{download epub} Ray of Light Author Brad R. Torgersen – Multi-channel.co

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10 thoughts on “Ray of Light

  1. says:

    A brilliant Aquapunk short story about those living in the frozen depths dreaming of light.

  2. says:

    Imagine you are Brad Torgersen.

    You write a sci fi story. You've been doing this a while, so you know how. It's got at least two separate cool ideas in it.

    The first one is an eco-disaster that is caused by aliens instead of human error. You don't need to milk an environmental sob story to have a global catastrophe. The second cool idea is having the humans survive by basing themselves off an ocean floor heat vent ecosystem instead of a land-based solar ecosystem. Then you take a step back. You figure how this kind of catastrophe would affect people sociologically. So far so good.

    Next, you bring in your guy, Max. He's a real hero, not one of these weepy antiheroes. He's a dad. He's got a teenaged daughter, and he's her pillar of strength. He's also awesome at his job and he doesn't take any crap from the other guys on the ocean floor. When the trouble starts, he knows what to do. No shilly shallying, no internal conflict. Max is a Man of Action.

    It's a solid story. People like it. You get nominated for a Hugo. Cool. You're finally getting some respect. But what happens? You lose the Hugo to some piece of hipster crap called Six Months, Three Days. It's barely Sci Fi. It's mostly people talking about relationships. Screw that. So you join up with Larry Correia's Sad Puppies group. You're going to do your bit to take back the Hugos. Who in their right mind would pick a love story over your story?

    You wonder about the author of Six Months, Three Days. Maybe her story got picked because she's transgender. Maybe this is some kind of diversity, reverse discrimination thing. After all, what's Charlie Jane Anders got that you ain't got?

    What indeed?

    Quite a lot actually. The Hugo voters clearly chose the right story. I give Torgersen credit for an interesting and well-described setting. I also give him credit for considering how his setting would impact the generational divide among the characters. However, the glaring issues with the story hold it back.

    The main character is really one dimensional and kind of annoying in his self-righteousness. As a middle aged dad with a daughter, I really should have related strongly to him, but I found it easier to relate to the female hipster millennial in Anders' story.

    Also, the plot was painfully predictable. It was like the books that Snoopy used to write in Peanuts. "There was a problem. The brave man solved it. The end."

    Lastly, while it is evident that the "Ray of Light" is metaphorical in addition to literal, the use of theme and symbol in this story is like a cave painting compared to the layered approach in "Six Months, Three Days."

    I read these two stories together because I wanted to give the Sad Puppies a fair shake. I wanted to see if superior Sci Fi tales were being ignored in favor of SJW trash. Based on this sample, I'd say that the SJWs are just better writers. If the Puppies want more trophies, then they should step up their craft.

    If you're feeling some hipster romance, then ride your fixie to over to my companion review of "Six Months, Three Days." https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  3. says:

    The most human story I've read in a very long time. Brad Torgersen uses very realistic family relationships in his stories, which help me connect with his characters right away. In Ray of Light, Torgersen's uncaring aliens contrast with the protagonist's concern for his teenage daughter. Since I have two of those... Bam! He got me right *there.*

    The teenagers' attitudes toward the adults' attempts to "just keep things going" are superficially rebellious, but the teens end up being brave enough to take the risks that result in a hopeful ending for everyone.

    This is the first of Torgersen's stories I bought for my brand-new Nook (I know, the "edition" above says "Kindle"), but it definitely won't be my last.

    Something tells me I may have to wait awhile for "The Collected Works of..." ;-D

    Aug. 21, 2012.

  4. says:

    Read as part of the 2012 Hugo Voter Packet.

    A fascinating tale of Max and Jenna's (his daughter) life in the deep water habitats where the surviving ten percent of humanity attempts to survive following alien caused freezing of the entire Earth's surface. A great combination of characterisation (how Max deals with the new life, and how Jenna is raised in an environment where she's never seen the sun, but only heard about it) and plot (Max heads off in a sub to try and locate Jenna after she and many of her friends attempt to head to the surface to see if it's still frozen). The writing is excellent, and this is my favourite of the five novelettes, and the one which will likely get my Hugo vote.

  5. says:

    Similar in theme to Ray Bradbury's "All Summer In A Day". But where All Summer's main character looks foraward to seeing the sun and doesn't get to, Torgersen writes of a people who have given up hope of ever seeing the sun again, and then see it in the end. I like the fact that youngsters who either have never seen the sun or are too young to remember it are the ones rensponsible for giving humanity back their golden orb.
    Most stories with kids as the heroes tend to be written a bit more shallow, to make the story accessible to children. But this story is written with all the emaotional depth and intelligence I've come to expect and enjoy from Torgersen's stories. Definately worth the purchase price.

  6. says:

    Solid enough eco-disaster story, although unusually the disaster is inflicted on humanity by aliens whose motive is never explained rather than being self-inflicted. But this is kind of an interesting change.

    It has flaws, though: plot holes, and bits where the story scaffolding shows through. The lack of any human agency in the disaster also renders the whole thing a bit one-dimensional: this is a story only concerned with human survival and spirit. It doesn't really ask any interesting moral or social questions.

  7. says:

    Reviewed as part of the 2012 Hugo Voter Packet.

    Aliens come and effectively dim the sun leaving Earth in a major ice-age, and mankind retreats to the bottom of the ocean near thermal vents to survive.

    The implications of the ecological disaster that sets the scene are fairly interesting, but the premise of how it happens sort of left me feeling a bit unsatisfied. And, although to be fair I am not a huge fan of the novelette in general, this one in particular did not seem to develop very far.

  8. says:

    Definitely an interesting story about hope and the human condition staged in a post-apocalyptic world where the sun is blocked by alien-installed mirrors in the Earth's atmosphere. Again, Torgersen is able to paint a realistic, thought-provoking view of the human condition in a science fiction world. This story is a representation of Torgersen's developing maturity as a writer. I look forward to seeing more of his views of the world in the future.

  9. says:

    This is a post-apocalyptic story where humanity is forced to live beneath the ocean to survive the complete glaciation of the surface after aliens block the sun. The plot focuses on a former astronaut searching for his runaway daughter and the serendipitous discovery they make in the process. Torgersen was the runner-up for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer this year, and I expect we will see much more from this promising writer.

  10. says:

    Aliens mysteriously dimmed the sun’s light, causing the last human survivors to hide deep under the frozen oceans, depending on geothermal energy. Nice idea, but the execution, concentrating on a dad’s looking for his rebellious and wayward daughter, a mother who committed suicide, and a dramatic revelation, felt a little bit trite to me. The initial infodump, with the excuse of ‘explaining the situation to a young child’ also felt forced.