My all time favorite Christmas story would be A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. We were introduced to three spirits who represented the past, present, and future. The spirit that really intrigued me was the Ghost of Christmas Future. For the longest time, I have wondered why he looked like the Grim Reaper and why he did not speak. After much analysis, I believe I have an idea of why the Ghost of Christmas Future was portrayed this way. He looks like the Grim Reaper because death is the one future everyone inevitably faces. He does not speak because he is the embodiment of the future and the future is unknown and in motion. If he speaks, then the future will no longer be unknown and would be set in stone. As Ebenezer Scrooge proved, his fate was not set in stone because the Ghost of Christmas Future did not speak a single word to him. If the spirit did speak, then Scrooge would not escape the dark fate he was shown.
The pieces of my second dinosaur book are starting to come together and it will take place immediately after the ending of the first one. The first stages of the dinosaur apocalypse will begin. I cannot reveal details without spoiling the first book. However, I have established the ending in such a way that the dinosaur apocalypse can start in a variety of different ways. It is going to be a story about the single greatest case of invasive species in world history. I will be drawing inspiration from real life cases of when humans tried to get rid of invasive species such as the snakehead fish. However, the government will run into unexpected problems when dealing with the sudden appearance of dinosaurs. While the preparations for my first book are being made, I think I will start the second one and I know just where to begin. I will keep you updated on any further developments.
For decades, we have always dreaded the idea of being chased by large carnivorous dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus Rex. However, even though giant dinosaurs are powerful and terrifying, I believe little dinosaurs are more dangerous than their big cousins. The reason I think this is because due to their small size, tiny predators can remain hidden and breed a legion before anyone notices. When their population becomes big enough, they could potentially overrun a town. That will be a concept I will tinker with in future volumes of my dinosaur series.
The following contains spoilers from the novel version of Jurassic Park. It also contains details some might find disturbing. You have been warned.
For the past few days, I have been listening to the audiobook version of Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. I am about a third of the way through and the death scenes are darker, more graphic, and more brutal than the movies ever were. Michael Crichton did not shy away from the grimy details when he wrote this and he showed no mercy to any of his characters.
Around the beginning of the story, we got to see a death scene that was so disturbing that it would have made the movie R-rated if it was ever included. A trio of Procompsognathus were eating a newborn baby alive in its crib. Apparently, the Compys ate the baby’s face off one piece of flesh at a time.
After hearing this section of the book, I am glad they excluded it from the film. If they hadn’t, my parents would never have let me see it until I was seventeen. Although it was disturbing for a newborn infant to be eaten alive by small dinosaurs, it demonstrated that Mother Nature does not discriminate between the innocent or the guilty. It does not matter if you’re a child or an adult, wild predators target us all the same.
Also, there is a kind of primal pragmatism with the Compys eating the baby. As predators, the Compys would target prey that was small, weak, and helpless. This way, the Compys would avoid injury and win an easy meal. It’s the same thing with every predator in the animal kingdom.
I thought of a new story idea for my fantasy series. It will be a war story that has a similar feel to 1917 and Saving Private Ryan except it will take place in a medieval-style fantasy world. The story will revolve around a squad of peasant conscripts as they traverse a war-torn battlefield. Along the way, they will encounter fields of corpses, burned villages, and besieged towns. In addition, they have encounters with both their countrymen and enemy soldiers. To make the journey even more hazardous, these soldiers won’t have the best armor and weapons. This is due to the fact that they are peasants and can only afford cheap weapons and bring equipment from home. Meanwhile, they encounter soldiers who are better equipped and more battle-hardened than they are. They will also catch glimpses of dragons and magic. Overall, it is going to be a story with a lot of moving parts.
Even though I initially finished the first draft of my dinosaur book, I had a game-changing idea that I wanted to include in the story. Apparently, a certain dinosaur will leave an unexpected surprise for the humans. This surprise will be one of the many factors that will pave the way for future sequels in the series.
Easily the most famous mass extinction would be the one that wiped out the dinosaurs. Ironically, right before their extinction took place, the dinosaurs were at the zenith of their reign over the planet and would have continued to evolve and diversify if they were left alone. Sadly, all it took was one bad day to wipe all that prosperity away.
The asteroid that caused the dinosaur extinction was roughly 15 kilometers wide. When it crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula, it created a crater that was over 150 kilometers wide. If you were anywhere near the impact, you would see a flash of light and die instantly. After the asteroid landed, the impact produced an explosion of molten debris that was hurtled into space before being caught in the Earth’s gravity and crashing back down in a series of firestorms. Not only were landmasses set ablaze, but the flying reptiles such as the pterosaurs died out as flaming debris rained down on them in flight.
In addition, the asteroid’s explosion launched several gases, dust, and smoke into the atmosphere. This blocked out the sun for years and prevented plants from growing. This would be similar to what would happen during a nuclear winter. With no plants, the herbivores starved to death. Initially, carnivores and scavengers were given a banquet from all the carcasses. However, when all the corpses were picked clean, the carnivores inevitably starved as well.
The asteroid also caused a massive tsunami that exterminated all the marine reptiles. When the tsunami reached the mainland, any animals that survived the initial calamity were drowned. The fiery debris the asteroid launched into the atmosphere also produced acid rain to fall on the oceans, causing more destruction to marine ecosystems.
When the dust settled, over 75% of all life on Earth died out. The death and destruction was so immense that the planet could only sustain the smallest of life forms. These life forms include mammals no bigger than rats, dinosaurs that were no bigger than chickens, and whatever marine life survived. The rat-like mammals would waste no time filling the power vacuum the dinosaurs left behind. They would grow, evolve, and diversify into all shapes and sizes. The few dinosaurs that survived the extinction would evolve into birds and would never be restored to their larger size.
Not only was the dinosaur extinction the most famous mass extinction of all time, but it altered the course of natural history forever. If it was not for that asteroid, the dinosaurs would still be ruling the Earth right now and humanity would still be rodents cowering in their burrows. Unlike other mass extinctions in the past, which took place over many centuries, the dinosaur extinction was instant and global.
With Christmas around the corner, I would like to talk about some of my childhood favorite Christmas movies, Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. Obviously the most iconic aspect of these films was how Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern walk through a gauntlet of booby traps as though they were in a Three Stooges episode. In the videos above, some medical experts analyze the injuries they sustained from the booby traps and what would happen to them in real life. I liked how brutally honest and blunt the experts were.
As I delve into the history of House Targaryen, I turn my attention to the tragedy of their cadet branch, House Blackfyre. Like many great houses, the Targaryens had their own cadet branches of relatives. House Baratheon was rumored to be a cadet branch of House Targaryen, but this was never confirmed. The only confirmed cadet branch of the red dragon was the black dragon of House Blackfyre, which died out decades before the main story of Game of Thrones.
The story of House Blackfyre began during the reign of Aegon the Unworthy, who was both famous and infamous for his insatiable sexual appetite. Due to his numerous mistresses and affairs, Aegon had a large brood of bastard children. The greatest of these bastards was Daemon Waters, who was his father’s favorite child. Aegon the Unworthy favored Daemon so greatly that he knighted the boy when he was twelve and gifted him Blackfyre, the ancestral Valyrian steel sword of House Targaryen. When Aegon was on his deathbed, his final command was to legitimize all of his bastards, including Daemon.
With the passing of Aegon the Unworthy, Daemon’s legitimate half-brother Daeron the Good became king. Befitting his title as “The Good”, Daeron tried to be on good terms with Daemon and his other half-siblings. Daeron even gave Daemon an edict on his wedding that permitted him to build his own castle in the Crownlands. Sadly, simply having his own lands and castle was not enough for Daemon.
Since Daemon was legitimized, he had a claim to the Iron Throne. Also, several lords preferred Daemon over Daeron. This was because these lords were unsatisfied by the peace that Daeron promoted and wanted a warrior as their king, which they saw in Daemon. In addition, these lords saw Aegon gifting Blackfyre to Daemon as a sign that Aegon preferred Daemon as his heir despite being illegitimate. With his newly legitimized status, Daemon changed his surname from Waters to Blackfyre after the sword his father gave him.
After rallying his armies, Daemon declared war on his half-brother with the intention to claiming the Iron Throne for himself. Ultimately, Daemon and his two eldest sons were killed on the Redgrass Field while the rest of his children fled into exile. Despite Daemon’s death, his descendants would continue to plague the Targaryens with four more rebellions of fire and blood. The male bloodline of House Blackfyre was severed when Barristan Selmy slew Maelys the Monstrous on the Stepstones during the final Blackfyre Rebellion. What happened to the female bloodline of House Blackfyre is unknown.
I call the fate of House Blackfyre a tragedy because if they had known their place, they would still be alive and enjoying a castle not far from King’s Landing. They could have had the positive relationship with their Targaryen relatives that Daeron the Good wanted. Great houses such as the Starks, Lannisters, Tyrells, and so on had working relationships with their cadet branches that lasted for centuries. Sadly, a dragon’s ambition burns too hot and the Iron Throne is too great a prize to resist.
“If an Empire cannot protect its Emperor then that Empire must be deemed a failure. It collapses not only because its central figure is gone, but because it must not be allowed to remain!“
After Rise of Skywalker, several fans were not happy that Emperor Palpatine returned. However, after analyzing all the clues and Palpatine’s meticulous mindset, I think I have a complete overview of Palpatine’s machinations that led to his return. The plan makes perfect sense and was utterly brilliant when you analyze all the clues that can be found in the extended Canon. Palpatine was a man who always had plans within plans so it would make sense that he would have a plan for his eventual death as well.
Shortly after the original Expanded Universe of Star Wars was scrapped, we were introduced to Emperor Palpatine’s Contingency program. The Contingency was an insurance policy that would destroy the Galactic Empire if Palpatine died prematurely. In Palpatine’s mind, if the Empire could not protect him then it must be destroyed. Also, Palpatine was so greedy that he did not want anyone to succeed him as Emperor.
Thanks to the information provided by Grand Admiral Thrawn, Palpatine was able to map out a route through the previously unexplored Unknown Regions. Throughout his reign, Palpatine established shipyards and training facilities in key locations in the Unknown Regions. If anything were to happen to the Empire, only he and a select few would know the way to safety.
Thanks to the efforts of Palpatine’s protege Fleet Admiral Gallius Rax, the Galactic Empire imploded. However, only the weakest Imperials and the resources that were deemed unnecessary were wiped away. Those that were deemed strong and useful were spared. After the Battle of Jakku, whatever Imperials remained escaped into the Unknown Regions. Those Imperials would become the founding members of what would become the First Order. However, it was clear in Rise of Skywalker that not all the surviving Imperials went in the same direction in the Unknown Regions. While some surviving Imperials formed the First Order on Starkiller Base, others and members of the Acolytes of the Beyond formed the Sith Eternal and Final Order on Exegol.
As revealed by The Mandalorian, some Imperials such as Moff Gideon, Grand Admiral Thrawn, and their followers did not escape into the Unknown Regions. However, it was hinted that Moff Gideon’s Imperial remnant had ties to the First Order. This was revealed by what looked like failed attempts to create Supreme Leader Snoke floating in tanks. It has also been implied that Moff Gideon may have been using Grogu/Baby Yoda to help create Snoke. This was due to the fact that Moff Gideon was after Grogu’s midichlorians since the Force was strong with him. For all we know, they could have been trying to give Snoke an artificial connection to the Force by transplanting Grogu’s midichlorians into him. Either that or Moff Gideon needs Grogu’s midichlorians to help stabilize Palpatine’s imperfect clone body.
Now, we come to the core of Palpatine’s real plan. In the novelization of Rise of Skywalker, it was revealed how Darth Plagueis discovered the secret to cheat death. Unlike his Legends counterpart, Plagueis intended to transfer his essence into a clone body. Plagueis was even in the process of preparing his clone bodies, but Palpatine killed Plagueis in his sleep before he was ready to perform the ritual. Before Palpatine killed Plagueis, he seized his Master’s secret to cheat death for himself, which he later used when Anakin Skywalker killed him in Return of the Jedi. Also, Plagueis was a master at manipulating midichlorians to create life and Palpatine could have used that technique while creating Snoke and later Rey’s father.
Since the Galactic Empire was deemed a failure in Palpatine’s eyes, he resolved to create a newer and stronger Empire to take its place. Thanks to the revelations in Rise of Skywalker, we got a better idea of how he planned to do that. With Snoke as his puppet, Palpatine used the First Order as the vanguard to destroy the New Republic while Palpatine himself was safely hidden and prepared the last touches to the Final Order in the shadows. Thanks to decades of planning, Palpatine’s followers were able to refine and improve technology that was created during the reign of the Empire such as Death Star technology, which resulted in the creation of the Final Order’s fleet of Star Destroyers. The existence of this fleet would have ensured the long term continuation of Palpatine’s reign. Taking out one of those planet-killing Star Destroyers accomplishes nothing since there were thousands more in reserve. After the First Order fulfilled its function to wipe out the New Republic and make the wider galaxy vulnerable to invasion, Palpatine was ready to reveal himself to the galaxy, which was when he released his broadcast.
Unfortunately, despite Palpatine’s extensive planning for his return, he still needed one final piece to complete his scheme: a new body. Even though Palpatine was able to cheat death, the clone body his essence inhabited was imperfect and its composition was worsening due to his immense power in the dark side. If Palpatine was truly going to continue his reign, he needed a stronger and fitter body that would last a lot longer. That’s when he turned his attention to Kylo Ren, the grandson of his final apprentice, Darth Vader.
Through his puppet Snoke, Palpatine was able to orchestrate Ben Solo’s fall to the dark side and his transformation into Kylo Ren. Due to his own experience of killing his Master before he was ready to transfer his essence as well as his own death by Anakin’s hands, Palpatine did not want to train Kylo Ren himself. If Kylo Ren killed Palpatine before he was ready to transfer his essence, all of Palpatine’s plans would be ruined. Therefore, Palpatine used Snoke as his proxy to train Kylo Ren in the dark side. Eventually, Kylo Ren betrayed and killed Snoke and seized the mantle of Supreme Leader for himself. However, this was exactly what Palpatine wanted. Palpatine wanted Kylo Ren to develop the bloodlust and cunning necessary to strike down his Master. As revealed in Rise of Skywalker, the essence transfer ritual required Palpatine to be struck down and his essence would possess his killer. Since Kylo Ren proved able to strike down Snoke, he had the necessary instincts to initiate the ritual even if he was doing it unwittingly. Even though Palpatine said he was making Kylo Ren the new Emperor, but he was actually grooming him to become his eventual vessel. That was one of the reasons Palpatine released his broadcast to the galaxy: partly to spread confusion and fear to the wider galaxy and partly to make Kylo Ren come for him.
After Kylo Ren turned away from the dark side, Palpatine no longer considered him a suitable vessel to possess. This caused Palpatine to turn his attention to his granddaughter, Rey. Rey was selected as a potential vessel for two reasons: for her obvious blood ties to Palpatine himself and possessing her would end the Jedi. When she arrived on Exegol, Rey could feel Palpatine trying to influence her mind and she could see his thoughts and memories. When Rey refused to participate in Palpatine’s essence transfer ritual and sided with the redeemed Ben Solo, Palpatine no longer saw her as a viable vessel.
Palpatine tried to use Force Drain on Rey and Ben Solo, but he discovered that they were a dyad in the Force. As a dyad, Rey and Ben were two beings who were one and made more powerful through their bond. Palpatine quickly discovered that this dyad had the power to restore his ailing body to its full strength and drained Rey and Ben’s dyad. With his body and full power restored, Palpatine had achieved the final piece to his planned return and no longer needed to transfer to another body.
However, Palpatine’s successful return was short-lived as he was permanently destroyed by Rey and the combined strength of all the Jedi of the past. It is unknown if Palpatine managed to transfer his essence to another body before he was destroyed. Considering the only clone body he could inhabit after his first death was an imperfect one and Palpatine had thirty years to try and replace it and failed, it seems unlikely that Palpatine will be able to return this time. Also, the powerful army and fleet he spent decades to build was defeated by the combined strength of the Resistance and the Free Worlds fleet. In the end, Palpatine’s attempt to create a better and stronger Empire failed miserably.
Overall, Palpatine’s plan to cheat death and create a more powerful Empire was indeed brilliant and carefully planned out. It reveals the full extent and true nature of the Contingency program. It almost succeeded, but it was thwarted at the very last minute. One can only imagine how the galaxy would have turned out if Palpatine’s plan did succeed.