Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Flashy Piece of Sci-Fi.

This piece was inspired after having watched Titan A.E. for the first time. If you're not familiar, it's an animated film set within the expanse of the universe which focuses on a lad and his companions' attempt to find this "ark" that is the last remnant of life on Earth. Showcased in the film was a space station that seemed to form a central hub for trade and whatnot. I drew from this idea and came up with the following.


A trade ship docked into the port of our space station today. I say “today,” though there is no really discernable way to indicate the beginning and end to a day in space. I don’t even know how many years it’s been since Earth was devastated by the invasion. Everyone was displaced after that.

People jogged, serpents slithered, and insectoids scurried to examine the product lineup. I was in no particular hurry. Nothing these alien races owned catered to my interests. I couldn’t even understand their languages.

I perused each kiosk with moderate regard. As expected, there was nothing of value. Everything was foreign to me. There were even some weapons. Utterly useless merchandise used to fuel equally useless endeavors.

I had nearly turned to leave when a kiosk in a distant corner caught my eye. Or rather, something on display caught my eye. I approached the station. It was “manned” by an insectoid. His mouth pincers clicked as his head twitched about. His antennae wobbled in my direction; he was smelling me.

What had initially drawn me to the table was a tall soccer trophy plated with golden paint. The inscription read: Regional Soccer Winners; Carlson High School; 2007. This bug had scavenged his “goods” from Earth’s ruins. I felt a little annoyed, but I knew that this bug was not to blame.

I gazed over his wares scrawled across the table. A pink case for Bubble Tape, a bent baseball card, a roll of Scotch tape with no dispenser, an empty Pepsi can, a silver chain necklace, a football helmet labeled “SSHS Panthers,” a damaged iPod, a scuffed and bent pair of glasses, a pair of ragged Adidas, and so on. All of these items would have been considered junk back in the day, but now I suppose they were a nostalgic luxury.

Then I saw one item. An item that should have never been there. Something only the gods would place before me. I saw this item and I wept. I wept and fell to my knees as I grabbed the item. The insectoid chirped with curiosity. I looked at the item in my hands through blurred eyes. Tied around the plush bear’s neck, the red ribbon with the keychain hanging from it, the engraving on the gold token.

“To our beloved son, Jimmy. May you live a fruitful and enduring life. Love, Mom and Dad.”

There was an issue with the copypasta that screwed with the formatting, hence why the opening is not double-spaced and the font is off. One paragraph pasted in large bold and another in small font. I couldn't fix this to my liking. Anyway, the piece was initially titled "Trinkets," but I was informed during workshop that this term was less applicable.


AubrieAnne said...

Titan A.E. is actually one of my favorite animated movies. I think the creators did a great job. In fact, my character "Kale" in Unclaimed Darkness was named after the "Cale" in Titan A.E.

I can see the inspiration from the movie in your piece and I think it's a great exercise in flash fiction (which I love more and more each day).

Matt Dimitroff said...

That's pretty rad. Funny how a movie can inspire people. How do you feel about fan-fiction?

Did you think it was too coincidental or gushy at the end? Was anything too vague?

AubrieAnne said...

I wrote fan fiction for a little while there. Actually, a fan fiction piece, based on a soap opera I was watching, is the only piece of writing I have ever actually finished!

Of course, I started something for Buffy, but I never finished it. I found all my fan fiction a little while ago actually. I had shoved it in a box in my basement.

I think the ending works fine. I like a bit of vagueness.

Matt Dimitroff said...

I once wrote of few episodes of a Sliders/Quantum Leap crossover. Then I later worked that idea into something similar to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the comics, not the movie), but set in America.

One concern brought up during workshop was the vague detail of the "serpents" and "insectoids." The fact that this is a flash piece brings up interesting quandaries such as how much detail is necessary.

AubrieAnne said...

I guess I can see that, but in my mind "serpents" and "insectoids" have the same amount of vagueness, but are two entirely different things! The only reason you would chose one over the other would be wether you wanted your alien-whatever to look like a snake or a bug. Besides, they're not nearly as vague as "monster/ alien/ thing/ beast/ creature/ ect." Whoever that was needs to find something better to criticize.

Matt Dimitroff said...

Elizabeth and a few others we know, haha. But I guess they were still unfamiliar with the flash fiction convention. One person commented that everything about is was perfect for the length of the piece; you get everything that's necessary.

AubrieAnne said...

I agree that you need to find a comfortable balance of vague detail and the nitty gritty. No contest there.

However, my problem is with the serpent/insectoid thing. They're on the same level. If you were to put them on a figurative vagueness chart, rating it from 1 to 10 (1 being vary vague and 10 being very sepcific) they'd both rate 7.

Am I taking this too far?

Matt Dimitroff said...

No, not at all. Your point is very valid. You often have insight that I'm not accustomed to, which leads to a whole new perspective. I think they were still looking at it from the vantage of a short story. It was suggested by Doyle that I remove that one line completely.