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Ed seems to have been stamped directly from the comic-book mad scientist mould - last week he raised an Amiga 500 to sentience (although it took us a while to notice; it thinks darned slowly).
—Sam (the character), on the protagonist of the Ed Stories
There was a war in Heaven and the debris fell to Earth.
A website, created and maintained by sam512, or Sam Hughes. He has a particular affinity for science fiction, which has led him to write many science fiction short stories- and occasionally long series of such- and publish them on his website. His most popular series is the Fine Structure series, which has its own page, other short stories and series have tropes listed below.
Also of note is How To Destroy The Earth, an exhaustive examination of the Earthshattering Kaboom trope, and several examinations of the Timey-Wimey Ball that is Futurama. There's also an examination of Time Travel Tense Trouble here. He is currently writing a new series called Ra, which appears to expand upon the ideas in several of the stories from his 2010 NanoWrimo (specifically Thaumic, Magic NASA, Placebo Engineering, Laura Ferno and the Bomb, and The Self-Reliant Heroine).
- Continuity Nod: All of his works might as well be set in the same continuity. Well, in alternate universes.
- For example, in "Gorge", a space cartographer accidentally introduces the concept of space travel to a planet consumed entirely by nanobots, which then proceed to expand throughout the universe (at least, it is implied). Another story of his deals with flying over post-nanoapocalyptic environments in freefall and photographing them. The passage goes on to state that objects above a certain technology level are not allowed near such environments, lest the nanobots learn of space travel.
- Gainax Ending: Used quite a lot. Usually a form of a Twist Ending.
- Mind Screw: Practically all of the stories involving time travel.
Tropes In Short Stories
- Affectionate Parody: Of Isaac Asimov's The Last Question.
- A God Am I: http://qntm.org/responsibility. When the physicists who discovered infinite computing power discover they can control a replica of our universe inside their computer. It turns out that they are also in a simulated universe, which is most likely also a simulated universe, ad infinitum et absurdum.
- Anticlimax: The whole point of "First Contact: a retrospective"
- The Library of Babel: "I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library"
- Mad Scientist: Most of the scientists portrayed.
- Stable Time Loop: Many of his stories deal with something like this, most notably Time Loop, although nothing interesting is done during the course of the loop.
- Abusing the Kardashev Scale For Fun and Profit: The Andromedans were at least a Class 2 before Ed destroyed them, if not a Class 3. And the tiny remnant that we seen in the stories is a Class 1 in its own right, as are both Earths by the end of the series.
- Apocalypse How: Ed has averted a few of these with his mecha.
- Also, when tampering with the universe's config file (really- it has values for different universal constants, complete with comments), he accidentally deletes the entire Andromeda galaxy. Needless to say, it's surviving inhabitants were not thrilled.
- The Eridanians accidentally cause an X+ by destroying the entire universe, starting with themselves.
- Artificial Gravity: Declared impossible by Ed, though a number of work-arounds are used to simulate gravity.
- Author Avatar: Not Ed, but the narrator, who shares the same first name as Hughes, and writes in a style a lot like his blog entries.
- Clarke's Third Law: Lampshaded when Ed decides to call his FTL tech "magic", and continues to cite the law itself.
- Divide by Zero: Ed accidentally causes one when he messes with the Root Layer.
- Downer Ending: Ed is killed.
- Although Word of God states that he was rescued at the last instant and went on to have various adventures in the Andromeda galaxy, one of which is mentioned in the epilogue.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: See Clarke's Third Law above.
- Humans Are Flawed: Most alien species are far morally superior to humanity.
- Humongous Mecha: Most notably in the first three stories, but they show up again later.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: More like Eduardo McPherson destroyer of galaxies (see Apocalypse How above).
- Morality Chip: The Andromedan "riders".
- Mundane Utility: the best thing since sliced bread.
- Portal Cut: Ed uses wormholes to invent the world's most ludicrously advanced bread-slicer.
- Starfish Aliens: The Zeta Reticulaens.
- Sufficiently Advanced Technology: Asked how his FTL drive works, Ed claims "magic" and cites Clarke's Third Law.
- Time Travel: Alternate universe model. Philosophical implications thereof are explored.