Blue Tyson (bluetyson) wrote,
Blue Tyson
bluetyson

Before - Greg Egan

Short Story


Number of words : 5400
Percent of complex words : 10.8
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 11.8


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 9.0
Flesch : 65.7
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.0


PEOPLE


Martin

A reporter on SciNet assignment at the Hotel Tereshkova.



Zoe

A medic at the Hotel Tereshkova. Has a brief affair with Martin and invites him on a callout.

Madame Mityashin

Hotel Tereshkova designer.

Rykov

Zoe's callout colleague.

Wittgenstein

A philosopher.

Franz

The OES team's liaision.


PLACES

Hotel Tereshkova

In orbit, the dome consists of two concentric plastic shells, with a metre of heavy water between them.

Sumatra

Part of Indonesia.

OMAF

The Orbital Monopole Accelerator Facility. Studies states before the Big Bang, currently. The accelerator itself is a wire-thin cylinder, 50x20 km. Arrays of solar panels distributed along the length feed power into the giant superconducting solenoids. The central cluster of detectors, is housed in a sphere about two hundred metres wide.

Sakharov

The OES has colleagues there.

Geneva

City in Switzerland.


VEHICLES

Orbital Transfer Bus

Moves people from one space facility to another. 15 metres long, 5 wide 1/3 of its length is fuel cells and ion drive.


CONCEPTS

New Standard Model

A theory of physics.

Femtoplasmas

Big Bang hot and small.

Four-space

In a sense, joined to the 'past side' of the Big Bang singularity. It can't be given time coordinates, so it can't belong to the 'history' of the universe.



MEDIA

Phase transition between Lorentzian and Positive Definite Metrics

A paper by one of the OMAF theoretician.


TECHNOLOGY

Monopole

A massive particle. The OMAF is using them for experimenting with in their accelerator.

Suit

Spacesuit that has partial sentience to help with operation and safety.

Hawking radiation

Given off when a micro black hole instantly decays.


ORGANISATIONS

SciNet

Martin's employer, a science media company.

OES

Orbital Emergency Service. Space paramedics.


PLOT

Martin is a journalist on a self-admitted junket to an orbital hotel to cover a conference. He meets an orbital paramedic and has a fling. Afterwards, he mentions that if she gets a callout to a job he could come along and cover it.

This eventuates, so he has to throw on his sentient spacesuit and get down to the Orbital Transfer Bus. The accident is at the OMAF. They discover it is not your garden variety accident. Whatever has happened with their monopole smashing accelerator has killed some people there, because it changed the local spacetime they eventually discover.

A scary situation, as they have to strain to avoid the same fate, and the conditions cut off communication with their base. And are they sure they are really going to get out?


4 out of 5
Tags: greg egan, particle physics, science fiction, short story
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