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Inspirational Reads

When Darkness Falls

February 20, 2008

There's a full lunar eclipse tonight. Being an astrogeek, I'll be out there watching it, probably through my little telescope that Santa brought me. Totality is supposed to start around 10:01 pm EST and last until about 10:51 pm. If you want to scare your children into thinking the moon has gone away and/or that you have the power of a god and can summon it back into the sky, that would be the time to do it...especially if your kids are 6 and 3 and don't really know any better. Adjust accordingly depending on your time zone.

Also, in case you care, Saturn will be the bright star to the left of the moon and Regulus to the right. I think I have that right. If you have a telescope, check out Saturn, too.

Eclipses are cool. So cool, in fact, that the climax of the action in the first book of The Hundred Kings Saga, titled King of Shadows, revolves around an eclipse ('s starting to make sense now!). Without giving away the ending, something big happens when complete darkness falls over the land, and several people die. This was actually difficult to pull off, considering my world has two moons. However, one of my moon's faces is always full while the other moon has traditional phases, like our moon. I realize this is scientifically inaccurate, but I really don't care. It serves my purpose. So there.

Well, today, while I was pouring test tubes full of deliciously impure fractions back into a 500 mL flask (and rinsing them with methanol to get all the juicy bits off the inside of the glass), one of my characters got a reprieve. As Joel has already read the story, and I don't want to give away which character just got a second life (Joel's smart and can figure it out, I'm sure), I won't reveal too much. I had, for a while, though, been thinking this over and debating whether I wanted to do it and if so, how.

Well, for some reason, inspiration struck me today while recollecting my impure fractions for further purification (or, more likely, they're going to be tossed into a flask and hammered on until the reaction proceeds to completion). I suddenly figured out how I could save this character and make it believable, work it seemlessly into the story, and how this character's role would change and impact the endgame. Awesome. I even came up with a clever nickname for the character after going through this life-altering event. Fab. You. Luss.[1]

The character also has a sister that will also get a new outlook on life. The sister will play an increased role in the endgame of the story, as well. The other night, while going through my character lists, I realized that I didn't have a lot of good female characters [2], and so I'm trying to fix that. All the while, I'm going to strive to avoid making them all the same character (like Robert Jordan or David Eddings). We'll see how I do.[3]

In the meantime, hopefully you have clear skies tonight for eclipse viewing. Skies here are supposed to cloud up during the overnight hours, and I am not happy with that. I put a work order in several weeks ago to keep tonight clear, but apparently my request has fallen on deaf ears. I blame the local weather people. Greg Fishel, I'm looking at you.

Oh, and for geeky trivia that you probably already knew...a lunar eclipse can only happen when the moon is full. So there you go.

[1] Not the character's nickname.
[2] Good as in "likeable", not good as in "not evil"
[3] Probably badly


Chemgeek said...

I told my kids if they didn't start behaving God was going to be pissed and make the moon go away.