Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Yesterday I walked across my neighborhood and watched snow eddies skitter and fade across the pavement. Seeing an eddy up close produces a curious form of kinship, as if in the presence of something animate. It's somehow sacred and thrilling to have an eddy spin its fragile life away in your midst; the wind suddenly becomes an entity, distinct and defined, its machinations made visible like an organ saturated with dye and viewed on a medical scanner.

I wonder how it would feel to be on Mars and see a dust devil whirling my way, a blossom of sparks surfing an ocean of red.

I'm rethinking the novel I'd pledged to write around this time last year. I'm less than enthusiastic about a literal eco-dystopian slant; I think my abilities are better suited to a surrealized rendition. So ecological deterioration will take the form of something stranger and less heavy-handed -- in this case, alien terraforming machines, dirigible-like constructs that tease the barrier between living and nonliving as they go about patiently reforming our planet to an alien ideal.

They look like jellyfish as conceived by H.R. Giger -- not exactly hideous, but ruthlessly utilitarian, like the machines at the end of my short-story "The Visitors." The key is to make them so difficult to empathize with that they're rendered almost invisible to my fictional future society, easily displaced and forgotten in favor of more mundane concerns.


W.M. Bear said...

Sounds like a great concept! Minor point: What aliens would do to make a planet conform to their biospecs would not be "terraforming" (making a planet earthlike) but "xenoforming"?

W.M. Bear said...

Or "exoforming," take your pick.

weevee: uuiuccx (We'll all live to be 210!)

Mac said...

"The Xenoformers" ... I like that!

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