Sunday, October 21, 2018

Quickies: In Search Of An Idea

     (Leonard Nimoy, call your office!)

     As I await my cover artist’s creation, I’ve been maundering over what to do next fictionally. The Onteora Canon, as much fun as it’s been, deserves a rest, possibly a permanent one. Concerning the Spooner Federation Saga, with which I’ve had an equally good time (and which deserves at least one more novel), I haven’t quite worked up the energy for another volume in that especially taxing series. And I think I need to be away from Athene Academy and the futanari of Onteora County for a little while, for similar reasons.

     But I dislike idleness. To pause for a week or two after completing a novel-length story is one thing; to go on a months-long sabbatical away from fiction is quite another. Dangerous. I could lose my fictioneering chops and be relegated to nothing but these interminable op-eds for the rest of my days. So I’ve been casting about for a fresh idea that would sustain a novel-length story.

     Well, Our Lord and Savior has told us to pray for what we need, so this morning before Mass I asked Him – and His Dad and The Spook, of course – for an idea that would be:

  • Suitable for a novel-length story;
  • Usable in a fantasy or science fiction setting;
  • Relevant to contemporary discourse on a subject of interest.

     And glory be! I got one.

     What’s of greater current interest than ecological balances, eh? Damned near nothing I can think of. Perhaps the most contentious issue within that envelope would be the role of Man in the Terrestrial ecology. the loudest voices are those that proclaim that Man is an excrescence upon Earth’s ecology: an intruder who can only do harm, and whose effects we are morally obligated to minimize.

     But there are arguments, good ones, to the effect that the reverse is true: that Man is an integral part of the ecology, and that his subtraction from it would give rise to what any objective observer would call catastrophe... that is, if there were an objective observer around after Man had been removed from the scene.

     Now, in our temporal reality we would look for destructive organisms and pernicious influences that would surge beyond control without Man to moderate them. But a spec-fic approach would not be restricted to what we know of Earth in reality.

     Larry Niven, Steven Barnes, and Jerry Pournelle turned in a nice treatment of this idea in The Legacy of Heorot and sequelae. But that hasn’t used it up. There’s room for further exploration of the idea. A significant departure might include non-biological interactors with a planetary ecosystem: interactors that only Man can control.

     I’ll be tossing this around for a few days, I’m sure.

No comments: