Posts Tagged ‘dinosaurs’

The Road is Long…

You’ve been traveling all day. The road is dusty, and long, and it’s been hours since you’ve seen another soul. It’s getting late, and the thought of sleeping on the ground and potentially getting eaten by wolves is unappealing.

Finally, up ahead, you spy a man with a cart. It’s old and lists to one side, but this is a good sign. Surely he’s coming from somewhere. You hail him, and he raises a hand in return, seeming friendly enough.

“Is the a town up ahead?” you ask once you’re close enough.

“Aye,” says the farmer.

“One with an inn?” you ask, scarcely daring to hope. You’d give anything for a roof over your head. More for a warm, dry bed.

“Aye,” says the farmer again. “Not far now.”

Then he is gone, and you forge ahead, dreams of warmth and fire and food vivid in your mind.

Still, the day drags on, and your hope fades. The sun continues its descent, and there is still nothing. But then, finally, there is a break in the trees, and the outline of buildings against the red sky. So close now. You stumble into town, asking directions of a small child gathering water at the well. Following his directions, the building in question arises out of the dark, like a lover, welcoming and open. Your savior, your place of refuge…

So the small, mobile ones are on spring break (which, with the snow days last week, means I’m going a bit mad) and we’re up to our normal shenanigans. This week we’re making a town out of toilet paper rolls I’ve been hoarding. (Though the dog has gotten a few. She loves to eat them, Landsquid knows why.)

The town keeps relocating so it’s kind of an adventure as to where you’re going to find it next.

(All the buildings have lobsters on the roofs because the small, mobile ones were overjoyed by the idea.)

We also celebrated the first day of spring by planting flowers in a pink dinosaur, as you do.

(Note the snow on the ground outside. The littler, mobile one is confused why there is still snow if it is now spring.)

Been up to anything fun lately, squiders? Ideas for our growing town?

Boo on You, Network Television

I am swearing off network television. Admittedly I only follow, at most, a show at a time, but with rare exceptions science fiction and fantasy don’t fare very well. So I get into a show and it invariably gets cancelled. And I wonder why I bother. Wouldn’t I have been better off just never having watched at all, instead of getting involved and being forever without answers as to what is/was happening?

(We talked about this a bit back in August.)

Back in August, we were watching Falling Skies and debating watching Terra Nova. Well, long story short, the attraction of time travel and dinosaurs proved to be too much, and so my husband and I tuned into Terra Nova. And admittedly at points it was really corny, but I really liked it. I liked that it wasn’t dark all the time like so much of scifi feels it needs to be. And man, the season finale was amazing, promising at all sorts of new mysteries.

So of course it gets cancelled. The show ended in December and they just announced the cancellation last week, after dragging it out for months, waffling so much that they renewed some of the actors’ contracts before doing so.

I knew, since it was on Fox, that it stood a good chance of not making it to a second season, but I’m still disappointed. It seemed to be fairly well-received and was getting decent viewership, plus, come on, dinosaurs.

Between this and FlashForward the year before, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth my time to tune into any new show. Maybe I should just wait until they get a second season before I tune in, just in case.

(Falling Skies, by the by, got a second season, hurrah. So I’m 1 out of 3 of my last three shows.)

How goes your television viewing, Squiders? Breaking your heart? Or does your favorite show continue on? Any recommendations to heal the dinosaur-shaped hole in my life?

When Science Goes Stale

Last night, my husband and I watched Jurassic Park.  To make you all feel as old as I do, Jurassic Park came out eighteen years ago, in 1993.  I probably haven’t watched it in a decade, but I remember being really impressed with it (I even had the soundtrack).  DNA!  Dinosaurs!  Gene sequencing!

Turns out, it comes across really dated now.  The advances in Paleontology in the past decade have been immense – now we suspect most if not all dinosaurs had feathers, and, in some cases, we even know what color they were.  Even ignoring that, which admittedly people may not be up on if they are not as big of a dinosaur freak as I am (I had to explain to two people in the last week that there was no such thing as a brontosaurus – it was an apatosaurus put together wrong), they’re using CRT televisions.  Lex gets excited about a CD-ROM.  The “UNIX” that Jurassic Park runs on looks nothing like any UNIX I’ve ever used.

I started this post with the intention of talking about science fiction and how what can seem strange and cutting edge can be old news or just plain wrong in a matter of years – I don’t know if you’ve ever read Verne or Wells, they are brilliant, but oh, the science at times – but I realized it’s not just science fiction where this is a potential problem.  I read a mystery lately where I honestly wondered why the main character didn’t just look something up on the internet before I realized that it was because there was no internet, not really, in 1994 when the book was published.

What’s an author to do?  If you’re writing contemporary or science fiction, you don’t know how the world’s going to go, and it makes no sense to second-guess everything you write, from the internet to cell phones to air travel (I’m still hoping for reliable teleportation in the next few years).  I’ve seen this go a couple of different ways: 1) set the story in the near past (i.e. the last twenty years) where things are close enough to today to be  relate-able and the technology state is known, or 2) say Hell with it and go about your business as usual.

It is a bit aggravating when something you wrote four years ago has gone out of date technologically, however.

As a reader, does it pull you out of the narrative when the science and technology don’t mesh with how you know things to be now?  As a writer, what’s your approach when dealing with technology that is here today but may be gone tomorrow or may never come to be?

Vampires and Other Creatures that Lurk in the Night

Hm.  Longest post title ever?  Mayhaps!

I recently won a book in a contest.  It’s a collection of short stories called The Poison Eaters by Holly Black.  Some of her novels are on my TBR list but this was my first introduction to her.

I may do a full review on that here at some point, but that’s up in the air as that’s not the intent of this blog.

Anyway, many of her stories played on twists on common urban fantasy creatures – fairies, unicorns, vampires – and it got me to thinking.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I do not like vampires.  They are one of my very least favorite plot devices.  Over the years I have read several vampire-centric novels – Dracula, Interview with a  Vampire (and The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned), all four and a half Twilights, Bloodsucking Fiends, etc. – and no matter how well written (0r not) the books, nothing has changed my opinion.

Is it something ingrained?  Genetics?  I doubt that, actually, as my mother loves vampires.  She is at the opposite end of the spectrum as me.  Heck, she watches True Blood and she hates overly dramatized sex/violence.

It’s gotten to the point where if the word “vampire” is mentioned in connection with a book I will flee.  There’s really no logic to it.  Even if you count that vampire novels are oversaturated in today’s market.  It’s not that I have read too many vampire books and am sick of them, it’s that I was never unsick.

Shut up, Firefox, I can make up words if I want to.

I’m not terribly fond of other urban fantasy staples, though I do not have the same knee-jerk “Oh God No” reaction to them.  I am willing to try novels about werewolves or fairies if they are recommended to me.  I have no strong opinions about unicorns.  I like angels, am lukewarm about demons.

Zombies are fairly close to vampires, so one could draw the conclusion that there is something about the undead that turns me off.  Perhaps it is an instinct that I have evolved over the years to help me survive the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse.

There should be more dinosaurs in fantasy.  Also kraken.

One could ask why I read and write urban fantasy when I don’t really like the staples.  There’s  lots of reasons.  I like the idea of there being a more fantastical world just outside the realm of normal life, one that can be stumbled on accidentally.  I like seeing people I can relate to deal with strange situations.  I like the twists, the plays on life and mythology, the what ifs.

I could just do with less vampires.

Friday Round-up

Thank Landsquid it’s Friday, amirite?

Space/Science
Extreme Planet Makeover (Might be fun for world-building scifi/off-world fantasy)
Some confusion over the existence of the Triceratops
First One-Fingered Dinosaur Found (It is apparently Dinosaur Week.  But that’s okay, because dinosaurs are awesome.)
Picture of how deep into the universe we can see versus time

Scifi/Fantasy
Thundercats Cartoon Network Redesign  (Whhhhhhy leave my childhood alone)
Excerpt from The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham
5 Astronomical Goofs in Scifi Movies

Writing
Outlining
Find and Replace (Sweet!)
Best Tweets from WDC11
Query Vocab Lesson
Being a good critique partner

Miscellaneous
Today is the 25th anniversary of the Challenger Disaster. :\