Tag Archives: giant

Atlas Snoozed

Jimmy rushed to the airport from his night shift at the I-20 overpass. He took the architecture entrance, trying not to step on any early morning commuters in his haste.

“About friggin’ time,” Tommy muttered, the third shift A15 pillar on Concourse D. They carefully switched places. Pillaring wasn’t exciting, but it was steady work for those cursed to be 100 feet tall.

Jimmy awoke to tiny screams. He was on his knees, the roof sagging above him. He’d smashed the Gate 24 United counter. Again.

He ordered a ventimila* from Starbucks. This was going to be a long day.

 

*ventimila: 20,000 ounces (about 156 gallons)


Code Red – Friday Fictioneers

copyright Marie Gail Stratford

copyright Marie Gail Stratford

Code Red

When you build your civilization on the chin of a sleeping giant, certain precautions are essential. The citizens of Menton all remembered the Twitch of ’62 and the Slight Yawn of ’78. Now, there were rumblings far below that portended something greater, possibly even a belch.

“Upgrade to code red,” the security officer said. The soldiers carried the luminous signboard around Mouth Rift and propped it against the giant’s nose.

A moment later, gale force winds started rushing into the nostrils. Sneeze sirens blared.

“What did you do?” the officer yelled.

“Nothing! Just used a new paint called Cayenne Red.”

 


My Father is Dying in the Desert

 

My Father is Dying in the Desert

The Stone Emperor was dying. It was just the two of us now, wandering across the burning expanse of desert, towards the far-off dream of the ocean. I staggered along in his shadow as he towered over me. The sand trembled as he walked—one step for every fifty of my own.

“I must stop.” He sank down slowly onto the sand. More rocky scales fell from his skin; more of his molten blood oozed out.

“We are almost to the ocean, Father!” I shouted up to him. Ever since he had adopted me when I was little, I had ridden on his high, craggy shoulder, but not now. Now he literally glowed as his life’s magma seeped out through a thousand cracks. Humans could not know the diseases that afflicted a rock giant.

“This is the end,” he rumbled. “You have been a good son, more faithful than any of my own strata. Stay with me, until the end.”

The sun went down slowly and although the air was cold, the escaping life of my father kept me warm.

“God in heaven,” I prayed. “Keep him alive until we reach the ocean.”

During the night, I awoke to rain falling, hissing and spitting as it cooled and healed the Stone Emperor’s skin, sealing in his heat. God had not brought us to the ocean; he had brought the ocean to us in the desert.


Old Rusty – Friday Fictioneers

copyright Jennifer Pendergast

copyright Jennifer Pendergast

Old Rusty

Old Rusty went to heaven yesterday. A man couldn’t have asked for a better giant bee companion.

It wasn’t just his honey-making superpowers. That paid the bills, but he was also a real sweety—the way he liked getting scratched behind the wings and how he got all excited about the annual apiary box social.

I can see him now on one of his grizzly hunting trips. He wouldn’t kill ‘em; just play with them a while. Nobody could make a grizzly wet itself in terror as fast as Rusty.

Somehow, a dog just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

 


Why are we the size we are?

What an odd question. Also, what does it have to do with fiction? For me, at least, it’s important for world building. Right now, I’m creating a huge and detailed world, probably to set stories in later (I posted a map of one tiny section of it before). When making up completely new creatures, it is possible to change things that we think of as fundamental, like having limbs, or a central brain, or only existing in the physical world. Anything we can conceive of, we can create in a fictional world.

For instance, in my world there are intelligent creatures several inches high and other 350 feet high. I don’t have to explain how that’s possible, since it’s just fiction, but that got me thinking: why are we the size we are? Could we be just like we are now, except the size of ants, or the size of mountains? Here are my thoughts on the subject.

Why it would be harder to be bigger

giant

Being a little bigger is not that hard. Elephants are pretty big, although compared to the tallest living thing on earth, a 380-foot redwood, they’re tiny. Trees have it easier though, since they have a rigid cell structure, they go straight up, and they don’t move. But could we ever be that tall? One problem is the weight. We would need to have incredibly strong bones to hold ourselves up if we weighed 100 tons or so. A couple ways around this would be to be mostly gaseous, like balloon people, to live on a smaller planet with less gravity or have bodies built of some insanely strong material, like titanium-alloy lattice or something.

Another problem with being very large is the time it would takes nerve signals to travel to the extremities. From what I have found (correct me if I’m wrong), nerve impulses travel about 100 meters, or 330 feet per second. So, if we were 350 feet tall and stepped on a nail, it would take a whole second for us to realize it. That’s kind of hard thing to live with, always being one step behind the rest of your body. This could be overcome possibly by having some other way of sending nerve impulses or to have a diffused brain, or even several brains that could handle various parts of the body. In any case, we would have to be radically different in design if we were going to be super huge.

Why it would be harder to be smaller

Honey-I-Shrunk-the-Kids

If only we could ride ants and sleep in a Lego block

Well, how about being smaller? Could we be the size of ants and still be just as intelligent as we are now? The problem with being smaller is that we would have smaller brains. Perhaps if our brains worked differently, they could be much smaller, but as things are now, there is a reason why we are so much smarter than insects.

Another issues about getting very small is the loss of resolution. It’s like if you zoom in on a picture; at some point it will start to pixelate, because as the size of the whole picture gets closer to the size of the pixels, it is harder to show detail.

Resolution collage

One of my favorite mugs.

In the picture above, the number of pixels is huge, so even after zooming in three times, you can only just begin to see them. For living things, the things we are made of–atoms–are insanely small, so we would have to be pretty small before we started to lose complexity, but the point is, that we could not be just any size and still be intelligent human beings. Look at what a car looks like when it’s made of individual atoms, compared to a real car.

The molecular car image courtesy of Wired.

The molecular car image courtesy of Wired.

Yeah, there’s no comparison, in terms of complexity. In the same way, we could not be very tiny and still be us. At what size that loss of complexity would start, I’m not sure. If you have any idea, let me know.

So…that’s what I think about all day. I’m not an expert on this sort of thing; I just like to think about it. If you have any thoughts, please share them in the comments.


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