On a Strange Story Idea

I would like to thank everyone for their sympathies and well-wishes on yesterday’s events. Yesterday was rough, and I appreciate all your thoughts. Thank you.

So, last night, a little bedtime reading. I picked up Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, read another twenty-odd pages and put it down. Quite frankly, I’m finding myself both bored and frustrated by this novel. Just when it gets interesting, we get four or five pages of tedious description of some remote villa and mind-numbingly obvious narration. This won’t do, thought I to myself, so I put The Historian aside and picked up Coming of Age in the Milky Way, a book on the development of cosmology from the ancient Greeks to our times. It’s an incredibly well-written book, and I’ve found it a marvel to read.

The early chapters touch on the Ptolemaic system which described the universe in terms of the Earth at the center with the stars, sun, planets, and moon orbiting around. It’s discredited science–we know better now and have for centuries. The Earth is but a speck in the vastness of the cosmos.

Suppose it were true, though. Suppose Ptolemy was correct and Earth stood at the center of the universe. Perhaps at the poles giant beams stretched into the heavens to support the canopy of stars and the spheres on which the planets rode.

It sounds crazy but last night a story began building itself on the premise.

But really. Is the Ptolemaic system really any crazier than Discworld, where the world is flat, rides on the back of four elephants, which in turn ride through the cosmos on the back of a swimming turtle?

I thought not. 🙂

2 thoughts on “On a Strange Story Idea

  1. Have you ever read Ted Chiang? He’s done a number of stories along the same lines, taking pre-scientific concepts (not Ptolemy specifically) and creating stories in worlds where they are proven factual. He has a collection, The Story of Your Life, if you’re interested.

  2. I’ve read one of his stories. “Hell is the Absence of God,” I think was the title. It was an incredible story, and going in I thought that I wouldn’t like it because it dealt with gods and angels having a real influence over life today. I bought into the concept, though, and would recommend it.

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