How to Get Plutanium

A hybrid cross between titanium and plutonium

A sort of silver metal alloy

Virtually unbreakable

Can’t be scratched by diamond

Does not melt except perhaps by 2500 degree heat

Absorbs radiation and is radioactive

Has a half-life of roughly seven hundred years

What would you do with it? Great space ship material you say? True, true(of course, maybe that explains why when the big enemy ship finally explodes it always seems to resemble a nuclear blast). But that’s not why it’s in my books. No space ships. Then what was it made for? To kill an immortal dragon.

I blame it on my Husband’s influence. I never would have thought of such a thing. I wouldn’t have known where to start. I was well on my way of creating a black crystalline thing that would sort of be like Kryptonite for my dragon. How did it work? Heck if I know, I go for the blue-sky justification of “that’s just the way it is in my world”. Why else do people write fantasy except to make up their own rules as they go that have absolutely no connection to reality?

Wrong. Pulling that wild card too often tends to grate on the nerves of readers, and sci-fi trekkies would rather burn your books in front of Channel 4 news than read them. Now, ten or so years ago I might have scoffed and said, “Who needs them anyway?” Then I married one.

I love talking about my books. I could talk about my characters 24/7 except that I occasionally need to sleep. So when we first met, he got to hear plenty about my little drama story of romance and family problems against the backdrop of an adventure. Okay, I don’t think it was that bad, but he did. It bored him right into that glazed, comatose state. He didn’t wake back up until I ran out of character introductions and started into the back story. Since I hadn’t written that part yet and it happened a thousand years before, I didn’t know any of the characters. All that I could tell him about was the plot. That got him interested and things started to make sense.

I was just thrilled that he was interested! Looking back I think what I really wanted was a resident sounding board, but as he got into the storyline he doesn’t let me get away with stuff. Business, Computer programming, psychology/sociology, economics, physics – he’s into it all. So when my characters stop at an inn built on a mountain pass between two rival countries, he wants to know why the inn is there. Is it open in winter? Who maintains the pass/keeps it open? What side of the border? What micro or macro economy financed it? I didn’t know that stuff, the inn was just convenient for the storyline. But I have been gifted with a knack for impromptu explanations that sometimes are half reasonable. So, after that discussion we decided that the innkeeper makes a bundle exchanging currencies and he’s the one paying to maintain the pass.

My fantasy worlds suddenly became significantly more complicated – as did the backwork in creating them – since now I had to manage to suspend his disbelief. If I couldn’t, I just couldn’t sleep at night. I ended up making some drastic changes in my world. Spells got banned in my world because of him. He witnessed too many insane, impromptu escalations of them in the playground. No matter how “super duper triple” your fireball is, the other guy always seems to pull an “anti-super duper triple fireball shield” spell out of no where.

I tell him that magic is like miracles – it doesn’t always have to be explained or even make sense – but we still spent 5 hours debating and drawing out a circular stairway until he could finally reconcile it with physics. We figured out the width, the height, the rise of each step, the number of steps and how long it would take to travel up or down them. I almost started to zone out when he started talking about building to spec and code…(did I mention he dabbles in architecture too?)

Fortunately, (though my characters may view it otherwise) his digging questions usually breed more delightful complications that I hadn’t even considered and often fall right in place with other plans that I hadn’t gotten around to figuring out yet. You know, things like how the battle site ended up being a huge crater. My kryptonite idea wasn’t nearly as explosive and flat on the originality scale. But then he starts talking plutanium. After a few hours of googling information, I’m sold as I see a world of new possibilities open up.

Too bad it didn’t work as well for my character’s objective. Sigh, another failed experiment. That’s just the way science is I guess, trial and error. Usually it means back to the drawing board again, except that unfortunately, my rural scientists didn’t follow NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) regulations of a safe distance.

But I’ll tell you, the explosion was a sight to see.

About Ren Black

Part-time novelist. Weekend artist. Full-time Mother. Ex-poet. Perfectionist by training. Compulsive researcher sporadically. Prone to fits of linguistic commentary Unorthodox Renegade occasionally. Sarcastic by habit... Dreamer Always... Consider Yourself Warned

10 comments on “How to Get Plutanium

  1. I think that’s why I don’t write fantasy. I get so caught up in the “is that possible/likely/logical” merry-go-round that I end up getting dizzy and having to lie down in a dark room.

    Your comment about spells reminds me of something in one of Terry Pratchett’s wonderful Discworld series of novels. There is this magical spell for making someone fall in love with you. Unfortunately, it is so complicated that it takes a lifetime to learn, by which time you’ve forgotten why you wanted to use it in the first place!

    Another excellent post!

    • lol, thanks Paul. Believe me, my Husband wouldn’t write fantasy either if he were the author. He often watches shows (particularly kids shows) and when something totally impossible happens he just scoffs and walks off.

      That’s a fun twist on the love spell.

  2. I love this! I’m an author/artist who happens to have a science degree. So I tend to have these same kinds of conversations…with myself :P. I’m able to let loose and have magic be magic, but I tend to still reconcile it with realistic physics to a certain extent. And I’m the one asking myself things like, “Why is that located there?”

    I could never turn to my husband for input on my writing. He’s wonderfully supportive, but…in my world there are no fast cars and technological toys, and in his head a story just isn’t a story without James Bond and cool electronics.

    Thanks for posting–it totally brightened my morning :).

    • Thanks Kat! Yeah, I’m lucky with my Husband’s willingness to talk about my book. He’s one-in-a-million. Some times I know he gets tired of it though.

      I’m glad that it helped brighten you day!

      so what mediums do you use in art?

  3. Ren,
    You caught my attention with the plutanium. Very nice post!

  4. Hilarious, Ren! 😀 I love it, the way you get to bounce ideas off your husband and they wind up even better…

    • lol, yep. Sometimes though he comes up with oddball ideas that I just cringe at, but yet if we talk long enough fresh ideas spark and it’s a wonderful help.

      Thanks for your comment.

  5. My husband has nothing to do with my writing. He is supportive but not into reading for fun. I think I’ve said before that he is the type of man that will read the Tractor Supply catalog or an 800 page manual on programming…and he calls me a dork. 😀

  6. […] My world may have magic and other special elements that do not exist on earth, but he expects me to have a logical theory of how it works. He and I worked together to overhaul the magic system in my world. We devised “magical” properties akin to radiation which lead to the creation of “Plutanium“. […]

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