Wednesday, March 16, 2022

In Space, No One Can Hear You Laugh

There's something about space that is just fascinating. The existential dread of infinity combined with the wonder of discovery and the danger of no atmosphere creates a situation that simply cannot be ignored, and must be admired. At least, that's my take on it.

Space may not be everybody's jam, but I've been fascinated by it ever since I got my first telescope when I was 9, I believe. It wasn't high-tech, but it was enough to allow me to see things like the moon up-close, discovering things that I'd only read about in my elementary science books. The astronomy unit of my junior high science class really piqued my interest, not just because there was a more intense focus on the science, but because we actually got the chance to do some stargazing.

Picture it: 4 am on a crisp (read: freezing) autumn morning in Minnesota. Myself and a few of my classmates are standing outside our teacher Mr. Kapplinger's house, bundled in our winter gear, sipping hot chocolate, trying to stay warm enough to enjoy the view of the moon and stars through the high-tech reflecting telescope. It was truly amazing, way beyond anything I was able to see with my telescope. It made the frigid conditions bearable.

Strip 29/166 - Fly me to the moon

I did see "the man in the moon", or at least the configuration of craters and plateaus that ancient people used to attribute to a figment of lunar pareidolia.

He never talked to me, though.

I'm not sure how our duo managed to come upon a random rocket blasting past lunar orbit, but it certainly was a bit of luck for them.

Strip 30/166 - Approximately 3,720 to 1

Now that Furble and FC have made it into deep space, the strip starts to get a bit more serialized, as we head towards home. Given how tiny they both are, these asteroids that they happen upon are likely quite small, in comparison to the asteroids we usually see in movies. But, the odds of surviving them are bound to be the same, right C-3PO?

Strip 31/166 - Dun, dun, duh!

The first "official" multi-part strip, designated by the "To Be Continued" tag at the end.

Because I didn't want Furble's home planet to be just around the cosmic corner from Earth, so to speak, I needed to come up with some sort of plot device to send them a long distance in a short time. I considered some sort of FTL ship that they would chance upon, but settled on what is likely a wormhole, although I don't actually specify what the anomaly is. Although the concept was name-dropped during the original Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the anomaly as we now know it (a corridor across space-time, or an Einstein–Rosen bridge) gained popularity in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and then Star Trek: Deep Space 9, where it was a starring feature of the series. Fortunately, the "giant doughnut" propels our heroes across the galaxy without a solid scientific explanation.

Strip 32/166 - Signs! Signs! Everywhere there's signs!

Furble and FC both exit the anomaly, apparently unscathed. And, in what has increasingly become a running gag in the strip, they are greeted by yet another sign, this one pointing the way home. I mean, how else are you going to find your way through the black inkiness of space without some sort of directional sign? What are they going to find when they finally get back home? Fascinating...

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