as she is.”

I nodded. She was so far away that I could look at her scarlet flames during the day. I had heard in school that back in the mythic times of Terra, humanity could not look at Sol without destroying their own eyes. I found it hard to conceptualize—just how infinitely bright and massive was Sol?

I would almost certainly never find out. Sol was 70 thousand light years away from me.

///////////

I pushed open the door to my father's observatory with a good deal of force. Ice that had frozen in the cracks groaned and snapped as the door opened. My eyes were instantly assaulted with a showering of harsh light. I reflexively closed them and recoiled, making a cute yelp. Dammit!

Footsteps sounded nearby. I knew they were my father. “Luna? What are you doing here?” I tentatively opened my eyes again. Now I could see, though the light was still painfully bright. My father's office was lit aglow with endless computers churning information, their screens displaying an unfathomable amount of information. Beside the office, separated from it with a glass screen, was a massive telescope of hundreds of identical mirrors, each one polished to perfection. It was nothing compared to the ones I had heard about on the most important planets, but my father was proud of it. The temperature was much warmer in here. I was starting to sweat, and took off some of my layered clothing, placing it aside and silently reveling in the new-found freedom.

He himself was a tall, bearded man in his thirties (referring to Terran Years, of course. Achaia's own year was 6.235 terran years) with azure hair like me. He watched me with worried eyes. “Luna, it's nighttime. Why aren't you in bed?”

“I...dunno?” I shrugged. To be honest, I had just come here to see him. “I wanted to see you. You're always at the observatory.” I didn't look him in the face. I was never a child prone to staying out.

He smiled, but it was a weary and a forced one. Even I could tell that. “You know, I named you after the moon of Terra. She was locked to it, so that her face never strayed from it. You're the same—I can never escape you.” He ruffled my long hair. Humans were so warm compared to Achaia's blistering cold.

I smiled too, but this time was genuine. “It must be amazing...looking at all the stars.” All the computer screens around me danced with data. My father didn't do much more than direct the AI and work with the results. His smile, however, faded into a grimace so twisted I stepped back, shocked. My body felt uneasy—was it my fault for hurting him that much? What even had hurt him? “I...why are you...?”

He touched my cheek, and led me over to a nearby chair. We were both utterly silent as he pulled a small cup from a drawer and filled it with steaming tea. “Here, it's from Nagara.” I quickly took it and gulped down the burning liquid. My throat pained a little, but the warm sensation in my gut revitalized my spirits, and I couldn't help but down all of it in one gulp. When I put the cup down and looked back at him, he had a smile on once more. I felt at ease at once. I never wanted to see him pained like before.

But his smile faded once more. “Luna...being an astronomer isn't a wonderful job. I do it because I love the stars, even as they hate me. You know, we are in a war.”

I nodded stiffly.

He continued, his voice a solemn drone. “Once, during the time of the Hundred Billion Empires...” he had told this story to me countless times before, but I dared not to interrupt him. Whenever he told it, his voice took on a transcendent quality, lost in the words. He was not telling me history: he was telling me epic myth. “Mankind was great. There was no want. And us astronomers, we scanned the skies with joy and wonder. The stars were endless new places to discover and turn into Godstars, places that could be filled with things we had no conception of. Every new cataloging of a star was a chance for an exciting discovery.”

I held onto the cup, desperately grasping all of its fading warmth. I did not take my eyes off of him.

“But mankind grew too arrogant. They tried to conquer the galaxies themselves, and instead created that horrific monster, Tartarus, born from the Milky Way's center. A black hole of unimaginable mass, it cast its hand out and condemned us. At that moment, in one hundred billion different empires, the skies turned blood-red, and the seeds of corruption fell upon us. So many Godstars gave in, becoming Gravestars that hunted their former comrades, lost in bloodthirst and terrified of Tartarus' wrath. So much was lost during that war. And in the end, some of the stars escaped, erecting that barrier, Styx. But those of us on the other side are in Hades. All we can do is run for our lives and hope for salvation.

He waved his hand, and the room instantly burst into a gigantic hologram of the night sky. I could not help but stare at it in utter shock, my mouth agape. Millions upon millions of bright dots littered the projection. My stomach grew light, as I tried to grasp it all. But I couldn't. There were too many of them, glowing red and orange and blue and white and yellow and so much more.

“These are the stars that my telescope currently sees. Luna, nearly all of these are Gravestars. Stars that want to kill us. That is my job now, Luna. Us astronomers chart the skies not with wonder and amazement, but worry and anticipation. I love the stars. But they hate me, and so I watch them so that our own star may evade them and live another day.”

I looked back at him. He was staring up at the projection like I had been, but with even more awe in his eyes. They were shining with glimmering lights like stars themselves. Then the tears began streaming down his face. He did not say anything, but I got the picture. I silently stood up and grabbed my coat. As I grasped the door's cold handle, I heard him breathe deeply.

He managed to retain his composure for his final words. “It was once different, but that is long in the past. All the lights in the heavens are our enemies now.”

I opened the door and stepped into the freezing winds once more.
Last edited by Chagen on 17 Feb 2016 22:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by elemtilas »

Chagen wrote:Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos
Beautiful and haunting. For me it captures both the long ages of history long become myth while placing all that within the framework of the present. Nicely done!

So, what are Godstars and Gravestars exactly? And how do they come to be that way?

Please tell us more tales of Luna's adventures!
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by Netharía »

You need to work a lot on exposition. That was painful.
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by Micamo »

My favorite line is this part:
I reflexively closed them and recoiled, making a cute yelp. Dammit!
Why is the narrator describing her own yelping as cute? Is the "dammit!" supposed to be her cute yelp, or is it her reaction to her cute yelp? How is "dammit!" a cute yelp, and/or how does "dammit!" make sense at all as a way to react to a cute yelp?

The problems with this piece can be summed up here:
He was not telling me history: he was telling me epic myth.
You can't convince me what you're saying is epic just by saying how epic it is. You can't convince me how cute your protagonist is by just having her describe herself as cute. You can't convince me that the bad guys are threatening just by telling me how threatening they are.

The sad part is this is an easy fix: Open by showing a Gravestar devouring the world, which the protagonists may or may not escape. Start with a hook. Save the exposition for once the story is actually going somewhere.
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by Chagen »

The point of this story was to be like Micamo's short stories: short, vague, and more to give off a theme than to tell any kind of strong narrative. Also I just really wanted to use the line "All the lights in the heavens are our enemies".
Micamo wrote:My favorite line is this part:
I reflexively closed them and recoiled, making a cute yelp. Dammit!
Why is the narrator describing her own yelping as cute? Is the "dammit!" supposed to be her cute yelp, or is it her reaction to her cute yelp? How is "dammit!" a cute yelp, and/or how does "dammit!" make sense at all as a way to react to a cute yelp?
She was intending to hide from her father, watching from afar. She fucked up and got caught.
You can't convince me that the bad guys are threatening just by telling me how threatening they are.
Gravestars are sentient zombie stars turned into gods. The threat is kind of implicit.
Netharía wrote:You need to work a lot on exposition. That was painful.
Fuck you. I never listen a word your useless ass says anyway. You clearly don't like what I write on general principle due to themes and level of scale I enjoy so I'm not sure why the fuck you even come into my threads just to shit on them.
elemtilas wrote:
Chagen wrote:Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos
Beautiful and haunting. For me it captures both the long ages of history long become myth while placing all that within the framework of the present. Nicely done!

So, what are Godstars and Gravestars exactly? And how do they come to be that way?

Please tell us more tales of Luna's adventures!
Thanks. The title was one of the lines in the story that I cut out.

Both Godstars and Gravestars are stars turned into sentient gods by human hands. During the mythic time of the Hundred Billion Empires, humanity ruled the cosmos and used the Godstars to enact extremely powerful magics and make interstellar travel safe. There was no such thing as want. This came crashing down, however, when humanity tried to turn the Milky Way's black hole into a Titanstar, which resulted in the creation of Tartarus, a horrific being that despised humanity. He made millions upon millions of Godstars pledge fealty to him, his corrupting influence turning them into undead Gravestars.

Both Godstars and Gravestars can turn into humanoid forms. In these forms, they are all roughly the size of the sun, regardless of their original size. These humanoid forms are still made of burning starfire. Godstars always have the color of their spherical/original form, but Gravestars tend to have unnatural or sickly colors, being pallid or dim (Note that stars in this setting can be a wide range of colors, such as green or purple).

I guess I wont post stories here if the response is this negative. I enjoyed writing this, at least.
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by Lambuzhao »

Micamo wrote:My favorite line is this part:
I reflexively closed them and recoiled, making a cute yelp. Dammit!
Why is the narrator describing her own yelping as cute? Is the "dammit!" supposed to be her cute yelp, or is it her reaction to her cute yelp? How is "dammit!" a cute yelp, and/or how does "dammit!" make sense at all as a way to react to a cute yelp?
[/quote]

Not to jump on Micamo's bandwagon, but here's a suggestion: throw in a simile or metaphor.

Here's some impossibilities (b/c they're from other continua) that may get you thinking just the same, Chagen:
Edit: Cuter than when Sunago girls pronounce īshva in that childish ‘issa’ way that gets me every time.
Cuter than Śreyamu, the cutest girl in Pazmat.
Cuter than the cute-as-føkk artwork of Kriss Sison's adventures in Wonderfulland.
Cuter than the ‘føkk me’ way Shibayan sings her r’s against those crazy Proto-Prince arrangements.
Mebbe throw in a "Damn, I'm cute like that when I yelp".

But I might be off track.
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by Lambuzhao »

Chagen wrote:
Micamo wrote:You can't convince me that the bad guys are threatening just by telling me how threatening they are.
Gravestars are sentient zombie stars turned into gods. The threat is kind of implicit.
Be careful. Zombies aren't normally sentient, like humans are sentient. Gods aren't always threatening. In fact, they could be kind of deistic deities, that can't wait to escape the 'lower realms' of extistence and have absolutely nothing to do with those below.
Zombies may be implicitly threatening. Some gods may even be implicitly threatening. But don't rely on those crutches too much.
Explain it to us! [:D]

Both Godstars and Gravestars are stars turned into sentient gods by human hands. During the mythic time of the Hundred Billion Empires, humanity ruled the cosmos and used the Godstars to enact extremely powerful magics and make interstellar travel safe. There was no such thing as want. This came crashing down, however, when humanity tried to turn the Milky Way's black hole into a Titanstar, which resulted in the creation of Tartarus, a horrific being that despised humanity. He made millions upon millions of Godstars pledge fealty to him, his corrupting influence turning them into undead Gravestars.
By showing how it happens ,and less as handwavy exposition, this is precisely what I am talking about. [+1]

Heck, I'd be pissed too if I were created by lower beings just to be some kind of celestial crossing-guard or ferryman. :mrred:
Doink humans, doink 'em all! I pledge fealty to Tartarus, too! [}:(]
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by Lambuzhao »

Also I just really wanted to use the line "All the lights in the heavens are our enemies".
Good Xrist! Who wouldn't want to riff of a line like that‽‽ Thank the Godstars for the day, when we don't have to wrankle under the piercing infinite gazes of those prying, eavesdropping night-time lights. Burning eyes out of sight.


Not to get back to Bowie, but the line reminds me of a song of his (nooooo, not from Blackstar)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdU3OPxLq7s



Throw no shade on the haters, Chagen, and just keep on writing. To thine own self be true!
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And beware the stars of night!
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

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Micamo wrote:The problems with this piece can be summed up here:
He was not telling me history: he was telling me epic myth.
You can't convince me what you're saying is epic just by saying how epic it is. You can't convince me how cute your protagonist is by just having her describe herself as cute. You can't convince me that the bad guys are threatening just by telling me how threatening they are.
I'd agree on the last two, and also about those two being easy fixes -- a quick line or two would have cleared that up easily. Note how easy it was to explain what Godstars and Gravestars are -- just work something like that into the present narrative, perhaps where the father is telling his story, and that part will at least be cleared up. This would also clear up the problem of the bad guys being said to be a threat -- legions of star sized bad ass types whose sole aim in the universe is to wipe out mankind is a pretty blatant & explicit threat.

As for the epic bit, I certainly got a sense of some greater history lurking in the dim background of this present story. I don't think he needs to tell a whole story about a Gravestar devouring a world and the consternation of its occupants and their struggles to survive just in order to introduce a two page long snippet of narrative about Luna's sneaking into the observatory one night.

Now, I'd agree if this were but a scene in a much longer work. Clearly, a Gravestar devouring a world and the history that led up to that event could take up a whole novel. Or three. There's just no room for all that here, and I think Chagen did a very good job of condensing and hinting at that broader history.
The sad part is this is an easy fix: Open by showing a Gravestar devouring the world, which the protagonists may or may not escape. Start with a hook. Save the exposition for once the story is actually going somewhere.
Indeed, if you want to catch the fish, start with a hook -- but a hook with a delicious worm on it, not an atomic bomb set to vaporise the whole lake!
Chagen wrote:She was intending to hide from her father, watching from afar. She fucked up and got caught.
Perhaps you could sneak something to that effect into the present narrative.

As for an explanation of what God & Gravestars are, just rework this bit: Both Godstars and Gravestars are stars turned into sentient gods by human hands. During the mythic time of the Hundred Billion Empires, humanity ruled the cosmos and used the Godstars to enact extremely powerful magics and make interstellar travel safe. There was no such thing as want. This came crashing down, however, when humanity tried to turn the Milky Way's black hole into a Titanstar, which resulted in the creation of Tartarus, a horrific being that despised humanity. He made millions upon millions of Godstars pledge fealty to him, his corrupting influence turning them into undead Gravestars. and weave it into father's narrative. As I said above, you'd tidily tie up several loose ends in that regard.
I guess I wont post stories here if the response is this negative. I enjoyed writing this, at least.
Well, that's what it's all about! If you enjoy writing it, then write it! Don't fret over one other person's negativity and don't take any criticsm personally; if you are moved to write this, then this is what you need to be writing at this time. Sometimes you just have to get it out -- plenty of time to fix it & improve it or expand upon it later.
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by Dormouse559 »

Besides what's already been mentioned, I was left unsure about something: Luna has heard her father's story countless times, but she seems not to know about, or to have forgotten, how negatively he views the stars. But we know he responds viscerally to just the implication that his vocation is a positive thing. Considering how much Luna cares about his feelings, I want to know why she wouldn't avoid that kind of talk.
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

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Dormouse559 wrote:Besides what's already been mentioned, I was left unsure about something: Luna has heard her father's story countless times, but she seems not to know about, or to have forgotten, how negatively he views the stars. But we know he responds viscerally to just the implication that his vocation is a positive thing. Considering how much Luna cares about his feelings, I want to know why she wouldn't avoid that kind of talk.
Maybe she's channeling Micamo and wants to get more of the (epic) story out of her father? [;)] Kind of goad him into telling more than he has in the past.
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by alynnidalar »

The premise is intriguing, and I think this piece did a great job of hinting at a lot of things and raising many questions, without being like "and now we will stop for thirty thousand words to describe everything in excruciating detail". Sure, maybe some of the exposition was a bit on-the-nose, but that's kind of a given when you're writing a piece like this. Literally the whole point is to exposit about a world; as such, I'm a lot more forgiving of it.

If I did have a complaint on this topic, it'd be that there's not much going on besides exposition, in the way of plot. If the intent was simply "here is an introduction to the world", then I think it did pretty well for getting us engaged; if it's intended as the start to a longer work, though, then yeah, the exposition is pretty dense. For example, while the bit with the priest does show us more about the world, it's not all that relevant to this specific scene, and probably could be more smoothly incorporated elsewhere in a longer work. All comes down to what you were intended the piece to be, IMO.
Micamo wrote:Open by showing a Gravestar devouring the world, which the protagonists may or may not escape.
This is one possible way to start the story (if Chagen's intending the piece to be the introduction to a larger work), but I hardly think it's the only one. A slow burn is not a bad thing, if it's done well. And who says the story's supposed to be directly about the Gravestars destroying stuff, anyway? A story where there's constantly the threat of war and how that affects people living under that threat, even if the threat never actually comes to them directly, can be just as interesting as a story about people directly fighting this war. If that's the kind of story Chagen was going for here (a story about people who live in this world, for whom this bizarre state of affairs is "normal"), then your suggested opening wouldn't make much sense.
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by Chagen »

Dormouse559 wrote:Besides what's already been mentioned, I was left unsure about something: Luna has heard her father's story countless times, but she seems not to know about, or to have forgotten, how negatively he views the stars. But we know he responds viscerally to just the implication that his vocation is a positive thing. Considering how much Luna cares about his feelings, I want to know why she wouldn't avoid that kind of talk.
Yeah I screwed that one up. Luna's father is a pretty reclusive man, always spending time in his observatory. He simply doesn't talk to her often, and whenever he did he would hide his own feelings.

This story is definitely rough around the edges. I wrote it after several hours of flying around in Space Engine and listening to Supermoon by 65daysofstatic. I was just...in a kind of trance and wanted to write about the cosmos, so I created this in less than about 2 hours. No prewriting or anything, I just wrote. I was in such a high afterwards I didn't really think about it, I just posted it.
alynnidalar wrote:The premise is intriguing, and I think this piece did a great job of hinting at a lot of things and raising many questions, without being like "and now we will stop for thirty thousand words to describe everything in excruciating detail". Sure, maybe some of the exposition was a bit on-the-nose, but that's kind of a given when you're writing a piece like this. Literally the whole point is to exposit about a world; as such, I'm a lot more forgiving of it.

If I did have a complaint on this topic, it'd be that there's not much going on besides exposition, in the way of plot. If the intent was simply "here is an introduction to the world", then I think it did pretty well for getting us engaged; if it's intended as the start to a longer work, though, then yeah, the exposition is pretty dense. For example, while the bit with the priest does show us more about the world, it's not all that relevant to this specific scene, and probably could be more smoothly incorporated elsewhere in a longer work. All comes down to what you were intended the piece to be, IMO.
I see. Part of the thing I was trying to emulate was the feel that Micamo's short stories on this forum give off. Her short stories don't tell much narrative, but they have a sense of theme. You truly get a feel for what living in her worlds is like.

That is, for instance, why the part with the priest is there. It's to show that this isn't a standard Sci-Fi setting: this is a setting where the stars are literally worshiped as gods, actual deities who perform magical miracles. Which is an extremely important part of the setting, as this is a Science Fantasy setting where gods and youkai co-exist with spaceships and laser blasters. And where the stars themselves are actual characters.

This was not intended to be a beginning to a story, it was more like Micamo's threads where this was one of a set of short stories with different main characters. I was planning on setting a story on Nagara, for instance.
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by Micamo »

Chagen wrote:This story is definitely rough around the edges. I wrote it after several hours of flying around in Space Engine and listening to Supermoon by 65daysofstatic. I was just...in a kind of trance and wanted to write about the cosmos, so I created this in less than about 2 hours. No prewriting or anything, I just wrote.
Ok, I know I tend to be snarky and acidic when I'm criticizing your work, but realtalk now. Keep doing this. Try to do it every day, even. Every word you write makes you better as a writer, even if it sucks. *Especially* if it sucks. Every failed idea can be reworked, remixed, repurposed into something better. There's no such thing as wasted time writing, even if you don't end up showing the final product to anyone.
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by Chagen »

I am, but it's sometimes hard to get the motivation to write.

In any case, I'm trying to write another short story set in this setting. However, I want this one to be on the high end of scale, compared to LCSATC. This one would take place between an interstellar war involving several Godstars (Alpha Centauri A being one of them). The only problem is somehow describing the scale of two giant humanoids of flaming hydrogen the size of the sun beating the shit out of each other (Godstars and Gravestars fight through melee, weaponry, and ranged magical attacks).
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by Micamo »

My problem is I get so afraid of producing something awful that I end up not writing at all. It's something I'm trying to train myself out of. Don't fall into that habit in the first place.

Anyway, my suggestion: Conflict between gigantic sapient stars shouldn't look like a fist fight at larger scales. It should be something completely incomprehensible to the human imagination.

How I'd handle it is, don't try to describe the battle itself. Just describe what the humans see on the ground: Gigantic streams of colored plasma crossing the sky that outshines the stars that are battling. No indication of who's winning until the loser goes supernova and wipes out its entire solar system. Maybe, if they're lucky, the losing Godstar will get a warning out to its followers telling them to evacuate the system about 10 minutes before the rapidly expanding shell of destruction reaches them.
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Chagen
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by Chagen »

Well that's what you would do, but I'm going more for an epic fantasy/anime vibe of huge-ass beings duking it out in the cosmos. And to be honest, at that level of size it really is incomprehensible. Sirius A in this setting is a Godstar (actually a Gunstar, which is a Godstar outfitted with weapons and armor; Hellstars are the Gravestar equivalent), and indeed one of the strongest and most arrogant of them all. He has his own sword. This sword is 400,000+ miles long. That's more than fifty-five times the earth's diameter. That's a scale that is simply impossible to comprehend for normal humans.

Scale is an important part of this setting. One of the themes I want to evoke in it is "In a galaxy where billions are born and die every second, where battles take place across entire star systems and the heavens themselves do battle, what impact can but one person make?" Even today, it's hard to do a truly world-changing feat...and this is just one planet with 7 billion people.

One of the first scenes I ever thought of in this setting are an yellow Godstar (perhaps the Sun?) and a Green Gravestar duking it out from the perspective of humans on a planet. Two impossibly-huge humanoids of burning flame that took up the entire sky basically doing this (2:38 to 3:40) to each other, each impact spewing geysers of burning Hydrogen that themselves eclipsed planets. The impact of their fists shake the cosmos itself. And all these humans can do, while these astral gods strive to kill each other, is watch and pray that a stray jet of burning gas doesn't scorch their planet into a molten hellhole: because that's all it takes. Humanity can destroy planets and even entire star systems with weaponry in this setting, but the astral gods do it with immense ease. And the only thing that can kill one of them is one of their own.
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by Micamo »

You see, the whole idea of nihilism and existential dread, of being caught up in a conflict that you can't possibly hope to influence but has the potential to destroy you and everything you hold dear anyway (you know, the perspective of an ordinary civilian in an ordinary war), kiiiiinda clashes with "look how awesome it is to see all this shit get blown up." You can't say "war is horrible and there are no winners" and "war is totally badass and heroic" at the same time, it's tonally dissonant. It's like if you have Luke Skywalker blow up the death star and win a medal, then in the next movie he's struggling with PTSD and at the end he blows his brains out with his plasma pistol.
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

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Eh...? I'm not really trying to say "war is horrible and there are no winners". More like "in a world this incomprehensibly massive, people still strive to make a change". The setting may be absurdly huge, but even then, there are explorers looking for lost ruins on planets whose terraforming machines have malfunctioned, reverting them into hostile deathworlds. There are billions upon billions of soldiers who fight, either to free humanity from Tartarus or enslave it to him. There are politicians, engineers, farmers, and so much more. Alone, they are nothing. But even they can enact some small change, and when these changes pile up they can turn the fate of the cosmos in their favor. And of course, there are those who strive to be known across thousands of worlds, but to gain that recognition that epic requires acts of a similarly epic scale...

The whole "holy shit this place is huge and I'm just one man/woman" thing is a call to challenge, not a depressing fact of existence in this setting.

To be honest, the themes for this setting haven't been locked down fully yet.
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Re: Like Candles Strewn Across the Cosmos

Post by Thrice Xandvii »

I feel like the story above has 0% in common with what you explained about the fight and comparing it to that travesty of repetitive super-punches game.

I mean, I actually liked your above story... I just can't see how it could possibly sit alongside those "epic" battle sequences you described. They just seem impossibly dissonant with each other.
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