Main Fiction: “This Villain You Must Create” by Carlie St. George 06:00
Granite killed Mr. Malevolence on a Tuesday. In his defense, Mr. Malevolence had been trying to destroy the entire world at the time.
Carlie is a writer, a pop culture geek, a math class survivor, and a silly hat enthusiast. She’s a 2012 graduate of Clarion West Writer’s Workshop.
She also writes rather lengthy film critiques on My Geek Blasphemy, each dosed with a healthy pinch of snark and (hopefully) a dash of awesome.
Narrator: Adam Pracht
Adam is assistant editor of StarShipSofa, usually throwing it all together just in time. He works full time as public relations coordinator for McPherson College in Kansas. He also writes short genre fiction, does the odd narration (in all senses of the word odd) and was a finalist in the Stuff You Should Know podcast horror fiction contest.
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Obsidian is not “stone.” It is volcanic *glass* in the most literal sense of the word for the familiar substance. When whacked with another hard object, such as a chunk of granite, it shatters to some extent since it’s brittle. It doesn’t stand up to the impact. Flakes come off, some of which have edges so sharp that they are superior cutting devices to the best steel scalpels and therefore sometimes used in delicate surgery. They therefore were among the best raw material for the tools of early humans.
After her arm was shattered off, she *sank* to the floor. “Sunk” has other uses.
I forget what set me off early on in the story. I do know I dislike having negatory responses and responding with truncated bits of corrective criticism. I prefer praising the stuff I like.
Sorry this is so limited and technical, but it’s all I have to say right now. I wish the author had researched the details a little better.
I see this argument and irrelevant and overly pedantic to the story’s context.
I will grant that in the technical sense, you’re correct, given that as obsidian is not crystalline in structure, it’s not technically a “mineral,” which is part of the proper definition of “stone.”
But given that we’re residing in a superhero universe, it seems odd that the specific molecular structure of obsidian should be bothersome, rather than the specifics of how a woman could turn her /arm/ into it.
This little mix-up bothered me not at all.
Sank vs. Sunk – technically you’re correct. Sank is past tense (she sank). Sunk is past perfect (she had sunk). Given that it’s a helping verb away from being correct, I can forgive Carlie this one error in a well-told tale.
Thank you. You’re basically right, of course. It’s just that I yearn for my speculative fiction authors to get their science correct (when it’s not being replaced by fantasy).
Similarly, I wish for narrators to have prepared by learning the common pronunciation of all the words in their stories. On the one hand, those who don’t know the pronunciation of everything may be admired, because they’ve been reading more than they’ve been talking. On the other hand, my listening gets interrupted by spending some seconds translating a word instead of enjoying the story.
God knows I don’t want to come across as a pedantic ass, though.
I can understand that yearning, especially when an error should be common knowledge.
At the same time, a detailed investigation into the exact molecular makeup of obsidian and whether it technically can or can not be accurately considered “stone” isn’t even something I would have ever considered to fact check, had I been writing this story.
Writers – even science fiction and fantasy writers – are usually writers first, scientists second (though there are, of course, exceptions) and we sometimes run into problems when we’re not even aware of the questions we need to ask.
Sometimes the finer-grained details – such as your point – get missed. Unfortunate, perhaps, but I see it as par for the course.
If nothing else, I’ve learned something I didn’t know before, so thank you for that.
Also… AS the narrator for this particular story, I’m now incredibly interested to know what word pronunciation I flubbed in the story. I didn’t see you mention a mispronunciation in your first post, and I’d like to avoid a similar problem in the future. 🙂