Leighgendary Shorts: Trauma Room by Samuel Peralta

Welcome to the eleventh edition of Leighgendary Shorts.

This week we will be discussing Trauma Room by Samuel Peralta

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In the trauma room, a man lies on a gurney, fragments of an assassin’s bullet in his skull. He carries a secret that could save millions of lives. And if he dies, that secret dies with him.

From award-winning author Samuel Peralta comes Trauma Room, a flash fiction short story that is at once a thriller, a glimpse of a future dystopia, and a love story – all in 1000 words.

Trauma Room is one of a series of standalone stories about a labyrinthine world where time travel is just beginning to be realized, where pervasive surveillance by telepaths is a part of life, where non-human self-awareness has begun to make humanity face difficult questions about itself.

Welcome to the Labyrinth. Welcome to Trauma Room.

Trauma Room (first featured in The Telepath Chronicles) is a short story that is part of Peralta’s Tales from the Labyrinth.  Peralta’s Labyrinth also includes the following stories: Hereafter: A Story of Love and Time TravelLiberty: Seeking Support for a Writ of Habeas Corpus for a Non-Human Being, Faith, and Humanity.

***SPOILERS BELOW***

We are introduced to the main character as he is brought into the trauma room in the hospital.  The senator was shot twenty minutes ago.  The senator’s wife and son are there and she is trying to sooth the son and a doctor is holding the senator’s head while another starts the incision for a tracheotomy.

The main character says, “I can’t do this.  No one’s ever done it before, breached a dead man.”

The colonel tells him the senator isn’t dead yet.

The main character turns up the collar on his suit coat and unfolds a hood that is lined with parabolic printed circuit board.  He then tells us, “Telepathy is like radio.  When you first tune in, you’re flooded with static, ambient noise, the almost-too-strong blare of someone else’s song.  Knowing roughly where you want to be-the music you’re looking for-you ignore the static, turn the dial to scan for that frequency that will bring you the swell of strings.”

He knows that he is inside of the senator’s mind but there is nothing there.  He starts to pull back on trying to find the senator’s signal, he thinks he might have gone too far.  Once he pulls back some he starts to hear what the doctors are thinking.

He tries again but is still not getting anything, especially what the colonel is looking for, “the code-word that would abort the launch of missiles that, in seconds, could be skimming a predetermined path across the atmosphere, along the earth’s curvature, toward our enemies, toward a ricochet of mutual destruction.”

Somewhere behind him a person begins a mental countdown for the missiles’ launch.

He starts searching everywhere in the senator’s mind.

He finds it.

And then the telepath speaks.

*****

It has been a while since I read this story so it was good to read it again.  All of these stories are great and can be read in any order.  I highly recommend them and I cannot wait to see where Peralta takes us next.

Giveaway:  Samuel Peralta is going to giveaway a signed copy of The Telepath Chronicles, where this story originally appeared.  This giveaway will run until Thursday, October 15, 2015, at 8:00 am (est).  All you need to do is tell us your thoughts about the story or ask Peralta a question, and he said he would answer just about anything.

Did you enjoy this story? Why? Why not?

 

About leighgendarium

Preston Leigh, with the help of many in the indie community, is the founder of The Leighgendarium.

30 Responses to Leighgendary Shorts: Trauma Room by Samuel Peralta

  1. Thanks for the invitation, Preston! “Trauma Room” is what started my entire speculative fiction arc, so it is a very special story to me.

    To readers: Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be in and out all day, but will answer ALL questions. Besides the TELEPATH paperback giveaway, *all* participants, until Thursday as abive, will get a copy of my ebook LIBERTY 🙂

  2. I had read this story previously, but like all of Samuel’s stories, it gets you to think about whatever the thing is and how that thing creates its own ethical conundrums.
    In this one, in the frame of the story, the idea of whether we SHOULD invade someone’s mind, even if we can. Sure, there’s a lot riding on it, but the protagonist still wrestles with an act that is nakedly logical, but skitters on the edge of what is respect for the most private of things, our thoughts, our dreams, our loves, our secrets.

    • I wrote this as a spec story, to show editors of anthologies what I was capable of in 1000 words. It got me commissions for two anthologies which, with Robot Chronicles, helped launch my speculative fiction writing career.

      I also wrote it as a teaser for my Labyrinth universe, where Telepaths coexist with normal humans.

  3. Sam, you must get inspired by many different ideas on a regular basis. Where do all of your ideas come from? How do you sort out the great ones from the good ones and cultivate the great ones into a story?

    • My ideas come from a lot of places.

      Trauma Room, for example, was inspired by the JFK assassination. I thought to myself, what if that assassination happened in tandem with something like the Cuban missile crisis? What if the U.S. had launched missiles in retaliation to a perceived threat? And what if only JFK, lying unconscious in the hospital held the abort codes?

      That’s the train of thought that could have branched in many directions – but in this case branched into a story about a telepath.

    • From inception to end, it takes about 4-5 months. It could be faster, except I have a day job – and so do most contributors.

      I open a theme and select authors about 4-5 months before publication date. Authors typically have to submit their drafts within 2 months of the publication date. That leaves enough time for the title editor to interact with all 12-14 authors and get everything to me within a month of publication. Then it’s a frantic month of reviewing, formatting, proofreading to put it all together.

      I’m able to publish a title a month because several titles are being written-up or edited or reviewed in parallel.

    • Thanks! You should see the ones I throw out!

      Here the Trauma Room refers not just to the physical room, but the room in his mind. In my world, the mind is a Labyrinth that Telepaths must navigate – hence the conceptual title of the series.

  4. Do the rules of telepathy and the cause/background of telepathy for your world get much of a place in your books? Samuel, what limitations, barriers, and abuses did you have to consider and/or overcome when writing about telepathy? Where there any hard lines you started with in terms of the rules of telepathy for your world (e.g. the telepath may never do X) and then crossed (e.g. okay, the telepath MUST do X to get the story told)?

    Thanks!

    • Yes! I’ve only been able to explore the physical laws behind my telepathy in two stories so far, Trauma Room and Faster, but there are already hints.

      First of all, it is line of sight. The telepath has to be durectly in line with (not necessarily facing) the subject. In other words, the amplitude of the signal may be attenuated by objects or minds in between.

      Second, there is interference. See above. Other minds can create noise or unwanted ambient thoughts.

      Third, it is a function of distance. The telepath has to move closer to his subject.

      Fourth, the telepathic signal may be filtered and amplified. Hence the parabolic circuitry in the hoodie.

      There are more laws governing telepathy in my universe, but they’re only introduced when the story requires it.

  5. Now your work is new to me but The Trauma Room sounds fantastic and along the lines of what I enjoy reading. My question is who did your cover art?

  6. Profile Cover Art

    I have sent Samuel the emails you all have connected with your comments. If you do not receive the ebook over the next couple of days please let me know.

    Thanks again to Samuel Peralta for joining us.

  7. I just wanted to say WOW this sounds amazing and I am looking forward to reading your work! I love telepathic stories… So unique & interesting. Trauma sounds amazing!
    I do have a question and I know Im late for the entry, but I dont mind!
    I just would like to know who has been your biggest inspiration for your writing? Who is your fave author? And lastly, yes this may sound strange, lol, but what is your favorite color?

    Thank you and I will be reading your books!!

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