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Comic writer in need of help.

  1. Mar 23, 2004 #1

    My name is Steve Mutzu, and I have been working on a graphic novel about a native American girl named Stonefeather. When I began this her powers basically involved gravity. In researching this I stumbled on to String theory and I feel I almost had a religious experience. I knew nothing of Physics a week ago and now after a week of study and after watching the "Elegant Universe" I am hooked. Also now I have to use String theory as the basis for the powers behind my Characters. I know you probably do not get this type of post often but as I am not that familiar with physics of any type. I would like it to be as scientifically accurate as possible, but it is a story so flubbing the facts a bit would be OK. What I am really asking is if someone, say Stonefeather could control the frequency of strings what could or couldn't she do? Would she have a weakness and if so what? To me it almost seems that control of the strings would make you a God and that is the kiss of death for a comic. A great hero must have limits to the power they control. She must have faults, weaknesses, for this I ask for help from you that are smarter than myself. Thanks in advance.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2004 #2
    The magicians of primitive cultures do not exerience their powers in terms of western physics. Stonefeather need only "will" gravity to be as she wishes, for it to become so. She wouldn't percieve herself to be manipulating strings. She might, for example, simply will the gravity in a certain spot to go away. A rock thrown onto that spot would then shoot up into space.

    The task of trying to explain a magic power in terms of physics is, I think, kind of a dead end because you would always come back to something "magic" i.e. which isn't scientifically explainable. Better not to complicate it. Just stipuate the premise that mind over matter exists, and that Stonefeather is possessed of the kind of mind that can make this kind of thing happen.

    That's my 2ยข or less.
  4. Mar 23, 2004 #3
    Oh, you can have so much fun with this...I'm no physicist, but I'm a huge comic book fan, so I can see the possibilities. Yeah, god-like powers with no limits turns a comic book into a big steaming turd really quick, because there's no drama. So, what would be a decent weakness?

    1) thermodynamics basically says that there's no such thing as a free lunch, and energy must always be expended to change anything...so say that the part of her brain that allows her to do this would be damaged somehow every time she uses this power. Say that her power uses molecules in her brain as "fuel", or that she gets incredibly high fevers every time she affects the "strings".

    2) You could have her need to use a physical representation as a "focus point" for her power, like a dreamcatcher (which graphically would be rather sweet). When she manipulates the stings in the dreamcatcher, she manipulates the "strings", but she has to have one on hand to do anything.

    3) You can always make the "strings" have unforseen consequences beyond her immediate location, since they can be infinitely long.
  5. Mar 23, 2004 #4
    Thanks, I like the fever thing, maybe not a fever but she could get really hot and that would have an effect on the people and places around her. I was thinking also that every time she uses her powers that it sends a ripple through time and space that is felt by another being that can control Strings which she fears and tries to do as little as possible so that this other being in another dimension would have a harder time in locating her. I would not even really have to ever introduce this character just the fact that she feels it and fears it would be enough at first anyway.
  6. Mar 23, 2004 #5
    How about this: she can only control those elements of physics that she really understands. That gives you the opportunity to teach a little physics in your stories as she tries to understand how things work. And, she has to realluy concentrate on it, so she can only manipulate one physical principle at a time. As long as she's understanding things (or really thinks she's understanding things) her powers work, but if she gets distracted, or thinks something through to a deeper level where she realizes she doesn't understand something, he power stops working. That might create some dynamic tension for you, as she struggles to understand more, but that itself limits what she can do, at least temporarilly. And if she only partially understands something, her powers might not have exactly the effect on things she wants. Lots of opportunity for plot twists there.

    BTW, cancelling gravity in one spot wouldn't make a rock fly upwards; that would be anti-gravity. Cancelling gravity would allow a thrown object to move in a straight line without curving. Hardly noticable in a comic. Now, cancelling inertia has potential for some cool stunts.

    I think changing the vibrations of strings would allow particles to be changed into other particles, like lead into gold (even though there's a whole lot of strings if a single gold atom). Maybe it could haver an effect on forces if the particles transmuted were quantum field particles.
  7. Mar 23, 2004 #6
    That sounds like a good idea...she could visualize it as a demon of some sort, but you could work out that it is really Jesus on a spaceship with JFK and Elvis...oh, sorry, that's MY comic book script, not yours.
  8. Mar 23, 2004 #7
    Re: Re: Comic writer in need of help.

    Hey, you're right. I was thinking of the old movie "From Earth to the Moon" or "First Men on the Moon" (Based on H.G. Wells) where the ship had gravity cancelling vanes which, when deployed on the earth side caused the ship to fly into space because the moon's gravity was the only force left acting on it.
  9. Mar 24, 2004 #8
    Star Trek DS9 scenes in which the probability of certain events could be increased by something? I don't remember. The doctor and the chief engineer playing some kind of game.
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