A MISSING LINK

One of the concepts I found intriguing about dinosaurs is that even though birds are the direct descendants of dinosaurs, not all dinosaurs were related to birds. At some point in their evolution, dinosaurs diverged in two different directions: some dinosaurs that had ties to birds and some that had ties to reptiles. In my new dinosaur book, one of the retro-engineering experiments will revolve around trying to discover the missing link dinosaurs had between birds and reptiles. Now that I think about it, when the gap between these two evolutionary paths is bridged, the results might be very unpredictable.

MY PREHISTORIC EXPERIENCES

As I brainstorm for my dinosaur story, I think back to the experiences I had with animals that had ties to prehistory. When I was a kid, my family own a cockatiel who was a skilled problem solver and frequently escaped from her cage. Her intellect reminded me of Velociraptors from Jurassic Park, who demonstrated similar problem solving skills such as learning to open doors. She even stalked the dogs while walking on the floor, which was also similar to how Velociraptors hunted their prey. I interact with birds every time I go to the pet store for dog food and I could see the same primal intelligence in their eyes; even the way they moved and bobbed their heads reminded me of predatory dinosaurs. I also own a desert tortoise, who reminded me of an Ankylosaurus due to being a herbivore and being armor-plated. One time, my tortoise got into a fight with one of our little dogs. The dog barked at the tortoise while the tortoise stomped his feet and hissed at the dog. This behavior reminded me of a Stegosaurus defending itself from an Allosaurus. In addition, when I think about my tortoise’s giant cousins in the Galapagos Islands, they more closely resemble the long necked sauropods such as Brachiosaurus in terms of appearance and eating habits. Even in zoos and wildlife documentaries, I get to see the undeniable dinosaur mentality in birds and reptiles waiting to wake up. When it comes to mammals such as lions and elephants, I could see the remnants of the saber-toothed cats and wooly mammoths lingering within them. When I remember these interactions and consider the retro-engineering experiment, I wonder how much of their innate prehistoric nature would be awakened as their bodies start to resemble their ancestors’. Part of me is frightened by the concept while the rest of me is fascinated by it. It will be something fun to tinker with as I brainstorm the story. While Jurassic Park talks about bringing dinosaurs back from extinction, my story will highlight that dinosaurs and the Ice Age megafauna NEVER truly became extinct and just needed to be woken up.

NEW ROMANTIC INTEREST

In my previous post, I mentioned that the main character of my new dinosaur story would have difficulty connecting with his fellow humans. One such connection is learning how to love someone. The female lead of the story will have strong romantic feelings towards the protagonist and admires both his intellect and achievements, but she is having difficulty making him notice her due to his innate detachment. Her attempts to make him connect with her will serve as a component to both her character development and the development of the protagonist. It will be a complex love story between a man who does not know how to be human and a woman who is overflowing with humanity.

GENETICIST CHARACTER

For my new dinosaur story, the main character will be a young geneticist who engages in an experiment on evolution. I did some research and found out that the youngest person to graduate from college was ten years old. I am thinking of making my protagonist one of those rare genius prodigies. He creates his first retro-engineered animal when he’s a teenager and most of the story takes place when he’s in his early 20s. Essentially, my protagonist will be an undeniably smart character, but he won’t be a wise character. Due to having an unmatched intellect and gaining so much knowledge from an early age, the main character does not have enough experience when it comes to connecting with other people. In fact, he will have a deeper connection with his genetic creations than his fellow human beings. His lack of wisdom and experience will become contributing factors to when everything goes wrong. One of the main themes of the story is how the character learns to connect with fellow humans and learning empathy.

ANCIENT INSTINCTS

When it comes to retro-engineering birds back into dinosaurs, I think there will be certain consequences. Altering an animals genes won’t just change them physically, but mentally as well. Birds have 65 million years of dormant instincts waiting to wake up. I have interacted with chickens in my university’s annual petting zoo and they definitely felt like miniature dinosaurs. Modern birds may be in touch with their inner dinosaur to a certain degree, but what if that connection deepens as their prehistoric genes are awakened? For instance, as a chicken becomes more dinosaur-like they may start acting more like predatory raptors than tame livestock. This will be a theme I will explore when I write my book about retro-engineered dinosaurs.

SCIFI EVOLUTION STORY IDEA

In previous posts, I mentioned an experiment that was underway to retro-engineer bird embryos back into dinosaurs. At first, I toyed with the idea of using that concept to write my own dinosaur theme park story, but I have decided to discard that idea. Instead, I will use the experiment as inspiration for another story idea. This new story idea will revolve around a young geneticist who runs an experiment on evolution, which involves awakening dormant genes in bird embryos. Eventually, his experiment leads him to retro-engineer a number of clutches of bird eggs. At first, the experiment goes his way until certain side effects start to appear in his specimens. Slowly yet surely, all hell will break loose.

AN ANCIENT EVIL

One of the factors that helped shape Gradaia as a world was the Dark Death. The Dark Death was an event that wiped out half the population of Gradaia, caused widespread civil war, the loss of most magic in the world, and resulted in the decline and overthrow of the Marvak Dynasty and the rise of the Sylva Dynasty. However, I purposely left it ambiguous as to what the Dark Death actually was. Some say it was a pestilence while others thought it was some magic ritual that went wrong. At some point in my fantasy series, I will reveal what the Dark Death was and what caused it.

A MYSTICAL DISTURBANCE

In my fantasy series, magic has been a fluctuating force in Gradaia. Before humans came to the continent, magic was everywhere even in the very soil. However, after humans interbred with elves and produced the first Druids, magic gradually became increasingly diluted over the millennia. After the Dark Death, magic became so rare that only two Druid bloodlines remained in the entire continent. In addition, most magical secrets that had been accumulated were lost and forgotten. As a result, whatever magic that remained were just the basics instead of mastery. However, something happens during my main character’s reign that causes magic to slowly return to the world. Sadly, this resurgence in magic will cause some drastic consequences to the natural balance. Creatures and forces that became silent and reclusive for centuries due to the lack of magic start to emerge.

GOBLINS

Goblins have often been featured in fantasy stories such as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Labyrinth. I am planning to feature goblins in my third fantasy book, but they will far more primitive than the goblins that have been seen in the past. Also, I will be heavily reimagining my version of goblins by making them semi-sentient, capable of some degree of intelligence yet far more animal-like and won’t be able to speak. Their culture will resemble the lifestyle of Neanderthals with no armor and crude weapons. In fact, these goblins won’t even be humanoid in appearance like previous versions. For years, goblins have been keeping to themselves and staying hidden, but something happens that causes them to venture out of their dark lairs.