Check out the 2017-18 YAC Zine by clicking the image above. It will take you to a PDF download link. Happy summer reading from the YACs.
To read the novel PORPHYROPHOBIA by the 2016-17 class of Young Authors Collective, click here. (You can download it as a PDF.)
Everyone my age remembers where they were that day. The signal was strong and focused, concentrated at 9MHZ. It originated from a seemingly empty piece of space, about 20,000 AU outside the heliopause, in the near Oort Cloud.
Initially scientists were stumped by the message. It contained an opening sequence, four different numbers, and an identical closing sequence. Every 5.52 hours; or the half life of Mendelevium-257, a new message was sent, contained the same opening/closing sequence (what scientists began to call the header), but a new set of four numbers.
The breakthrough came several weeks in, when a brilliant Mongolian mathematician realized the numbers correspond to the same thing. The first number was a prime, the second a Fibonacci, the third was a perfect number, and the fourth was a Pell number. They all corresponded to the same number; the number of their term.
For example, if the message was sending the number ‘2’, it would first send 3 (the second prime), 1 (the second Fibonacci), 28, ( the second perfect number) and then 1, (the second Pell number).
What the message was trying to tell us was, however, completely unknown. A Breton computational musician, working in tangent with his young son, revealed that the first half of the header was in fact a version of the Transformers theme song, with the words taken out and each note mapped to a octave with twelve notes, then forced back into an eight note scale.
In the Transformers, the titular Transformers learn English by monitoring the internet. This was pointed out by the Breton computational musician and his son. Attention turned to the second half of the header, which seemed even more complex than the first.
A bright young Canadian, analyzing the second half of the header, realized it was the cosmic background radiation, amplified by 10^4, and varied specifically at time intervals. Mapping these variables by time, he revealed a sequence in binary.
The binary sequence was 000 0010, 000 0101, 000 0100. Observing this, the Canadian boy noted that they correspond to three ASCII control characters, START TEXT, ENQUIRY, END TRANSMISSION in that order.
Hurriedly, the numbers transmitted were tried as ASCII characters, but it failed to match up. Variations on the numbers were tried, but, remembering the earlier musical manipulations, an alternating sequence of base eight and base twelve, with the modulo of each number taken when divided by its base ten equivalent, was established.
The message stopped transmitting just as we finished deciphering it. It had been 110 days since we had first received the message, and in those 110 days the message source had moved 2640 AUs closer to us, consistent with a spacecraft going 150,000,000 km/hr or 3000 times faster than anything we had ever built before.
Based on radio telemetry, we deduced that the transmitter had initially been still, and had accelerated up to its current speed over the course of the 110 days. It was accelerating at a rate of 56,818 km/hr2
A theoretical physicist working out of Mauna Loa showed significant apparent disortians in the stars at point the message was first received from. These observations were consistent with the expected Schwarzfeld radiation from a rapidly decaying wormhole.
The message, fully translated, was published internationally and simultaneously on every bit of media on earth.
Internet, TV, Cable news,
Newspapers, magazines, books
Mailers, telegram, radio
Spinny sign held by a guy outside of Taco Bell
Carved on bullets in warzones
Planes flew it on banners
Planes wrote it in the sky in their exhaust
Detonated onto the side of the Black Hills in South Dakota
Carved into clay
Whispered in awestruck voices
We’re no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I
A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of
You wouldn’t get this from any other guy
I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling
Gotta make you understand
Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you
We’ve known each other for so long
Your heart’s been aching but
You’re too shy to say it
Jonas shared this with Sonya
By Lucy Earl
Okay, there’s this room at Lighthouse that used to be covered with gold, so that when the light hit it, it would light up. So I was thinking, there’s this thing called Lit Fest, I’ll put a picture of the flyer here:
[Insert Picture Here]
And I was thinking that for a workshop at Lit Fest we could have a gathering of people that we put in that room and made them all as small as ants. Little, if you will. And all these people could read, they’d be literate. But even though they’d be small, they’d litter. A lot. And since they’d be the size of ants, you could say they would be litterbugs. They’d litter so much that they’d even litter books, or litter literature. In fact, they’d litter so many books that we’d have to give them bags to litter their books in, or literature litter bags.
And then, they’d have so many bags that they’d have to pile them all together and use 1,000 cubic centimeters of lighter fluid to actually set them on fire. Or a liter of lighter literally lit literature litter bags. Now in order to extinguish the fire, they’d have to use some kind of absorbent, granular material or cat litter.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve noticed what I’m doing here, so I’ll write out the sentence we’ve created. The Lit up room had little literate litterbugs that litter literature into litter bags and used a liter of lighter that literally lit literature litter bags that was put out by cat litter during Lit Fest. Now I’m sure you are admiring that lovely alliteration but we’re not done yet. All of the important words in this sentence can be abbreviated by the letters l-i-t…Oh yes, this is where we are heading with this. So, if we take out the useless words like “that” or “during” but keep “Fest” and we abbreviate all the other words with l-i-t, we would have the following sentence: Lit lit lit lit lit lit lit lit lit lit lit lit lit lit Lit Fest…
Hi. You’re welcome. Feel free to say that that sentence was lit. After all it was literature (as in something published on a particular subject, like “lit”) and I’m sure some people would like to print this out and light it on fire, so it’d be lit. 🔥
By Madison Hart
I regret to inform you…no…that sounds too business like, doesn’t it? Okay, well, Story 559, the truth is, I just don’t have time for you right now. I don’t have time or energy to deal with your indecisiveness, I mean for heaven’s sake pick a plot and go with it already! And, besides, your characters keep yelling at me. Come on! This is just getting ridiculous. You are too unpredictable and disloyal. Yeah, that’s right, I saw you looking at damsel number 207 the other day. Um, not ok, keep your eyes on me, not the words next to you. So, if you haven’t figured it out already, I’m breaking up with you. You see this cursor right here…ya that one. It’s going to drag your pitifullness into the trash folder. Uh huh! I said it. You are going in the trash. And when I have time to address all your little plot holes and put all your characters into time out for five minutes, I will. Wel,l maybe. It all depends on whether I fall in love with story idea number 480 before then. Ok, yes, I’ve been eyeing that rugged archer for months, but what do you care, you have damsels 207-220 eyeballing you all the time and vice versa. So, goodbye, adios, au revoir, sayonara! I will see you when I see you. Have a nice life in the writer dump pile. Maybe you’ll run into the rugged archer’s younger sister while you’re there cause I threw her out too! You deserve each other!
To my imagination,
Although the times have not alway been easy for us, I can say with every part of me: without you I would be nothing. You coax the words from my mind to flow from my fingertips onto my computer screen. I will never forget the long, late nights you have kept me company, fighting way my fears and worries because, with you at my side, nothing can touch me. You make the world something new and beautiful. The bare walls of my mind are suddenly filled with life and power. I know that you will not always be with me but that does not mean that you will ever leave me for good. You know when to come home and when to stay away, most of the time. But even when you come to me unbidden I know it is for the best. The history homework can be pushed aside as you take me down another winding road. You have made my life an adventure. You take me to neverland, down the rabbit hole, through the looking glass, to Oz and so many other places. Most of our places will be just that, ours forever hidden from the world, but not all of them and that’s what I really love you for. Not only do you make the world a better place for me but also for those around me. You make the light shine on the dark. You give me hope. Without you, I would be truly lost and that is how I know you aren’t really far away. You stay close enough to keep me safe on the nights when there is no one else. I love you with all my heart. Without you, I am only a fraction of myself.
To my imagination,
I know that times haven’t always been that easy for us, so I think it is time for me to finally say: without you I would be so much better. You stop my fingers from writing with paralyzing fears of imagining someone one day reading the atrocity I have had the gall to write down. It would be hard to forget the images you conjure of giant spiders and the world being torn apart by any number of disasters. You make the world seem frightening and empty. The empty chambers of my mind are ripped open with death and decay. We both know that you will not be with me forever and that there are times when you leave and it is better for everyone. You go and come back at the most inopportune times. You will distract me from important work pertaining to school when I simply do not have time for you. I’m sorry, I know that this seems harsh, but I think it’s for the best that I finally say this. You will pull me away and into Hades, the dragon’s lair and any number of torture chambers. The worst part is that this doesn’t always affect me, but those around me because some of the places we go can stay between us, but some of them leak out into the world. You scare me, and that’s how I know you are never really gone: my fear is always with me. You will come upon me in the dead of night like some kind of ghoush. Please, I think it would be best for you to leave and return me to myself.
- I was born eight days after Y2K caused all of the planes to fall out of the sky, all computer programs to spontaneously crash and time itself to stop.
- I was eight during the Great Recession. I remember all of the graphs of stock falling down, down, down, into a deep hole of an economy that the country would never return from.
- I remember the time the United States went to war with Russia over a crashed helicopter in Syria.
- I was twelve in two-thousand-and-twelve, and I remember when the super volcano at Yellowstone erupted, causing all kinds of natural disasters.
- I remember when Russia took over Crimea and Ukraine and then kept spreading, all over Europe until the United States had to step in. With nukes.
- I remember when Iran got a nuclear weapon.
- I remember when the Ebola epidemic devastated the United States, and everyone was afraid to get within a foot of each other.
- I remember the Zika epidemic that followed, and how it made everyone lock their doors and windows and not leave the house.
- I remember the apocalypse, the world ending so many times and in so many different ways.
- And so, looking at all of this, I can’t help but feel that the future is bleak. All I’ve ever known is one end of the world after the other, so how could the future be any different?
-The presidential election
-Having to listen to people complain about the presidential election
-That one Chainsmokers song that goes like “noh nah nuh noh noh nah nuh noh”
-That incident with E. coli at Chipotle (wait, was that 2015?)
-The Orlando shooting
-My favorite video game store getting robbed
-Denver real estate prices
-One of the digits was not a prime number
About Madison Hart
So Madison’s wearing this gold necklace, right? I was thinking, yo that looks like an Aztec necklace. Not like gift shop Aztec but like jungle, pyramid, ancient gods, heart sacrifice Aztec. I was just sitting there scratching my head. What are the only two ways to get some Aztec bling? You either rob a museum or raid a tomb. So I’m like damn, this chick’s either Danny Ocean or fricking Indiana Jones, but since Indiana Jones is way more culturally relevant than Ocean’s 11, it’s got to be the latter.
So obviously, she’s in some long-forgotten Central American temple. She’s like, in this big stone room. You know vines everywhere. Vines on the wall, vines hanging from the ceiling, vines on the floor. It’s like fricking vine Oprah, just vines everywhere. And she’s trying to solve an ancient puzzle and she’s smoking a cigarette. Actually, it’s a cigar because cigars are classy. Cool people in the ‘40s smoke cigars, especially archaeologists. 40s archaeologists like chain smoke cigars. Actually she probably isn’t smoking anything because it’s 2015 and let’s be real, nobody smokes cigars anymore.
About Ellen Huggins
*Disclaimer: Cassidy Nicks is not licensed and has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, so all documents should be taken with that in mind.
In my deep analysis of Ellen, I’ve concluded she has mommy issues. One cornerstone memory for her, although she didn’t say so (I used my amazing skills of psychological deduction), was making chocolate. While this could just indicate her family traditions adopted from their time living in Belgium, there was genuine stress in her voice as she described her mother yelling at her to ‘roll the chocolate faster!’ In addition, one of Ellen’s secret desires is to be able to sing publicly like her brothers, but her mom (and also her dad) never put effort into figuring that out for her. But most telling of all are Ellen’s dreams. Many times she has been peacefully dreaming, and finds she has to pee… But then, a woman, a beautiful woman, (i.e. Mary Poppins) tells her to ‘just go!’ And she does.
Dreams are widely believed to be our brains dealing with and processing our problems. Ellen dreams of an authoritative woman telling her to do something shameful. That sounds like… Mommy issues.
In conclusion, I, Dr. Cassidy Nicks, am diagnosing my patient Ellen Huggins with severe Class A mommy issues and have recommended that she continues to repeat this phrase to herself to boost her confidence- ‘just go… For it!’