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 Book of Dreams 2e: SF and Speculative Fiction Short Stories

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Victor D. Lopez
Four Star Member
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Victor D. Lopez

Number of posts : 984
Registration date : 2012-02-01
Location : New York

Book of Dreams 2e: SF and Speculative Fiction Short Stories Empty
PostSubject: Book of Dreams 2e: SF and Speculative Fiction Short Stories   Book of Dreams 2e: SF and Speculative Fiction Short Stories EmptyTue Dec 11, 2012 1:02 pm

The second edition of my Book of Dreams was published last month and includes three new short stories in addition to the five that appeared in the first edition. Although I cannot link to one of the new stories directly, below is an excerpt from a new short story from this edition.


_________________________________________________________

End of Days (Excerpted from Book of Dreams Second Edition: Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories
(C) 2012 Victor D. Lopez)

God spoke to me last night. No, I am not schizophrenic or a Jesus freak. Nor am I a
conspiracy theorist (well, except for JFK’s assassination, of course--unless
the principles of quantum mechanics somehow apply to bullets fired from book
depositories with inhuman rapidity to perform a dance macabre through the
bodies of governors before striking their intended target), but I know
precisely the series of events that will result in the end of the world and
will eventually give birth to a new universe. It came to me in a dream. No,
really, it did.


It all started pretty much like a bad Hollywood disaster flick (sorry, I know
that’s redundant) with well funded mad scientists doing what comes natural in
fiction as well as in fact. “Build us a big Hadron Supercollider, and we’ll
find the elusive Higgs boson God particle. Maybe we’ll even come up with a
unified theory that incorporates the pesky behavior of subatomic particles and
allows us to demystify quantum mechanics once and for all.” It turns out, not surprising
to anyone, other than scientists of course, that a little knowledge is a
dangerous thing, and that allowing children to play unsupervised in a chemistry
lab or with a super-duper, neat-o particle accelerator is not such a good thing
after all. Who’d have thunk it?


The first hint that something was just a bit off-kilter came in the form of
assurances by project scientists delivered with the smug expressions and thinly
veiled contempt with which they usually approach any communication with the
unwashed masses, that yes, miniature black holes could probably be created by
subatomic particles accelerated at nearly light speed through a 17-mile
circular particle accelerator and forced to collide in a massive release of
energy, but such black holes would quickly dissipate. “No,” they smiled
complacently, “there is absolutely no danger in these experiments.”


The second hint of a problem (and by hint I mean claxons going off, red lights
flashing, and Robby the Robot’s accordion arms waving wildly while proclaiming
“danger, Will Robinson!”) came when the Hadron Supercollider suffered some
unspecified problems that caused it to be shut down for months on end after its
first full-scale test. When the 17-mile supercollider was once again brought
back on line, headlines proclaimed the countdown would begin again for the end
of the world. Smile, snicker, hah-hah. What was not reported was the actual
reason for the shutdown, since no one, including the geniuses running the
experiments, knew the real cause: a miniature black hole that did not quickly
dissipate in the lab as expected and caused a nearly catastrophic shutdown as
it drilled an invisible hole a few molecules wide, eagerly sucking up anything
that crossed its tiny event horizon, as it accelerated slowly but inexorably
downward, worming its way through the containment chamber, rapidly vacuuming
vital bits of the temperamental equipment on its way to the center of the
earth.


Not to worry, though, it is still relatively small despite its voracious,
unquenchable appetite, though it is exponentially increasing its mass as it
swings like a pendulum through the earth’s core and beyond it in decreasing
arcs that will eventually settle it at the earth’s core. It will be many months
and perhaps years before we begin to feel the cataclysmic seismic effects of
its inexorable violation of the earth’s core, and longer still before the
entire planet and every living thing in it is sucked into its vortex, followed
thereafter by the moon, and then the outer planets as the growing black hole
continues its feeding frenzy, eventually consuming the entire solar system and
Sol itself.


But that would be many years, perhaps millennia, in the future given the diminutive
size of the black hole at present. And scientists still believe that the
equipment failure was unrelated to its actual cause since the unreported black
hole the initial full-scale test produced dissipated soon after its formation
according to their classified reports. Therefore, the supercollider was
repaired, and billions or Euros later, the scientists have their plaything once
more and science is free to continue its happy march towards oblivion. If it
ended here, we’d have little to worry about in the short term, other than
perhaps ever-increasing seismic activity. Even the hungriest little black hole
needs a great deal of time to ingest a planet from the inside out, and if later
laboratory-created black holes don’t ingest other vital pieces of sensitive
equipment on their way to joining their older brother down the rabbit hole in
their inexorable journey to swallow our blue planet, we’d probably kill off our
species through war, pestilence, famine or other forms of humanity’s endless
capacity for galloping stupidity long before daddy’s and mommy’s little
darlings consumed the world.


If my prescient dream had ended there, I’d shake it off with a smile and go about
my day without another thought, compartmentalizing the certain knowledge of
future doom in the nether regions of my mind, right next to the knowledge of
the unsustainability of our ballooning federal and state deficits and the
possibility of an asteroid hit that would once again eradicate most plant and
animal life on this planet.

Unfortunately, scientists are not the only ones who like to play God. They are just more
tragic and contemptible in their efforts at doing so because they should know
better. They are like amoebas attempting to extrapolate the secrets of the
universe by examining in minutest detail the drop of fetid swamp water atop a
floating leaf that they inhabit. In a very real sense, scientists are among the
smartest amoebas, all hail their boundless wisdom! But others like to play in
the hedonistic God sandbox, too. And here is where my prescient dream grows
infinitely darker.


It so happens that terrorists pay attention to science. Science, after all,
brought us TNT, the A-bomb, the H-bomb, weaponized anthrax and lots of other
cool goodies that are wonderful additions to the terrorists' toolkits. As it
happens, one particularly well funded, well connected group in the Middle East
thinks it a grand idea to blow Israel off the face of the earth before that
even better funded, and better connected state has the chance to do the same to
them or to their proxy states. They have acquired a gaggle of disaffected,
under-employed Russian physicists and funded them generously to come up with
“outside-the-box” ideas for a doomsday device on the cheap. They did not have
17-mile supercolliders to play with, and Jihadist physicists are a rare breed.
But not to worry, they had something better: money, lots of it, and the ability
to entice scientists who view themselves above pedantic, bourgeois notions of
ethics and for whom science is the only religion.


Undaunted by any notions of right and wrong and guided by the simple principle that “if
it can be done, it must be done,” these brilliant men and women soon developed
a working experiment that presented an elegant solution that their benefactors
immediately approved. . . .
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alj
Five Star Member
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alj

Number of posts : 9633
Registration date : 2008-12-05
Age : 76
Location : San Antonio

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PostSubject: Re: Book of Dreams 2e: SF and Speculative Fiction Short Stories   Book of Dreams 2e: SF and Speculative Fiction Short Stories EmptyTue Dec 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Oh, wow, do I like your voice.

I'm going to read this one over a bit before I make more comments.

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Victor D. Lopez
Four Star Member
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Victor D. Lopez

Number of posts : 984
Registration date : 2012-02-01
Location : New York

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PostSubject: Re: Book of Dreams 2e: SF and Speculative Fiction Short Stories   Book of Dreams 2e: SF and Speculative Fiction Short Stories EmptyTue Dec 11, 2012 3:06 pm

Thanks Ann,

Be warned that the tone changes in the second half of the story as the tongue is slowly removed from the cheek and the lightness dissipates and is replaced by a darker voice that reflects the seriousness of the end of days scenario as terrorists find a way to willfully accelerate what scientists started with their innocent arrogance.

When I asked my wife to read the first draft of this story, her reaction surprised me. She was angry. She hated the story, and was none too fond of me for lulling her with that light, irreverent and less than fully serious tone down the rabbit hole to a very different place than she originally thought the story was headed. It was my own metaphorical black hole that attracted her, I suspect, to what she thought would be a lighthearted story about the foolishness and arrogance of scientists and dragged her to a very dark place with no hope or escape and no possibility of a happy ending. It was the first time she was actually angered by something I've written. My amusement at her reaction did not help her love the story--or its writer--any more.

I did make some minor changes to the story to remove some of the more oppressive elements that might needlessly disturb other readers. She has not re-read the finished product and I doubt she ever will. I wonder what critics might say of a writer who alienates his own wife? As for me, it is one of my favorite stories not only because it deals with what I believe to be a novel theory of cosmology that I've intuited and have believed for some time now could explain the birth and future death of our universe--to say nothing of countless others--but also because it can serve as a cautionary tale about the limits of our understanding and the danger of playing with things we know so very little about.


Last edited by Victor D. Lopez on Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Abe F. March
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Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10697
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

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PostSubject: Re: Book of Dreams 2e: SF and Speculative Fiction Short Stories   Book of Dreams 2e: SF and Speculative Fiction Short Stories EmptyTue Dec 11, 2012 11:06 pm

Very interesting, Victor. Great insight with this story.
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Victor D. Lopez
Four Star Member
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Victor D. Lopez

Number of posts : 984
Registration date : 2012-02-01
Location : New York

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PostSubject: Re: Book of Dreams 2e: SF and Speculative Fiction Short Stories   Book of Dreams 2e: SF and Speculative Fiction Short Stories EmptyWed Dec 12, 2012 8:10 pm

Thanks, Abe.
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