Jan. 16th, 2011

zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
Right at the moment, of course, the sky is bright, bright blue with a few scattered white clouds.

But you all know that's not what I meant. And thank you for the ideas yesterday. I always feel guilty when I ask for ideas and then say “No, that's wrong, I don't like that, no." But of course they're all helpful even when they are 'wrong', and working out why they won't work for me is useful too.

I do want to avoid fantasy, and thus gods; and my sisters awesome suggestion last night that the sky might host a plague, and the plague might leave survivors photosensitive, would have perfectly given me the arbitrary quality that I need, but at the cost of making the premises seem arbitrary too.

But Caper_est's suggestion that the pieces of sky could have some useful properties too – well, I already knew that, but as I was brushing my teeth and thinking about things from an entirely different angle I realised I had a solution.

Because the primary property of sky is that it protects from the sunlight. Even when it is lying on the ground it should still do this. So yes, people are going to learn how to make windows out of it to protect themselves. But in the meantime as it lies on the ground, it's going to be sheltering at least some small portions of the biosphere – patches of grass for example. Ants. Cockroaches. Larger drifts of it might shelter a lucky cat, or a very lucky human.

The only question left was what do these pieces of sky look like. At first I thought they'd be like glass, but you'd think the sky would be thicker than that. I was pondering Styrofoam, or something softer. But that didn't seem right either.So I chatted with my sister again today. She agreed that Styrofoam seems too soft and suggested shale instead. So it's composed of overlapping layers of something like glass and when it shatters it falls in flakes and sheets. It's light – I feel that sky should be able to float on water – but extremely sharp-edged, So it cuts when it falls: power lines, people. But being light it easily slowed down so it might cut through a roof but then lie in the roof space. Winds will affect where it goes too so it will lie thinner in some areas and thicker in others. On average, maybe a foot deep, so most people and most trees will be too high to benefit. But here and there, a sheet larger than usual might fall on the low-lying forest and last just long enough to break the fall of other sheets so some patch of forest can even survive.

And then humans figure out how to make it into windows and glass houses and so forth...

I think (as soon as I've finished my short stories in progress) I may be ready to start this novel.

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zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
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