By Jean Asselin
Over time, we learn the value of stressing the positive: what we’d do differently rather than what doesn’t work, what to strive for instead of what to avoid. Still, there is efficiency in prescribing “Don’t do ‘X’ in the fiction you submit.”
Let ‘X’ be: “On its way to another star system a spacecraft happens by the planet on which Robinspace Crusoe shipwrecked.” Or:
Stars in the Galaxy, Like Islands in the Ocean of Space
Is the subtitle above simile or metaphor? Reasonably accurate model or poetic license? To determine this, let’s perform some grade school math.
Kauai is the fourth largest Hawaiian island—roughly 27.5 miles wide. It is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which from the Moon appears as wide as the Earth—about 8000 miles. The ratio of those two widths is 1/288. In living-room terms, that’s an eighth of an inch over three feet. Picture the round head of a sewing pin set on a coffee table three feet in diameter. An ant crisscrossing at random might hit the pin, like a ship crossing the Pacific might happen upon Kauai. (Though at this scale, a ship is more the size of an amoeba.)