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Unread by CarmenVeloso

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Words by cinnarolls


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February 28, 2011
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×
Jane and Ellis floated parallel to one another across the vast canvas of space, eyeing the marble-like planets that slowly crept past them. Their skin reflected the starlight with a dull orange sheen. Ellis had called it 'planet gazing,' an activity he apparently thought suitable for a date.

"Do you see that one below us?" Ellis said, pointing to a round blue mass.

Jane shrugged.

"Isn't it beautiful?" he asked. "I'll bet it's beautiful on the surface, too. Like the way the dust begins to spiral when a star is forming."

"Something like that," Jane said. She didn't understand his excitement. Planets were nothing interesting. They were just stars without the fire; black holes without the absence of color; asteroids with an atmosphere. They were just specks of light that littered the sky. The only remotely interesting thing she knew about planets was that the gas in their atmosphere were extremely lethal. Big whoop, she thought. Floating, atmospheric rocks of death. Ellis sure knew how to impress a girl.

"I've read about how gravity works differently down there," Ellis said. "You wouldn't be weightless anymore. You'd have to rely on your muscles to get around. You'd have to pry yourself off the ground and," he paused, thinking. "walk. That's what it was called. 'Walking.'"

Jane was skeptical. "But how would you survive the gases?"

He hesitated. "With hazmat suits?"

"We'd only need suits?"

"And a place to live, I guess. But we could send some terranauts down there and have them build some pods or something," he said.

Jane wasn't impressed. So planets were atmospheric rocks of death that they could live on. So what? She was starting to think Ellis was a fool with his head stuck in a childhood fantasy.

"Would that really be worth it?" she asked. "It seems like you'd be constantly working to keep the nature out. Seems like it would be a pain."

"You really think so?" Ellis said. "I think life'd be much better down there."

"In an environment that could kill you?"

He nodded. "It's beautiful down there. There are mountains of rock that would trace the sky; oceans of hydrogen that would reflect the starlight. Down there, the atmosphere would affect the spectrum of light. There would be color everywhere—sunlight alone would be more magnificent down there than we've ever seen. And with that kind of beauty, our petty problems would disappear. We'd stop being so careless and arrogant down there. We wouldn't fight over money and resources and religion down there. We'd be too distracted by the beauty of it all. We'd finally come together."

Jane felt her disapproval fading. It was a wonderful vision, a world without conflict. "Maybe you're right," she said.

"Maybe?" Ellis asked. "Wouldn't you be stunned by that kind of beauty?"

"Too bad it's only a dream," she said.

Ellis wrapped an arm around her, and to her surprise, she welcomed it.

"Just you wait," he said. "Someday we'll walk down there."
Another attempt at flash fiction. I enjoyed writing this one a bit more than the last, but I'm still hazy on whether I like the finished product or not.

This is the last story I'll set in space for a while, I promise. I've just had my head in the stars for the last couple of days. No clue why.

As usual, any comments or criticism is welcomed.

EDIT 10/26/11: Oh, man. Semi colons everywhere. My bad.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-12-07
Someday by ~Kiresg is a Bradbury-esque nod to the golden age of science fiction. ( Featured by Nichrysalis )
:iconbloodshotink:
BloodshotInk Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
Hey there I featured this piece here and just thought I'd let you know.

Thanks!
Reply
:iconnawkaman:
nawkaman Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012
Absolutely loved this. It does very much remind me of Ray Bradbury. Thank you.
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed it.
Reply
:iconprophecycake:
ProphecyCake Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012
This one really hits home with me. Thanks so much.
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Thanks for the kind words!
Reply
:iconfirstsarge:
FirstSarge Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Professional Writer
Well done, good piece. Well written, thought provoking and entertaining.

One issue though. If the gasses are liquid and produce oceans, there won't be an atmosphere to difuse light.
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012   Writer
Oh, Roi. Always keeping me down to earth.

Of course, you're right. I need to touch this piece up a bit. Thanks for the keen eye and the kind words.
Reply
:iconfirstsarge:
FirstSarge Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Professional Writer
You are welcome, however, when I wrote made that comment last night, I did not take into consideration the temperatures at which other gasses liquify. You may very well have hydrogen oceans and still maintain a gaseous atmosphere.

I do think that with a fine story such as yours, nitpicking over minor details really hones what is already a damn entertaining story. :D
Reply
:iconmagpie-poet:
magpie-poet Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012
Nice snap, I love hwo much tone you get in such a short piece.
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Appreciate the kind words.
Reply
:iconaquamaroonranger:
AquaMaroonRanger Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Absolutely Beautiful
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Thanks much for the kind words.
Reply
:iconeuxiom:
Euxiom Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012
Ahahaha wow. That's such a fantastic point. Flipping the convention that taking to the stars could change thing, people up there think landing would solve it all.

Great little piece.
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Thanks for the kind words.
Reply
:iconeuxiom:
Euxiom Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012
You're welcome :)
Reply
:iconcatelee2u:
catelee2u Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Great!
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Thanks!
Reply
:iconnnyornieorknee:
NnyorNieorKnee Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I loved it, I really did. Ironic, but nonetheless I enjoyed it. X3 Awesome job~
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Many thanks. Appreciate the kind words.
Reply
:iconskattered-remains:
skattered-remains Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I this concept and the way it's written - flawless! Congrats on the DD!
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Thanks! Glad you liked it.
Reply
:iconobsidian-nightfall:
Obsidian-Nightfall Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Student Writer
Listen to Black Sabbath's Planet Caravan.
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Great tune. I'm a little ashamed for never hearing it until now. Thanks for sharing.

Can't help but wonder whether Sabbath was more successful with Planet Caravan than I was with this piece. Then again, who am I kidding? There's no kick ass guitar solos in my story.
Reply
:icon0hgravity:
0hgravity Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
An interesting look at the age old "the grass is always greener." Great opening line. I enjoyed reading :)
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Glad you liked my take on it. Thanks for reading.
Reply
:iconkendrakickz0220:
KendraKickz0220 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012
I didn't notice your semicolons everywhere. And trust me, that stuff usually grates my nerves and jumps out at me (English major, of copy writing and editing, so it's my job), so that means that it still flowed very nicely. :)

Congrats on the DailyDeviation. Typically I don't ever find or read stories like this, so I rely on DailyDeviations to bring them to the forefront of DeviantArt.

I love the space setting. I love outer space. It's funny, Ellis' ideas about living on a planet are the same ideas I have for living in space. The only issue I would have is muscle deterioration, making returning to Earth very difficult.

I see this as being set thousands of years in the future. Or a few thousand lightyears in the past, or in a totally different solar system. Each works out in it's own way. I like that you left us to draw some of our own conclusions. :D

Anyway, congrats once again and I hope you have a good day and enjoy all the praise and feedback I'm sure you'll be getting! :D
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Thanks for the kind words. There were still quite a few, but everyone's most critical of their own work I suppose.

Glad you enjoyed the story. I think ambiguity and short sci-fi stories go hand in hand, so it's great to know the piece left you wondering.

And I'm definitely enjoying the praise.
Reply
:iconnyiana-sama:
Nyiana-sama Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012
:la: Congrats on the daily deviation!
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Thanks!
Reply
:iconnyiana-sama:
Nyiana-sama Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012
:huggle: You're welcome!
Reply
:iconbrassteeth:
brassteeth Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012
Solid dialogue work. Congratulations on your D.D!
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Much appreciated. Thanks for reading.
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Congrats on the well deserved DD! :heart:
Have a nice day! : )
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Thanks!
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
My pleasure :happybounce:
Reply
:iconsigma-echo-seven:
Sigma-Echo-Seven Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Student Writer
This is an excellent tribute to that classic kind of golden-age science fiction that really made one think. Well done!
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012   Writer
I had Bradbury on the brain when I wrote this. Much appreciated.
Reply
:iconstealthyninja21:
stealthyninja21 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Student General Artist
Yeah, this reminds me of Bradbury, I like how it was set in space and I can really see jane and Ellis discussing this..in space. XD nice descriptiv
Reply
:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012   Writer
Appreciate it. It's pretty flattering to be likened to such an important name.
Reply
:iconhalatia:
Halatia Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2011  Professional Writer
I really like the flavor of the piece; it captures a lot for being so short.

Small Things

<<"Isn't it beautiful?" he asked. "I'll bet it's beautiful on the surface, too. Like the way the dust begins to spiral when a star is forming.">>

I’m not entirely certain what this bit of dialogue means. Like, the surface looks like the dust spiraling? Or that dust spiraling is also beautiful?

<<< You'd have to pry yourself off the ground and," he paused, thinking. "walk.” >>

I absolutely love this bit.

<<Jane wasn't impressed.>>

I know it’s flash fiction so there isn’t a lot of descriptive wiggle room, but phrases like this pop a lot. How</> does she show she’s unimpressed? Just changing this sentence to something that employs and action verb (Jane felt her toes start to curl, the first sign that she was truly getting bored) would go a long way to paint a picture.

Tone

<<"Something like that," Jane said. She didn't understand his excitement. Planets were nothing interesting. They were just stars without the fire; black holes without the absence of color; asteroids with an atmosphere. They were just specks of light that littered the sky. The only remotely interesting thing she knew about planets was that the gas in their atmosphere were extremely lethal.>>

I feel like there is a tone imbalance here. In the majority of her dialogue/internal thoughts, the words and phrasing is short and colloquial, making her sound like a teenage girl (which, I assume, she is). But the second/third sentences make a departure from that into something that is almost poetic (like something Ellis would think/say). It sticks out as at odds with her character, like the narrator putting words in her head that aren’t her own, or at least phrasing them in a way that she would think of doing. I would take another look at these bits to help even out the character’s voice, both internal and external.

Pacing

Again, I know it’s flash fiction, but I think there is some room to space things out a bit, especially with the help of some physical action. Yes, they’re floating in space, but are they moving in any way? The first bit of movement we see is Ellis moving to put an arm around her shoulder. By having some active descriptions to break up the narrative even a little might help draw the reader in.

Comparison

What I would really like to see is juxtaposition of where they are to what they are looking at. Not necessarily culturally speaking (I like the small monologue that Ellis makes as a standalone commentary on social issues), but physically. What do they normally see if mountains would be so beautiful—and so beautiful that it change’s Jane’s opinion. I feel like this could be built with almost throw away lines by Jane who is in the perfect position to have a critical mindset (as she’s peeved with this whole planet-gazing thing). She thinks about liking black holes and stars, but mountains can really catch her attention, especially after being anti-nature at the beginning? It just seemed a little inconsistent, especially as a pivot point for the character. I think I need more of their world/universe visually in order to really buy the switch out in the end.
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:iconhalatia:
Halatia Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2011  Professional Writer
booooooooooooo italics!
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:iconlorenmark:
lorenmark Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011
This is superb
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:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2011   Writer
Thanks very much.
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2011   Writer
I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this. I caught one typo at the end 'Ellis wrapped an(d) arm around her', but other than that the writing is quite tight. There's a pretty good balance of dialogue and descriptive narration, though I don't have any visual at all of the main characters. Their language and behaviour suggests human with the exception of their placement in space. Perhaps some far future humans come back to gaze from the heavens at their old stomping ground?

In any event - it's a very good piece of writing.
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:iconkiresg:
Kiresg Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011   Writer
Thanks very much for the kind words.
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