1. lettuchi
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    lettuchi Member

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    Let there be light

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by lettuchi, May 10, 2012.

    So, I have a world where the sun sets for weeks at a time. It's setting when the (sci-fi)novel begins, and by the time the protagonist arrives, it's practically pitch out. Everything is being lit by torches, and the world doesn't have much technology(think steampunkish, but not the aesthetic of steampunk). I suppose they *could* have electric lights, but most of the story takes place in a castle made of stone where they wouldn't be able to run wiring. Candles work, but still flicker and are yellowish. I'm getting tired of the visuals provided by torchlight and want some other lighting source. The moon is rising, but it's not going to be enough light I think.

    Any ideas? I'm totally blanking.
     
  2. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    You might want to do research on places in Alaska where it happens. There must be research materials, documentaries and classic novels about such activities. Coupled with actual events and equipment, you might also get the feel. After all, most of those recesses are quite primitive, as well.
     
  3. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    I'm guessing you're thinking of something to the effects of Polar Night -- it's a natural phenomena where night lasts for more than 24 hours at a time (this happens anywhere north of the arctic circle). What about using the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) as casting natural light over the dark? You would have to research it a bit, but I'm fairly certain they are quite bright.

    On another note, what about lanterns or gaslights? They're usually encased in glass of some sort (I think), which might give you a different effect. Again, you would have to research it.
     
  4. lettuchi
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    lettuchi Member

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    Gas lanterns, hadn't thought of that. I wonder what color the light is. I'll have to look it up.
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    glow in the dark creatures? If they're accustomed to living in darkness for weeks on end, there will surely be animals, insects and such that glow and provide light. Perhaps even glow in the dark plants - for example, carnivorous plants will need to attract insects somehow in the dark, and while smell will still be the primary method, I wouldn't put flickering lights pass them. Think of the deep ocean where you get flashing fish and jellyfish and glowing shrimps. (Check out Blue Planet on the BBC in England - one of the episodes is devoted to "The Deep" with this kinda glowing fish)

    Otherwise, how about you devise a new mineral to help you out? In the Japanese classic Laputa, they talk about a rock that glows in the darkness - depending on the size, it literally shines. In the film they had this explanation that it's a special type of rock. Considering in your world, it's normal to have long stretches of darkness, I wouldn't be surprised if there were chemicals in the earth and rocks that allow for natural light that appears only when the sun sets.

    And of course, since humans live in this world, they would naturally harvest these things to serve as light in their houses ;)

    Also, if in today's technology you can get lamps that store up the sun's energy, what's stopping your world from having something similar? A kind of material or rock or some substance that absorbs light while the sun is still out, and then glows in the dark.

    You could get glow in the dark flowers too - could line the pavement to save on oil and wax and no one needs to light them at night. Firefly is another option, trapped in lanterns.

    Nature normally produces light with chemicals - device some glow in the dark chemical that you could use in lamps instead, that gives a steady light that doesn't flicker, and maybe with a different hue or colour to fire.
     
  6. lettuchi
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    lettuchi Member

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    Very helpful suggestions, thanks! I hadn't thought of solar power, that would work well in the world, I think. Also, the idea of glowing minerals is a good one, I already have a rock which ignites when struck(why I didn't think of it for lighting is another matter all together).
     
  7. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    After reading the member's responses I am taken back to the movie "Avatar". When it is daytime life is all green and like the tropical jungles of earth. At night everything glows like a black lit room with florescent everything. Also the movie "Pitchblack" at the climax of the movie when the torch comes out, there are lizards that are found on the ceiling of the cave that glow a bright green.
     
  8. Gonissa
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    I wonder what sort of plants could grow in such little light.

    Anyway, there's always algae. You could have a scene by a lake or something where the algae is glowing different colors or something. Maybe a nice scene where a guy is taking his love to the lake to show her how nice it looks. D'aww...
     
  9. lettuchi
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    lettuchi Member

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    Oooh, I like the algae idea. Not many lakes on a desert world but I'll think of something.
     
  10. Lazy
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    Lazy Banned

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    Have you thought about the ecological and evolutionary effects that having such little sunlight would cause?

    Also, have you thought about the physics of it? Where the hell does the sun go? I can't imagine how that would occur on a planetwide scale... on earth, as someone said, it happens in a very small area and that area is pretty scarce as far as life is concerned.

    You could have half your planet in darkness all the time, though, like the moon (tidally locked with earth, only one side ever faces us. the "dark side" of the moon is not always dark though of course).
     

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