The moon cracked.

I had a nightmare once where I saw the moon crack in half. There was this horrible sudden feeling of lightness, like the ground was dropping out from under me, and then the moon lurched from side to side and broke.1 I remember talking to a friend or two in college about the possibility that one could throw a baseball at a system of ultra-dense objects (stars or black holes or such) with just the right trajectory for it to get slingshotted back out of the system at a substantial fraction of the speed of light, which would give it an apparent (relativistic) mass of what we decided would be a metric fuckton2 and a velocity that we just mentioned and, if it were headed our way, our ability to see it coming would be just about nil.3 In any case, tidal disruption would totally wreck the weather and proceed to destroy all life.

I’ve tried to write a story about this kind of thing several times. Another one of my favorite scenarios has our solar system spotlighted by a slowly nutating4 beam of radiation emitted from the pole of a nearby collapsing star that builds up a large enough imbalance of electrical charges between the earth and the moon that we get lightning-like static discharge between them whenever they line up with the star (not that it would ever be a good idea to be outside when the star was in the sky anyway).

Frankly, it hardly matters how the earth is being destroyed.5 The plot is always how humanity deals with the fact that the earth is being wiped clean of life over the course of a year or so in a non-preventable way that shows exactly how much God seems to hate us. The other part of the plot is a panicked and rushed attempt to archive as much of us as possible in some meaningful way before the end comes–given that five or ten years of steady baking is guaranteed to vaporize all the oceans and re-melt the earth’s crust. Not that nearby space will be any safer if anyone is thinking of escaping via rocketry, as the earth’s magnetosphere is actually providing a limited amount of protection.

I’ve done sketches for this story from a bunch of different angles–from the viewpoint of a lottery-winner being moved to an underground bunker, from the viewpoint of someone (a number of someones, even) in a not-quite-so-successful ark project…. I keep floundering. A believable drawn-out end to the world is a really big story with, at least for part of it, a cast of seven billion characters. Finding a few as tools to tell the story and then likely killing off everyone regardless of how much I like them, slowly, over the course of a few hundred pages–well, I expect I’ll need frequent breaks and/or therapy and/or a much larger liquor budget.

It may turn out that the whole storyline is a bit too grim to immerse myself in until I find a better happy place to visit, so to speak.


1 I understand that this is part of the backstory of Thundarr the Barbarian. Shut up. It could happen.
2 Work with me here. Deca-, Kilo-, Mega-, Giga-, Tera-, Peta-, Exa-, … Fuck-.
3 Absolutely nil to see it directly. If we were actively looking at specific objects in the Oort cloud at the time of the fastball’s approach, we might see them getting yanked and/or slung away with maybe an hour or two’s warning. If it came at us from the side away from the sun.
4 Not a typo. Definition here.
5 …though I do like the mental picture of humongous lightning bolts from the moon. Misery loves company.

May 6, 2007 · by xalieri · Posted in Everything Else  


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