In the past weeks I have started to wonder more about the lack of variety in species on earth.
Looking at the differences, there are more commonalities than anything else. All mammals have the same basic “construction rules” applied, including the number of fingers and toes and the build up of reproductive organs. Where there are slight differences due to specialization and evolutionary digression they all seem to be based on the same template.
Even the horse has four fingers (merged together and provided with one big toe-nail we call “hoof”) and a rudimentary thumb.
Compare us to insects or boneless creatures like slugs and the octopus and you will find complete different rules. Still: why are most land animals mammals and all mammals so similar? What happened to creatures with three fingers? Creatures with four arms? Creatures combining the legs of goats with a torso similar to humans?
What if they were once there, but humanity simply killed almost everything else in a previous era of civilization? With over 100.000 years of existence, our species might have seen earlier periods of some sort of higher technological development. And whatever ignorance there was, might have led to the disasters that left us with just our biological peers.
What if all fairy tales and all stories on gods and magic hold some grain of truth, distorted by millennia of ignorance? (This is not a new element, but like murder mysteries, you can twist it any way you like to make it taste fresh.)
Traction to finalize a novel
I have one story which has seen two attempts to become a novel. Mainly because I love the main character and her relationships.
The main character is born eyeless, a suicide poet and a nobody who’s only wish at that point of time is to go home to her father.
In the first installment I followed much the lines of Dhalgren: being a story of travel, meetings and discovery. The second installment introduced an additional element based on the question: “What if the dragons return, but are not dragons but any magical creature, and actually shape shifters? And what if they can not be killed by humans, but still their bones are found and show signs of killing and are stored in the basements of several musea?”
The second attempt plays in an alternative present. Where the world is suddenly rich with the returned species.
As a stand alone concept this was not enough to give the story enough momentum to be finished. Apart from a gimmick that might be applied in a different way but is not really new, there are not enough hooks to this current world to make a difference. There was not enough to develop the story int anything more but the average. And so I got bored and gave up on the story.
But what if the magical creatures were not the only ones killed and eradicated by humans? What if there was an entire range of other species just as alien and just as belonging to this world as we and they do and did?
What if there are cover ups to hide a deeper truth? (Required for the suspension of disbelief: “If bones are found of unknown species, why did we not know about this already?”)
What new element this take adds
Most stories that make an impact to me are the ones that take this world and something seemingly mundane and turn it into something that shifts your mind. Simply because it has always been around and you never paid any real attention to its strangeness until somebody pointed it out to you.
The gimmick-story now has an element that hooks directly into the mundane – and makes that mundane the proof of large scale murder of entire species.
It also gives me the hooks to make the first connections between the shape-shifters, their return and this world they returned to.
Current background stories to follow: a summary
- The shape shifters, the dragons have returned – Why? Why did they go? And why are they back?
- We have killed them in the past – Why? What happened. And how where we able if they are close to immortal?
- They disappeared – Again: why? Was it us or for some other reason?
- They are not the only species killed – It appears we killed everything except the ones in the sea an.d the ones related to our own mammelian template.
- There is some cover up – By whom? Why? How far back?
- What happened to our own civilizations? – How many where there? How far stretching? Why are there no traces apart from the distorted stories in fables?
- How does the killing of so many other species hook back to our own fables and the retrurn of the shape shifters? – Are they here to prevent? To judge? To live together?
Variety of species
The title: “Variety of species” came with the new point of view. And I think I will stick with it.