A LESSER SON OF GREATER SIRES

In my third fantasy book, I am thinking of adding a unique personality trait to my main character. He becomes emperor at an early age, which makes him the first member of the Magnus Dynasty to legitimately inherit the Imperial Throne. Despite being the most powerful individual in the entire Empire, my protagonist will be plagued by doubts and insecurities. His grandfather was a monster slayer and revolutionary while his father, uncles, and aunt were warriors and conquerors. He has some serious shoes to fill in order to live up to the Magnus name and legacy. It also gives him an inferiority complex when he compares himself to the rest of his kin. The third volume of my fantasy series will revolve around his quest to achieve his moment of everlasting Magnus glory.

FIRST ILLUSTRATION PROGRESS

I have splendid news regarding my first illustration for my dinosaur book. I received the last design of the illustration. It depicts the apex predator of Kaligen Island. My illustrator is currently finalizing the design for the actual picture. The first illustration has exceeded all possible expectations. For the longest time, I wanted to visually see what I am imaging rather than just envision it. With this illustration, my wish is coming true. After the finalization process with this picture is complete it will be one illustration down and fifteen to go. I look forward to the completion of this collaboration and see my menagerie of fictional dinosaurs. I will keep you updated on any further developments.

A PREDATOR TRAP

Over the years, I visited the La Brea Tar Pits several times. It is one of the biggest Pleistocene fossil hotspots in the world. The La Brea Tar Pits are what is called a “predator trap”. Large herbivores such as mammoths, ground sloths, and wooly rhinos would get stuck in the tar. Their helplessness and cries of distress become a dinner bell for opportunistic predators such as saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, and short-faced bears. These carnivores would feast on the trapped herbivores until they themselves become stuck. These trapped predators then attract more predators to the tar pit. Finally, all these piled up corpses attract scavengers such as vultures, which also become stuck. This starts an endless cycle where predator and prey become stuck together in the tar, which created one of the biggest prehistoric mass graves in America. I am thinking of writing a scene in my dinosaur series where my fictional dinosaur species get caught in a similar predator trap.

THE REAL DR. FRANKENSTEIN

Everyone remembers the experiment where Dr. Frankenstein gave his monster life with a bolt of lightning. Believe it or not, a similar experiment took place in real life. In the early 1800s, there was a man named George Forster, who murdered his wife and daughter. He was sentenced to death and would have his body dissected. In these days, the bodies of murderers would be dissected to prevent them from rising during Judgement Day. However, George Forster’s corpse was not dissected. Instead it was acquired by a scientist known as Giovanni Aldini, nephew of fellow scientist Luigi Galvani. Galvani developed a method to stimulate muscle movement with electrical currents called Galvanism. Aldini would take his uncle’s research in Galvanism progress to the next step. Aldini would use Forster’s corpse in a public experiment that attracted a crowd of thrill seekers. Aldini would subject the body to wires and cords that were hooked up to a specially made battery. When the electrical current went through George Forster’s body, it produced results that both intrigued and terrified the surrounding audience. The lips and jaws began to grimace, the left eye flew open, a hand formed a fist and punched at the air, the back arched violently, and the legs and feet banged against the operating table. This unnatural display was so horrifying that one man in the audience literally died of fright from a heart attack. Ultimately, Aldini’s experiment failed to bring a man back from the dead. In a dark sense of irony, the experiment was intended to bring back the dead yet it killed a man instead. It was this real life experiment that gave Mary Shelly the inspiration she needed to write Frankenstein. The battery that was used in the experiment would form the groundwork for our modern cell phone batteries. Back in the 1800s, electricity was relatively hard to come by. However, in the 21st century, electricity is super easy to access. Due to this, I wonder how the experiment would look like if it was done with 21st century technology. I will ponder this as I write my reimagining of the Frankenstein story.

A MODERN MONSTER

When we think of Frankenstein’s monster, we think of a giant humanoid held together by visible bolts and sutures. In Mary Shelly’s original classic, the monster was described as having watery white eyes, yellow skin, and poorly concealed muscle fibers and blood vessels. All of this was done with 18th century technology. With this in mind, I wonder what the monster would have looked like if it was created with 21st century technology. I can imagine it would be cleaner and far less grotesque, but there would still be some deformities, which is inevitable when you build a man from scratch. I have a number of ideas what kind of modern technology would be required to create such a monster. I will be featuring these methods in my reimagining of the Frankenstein story.

PROTOTYPE MONSTER

In every experiment, there are bound to be prototypes that precede the final product. In my reimagining of the Frankenstein story, there will be a prototype monster that comes before the main monster. Unlike the main monster, this prototype will consist of animal parts instead of human parts. I will not say what animal parts will make up this prototype, but I can say that this creature will be a supporting character who possesses a special link with the main monster.

NURTURE VS NATURE

In Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, Dr. Victor Frankenstein abandoned his monster as soon as it came to life. As a result, the monster was left alone, had to learn things on his own, and was subjected to the cruelties of the world. Lacking a loving upbringing and guidance played a significant role in the monster’s descent into a violent and vengeful creature.

However, I often wonder how the monster would have turned out if he was not abandoned by Dr. Frankenstein and was given a proper upbringing and education. Would the monster become a better person if his creator took responsibility for him?

In my reimagining of the Frankenstein story, I am envisioning the monster having the mental and emotional level of a small child when it first comes to life. Over time, the creature rapidly evolves and learns because its creator pays attention to its needs. You could say that my main character’s relationship with the monster will be similar to Elliot and E.T. This would be in the sense that the main character will befriend the monster, teach him the ways of the world, and protect him with the help of his friends.

Like E.T., the government will eventually come for them in the form of the local police and the FBI. Still, even though the monster will be nurtured, educated, and protected by the main character and his friends, the rest of the world will not be as accepting. Like the original monster, my version of the creature will still be a misunderstood misfit.

Overall, Dr. Frankenstein and his relationship with his creation is a prime example of nature versus nurture. We have seen what happens when the monster is neglected. Now, it is time to see what happens when the creature is nurtured.

IF I WAS LIMITLESS

In the film Limitless, Bradley Cooper was given a drug that gave him superhuman intelligence. With this intelligence, he was able to perform tremendous mental and social feats. For me, the feat that stood out the most was his ability to write an entire book in a matter of days. The book became a best seller despite being written so fast. If I had the mental capabilities Bradley Cooper displayed as a writer, I could finish writing all of my story ideas in a matter of months. Like Bradley Cooper, the mind-enhancing drug would enable me to multitask with the writing process such as typing, rewriting, brainstorming, and recalling inspiration all at once. That would be a perfect way to spend a pandemic summer vacation. Every story I ever wanted to tell would be ready for publication on the same day! Then I would be spending several hours publishing one book after another, which would attract a lot of attention. I would require witnesses to prove that I was actually capable of doing this level of writing. It may take away the pleasure part of writing because it would be done so quickly, but it would guarantee that every single one of my story ideas would be told before I die. I would definitely want this capability as a writer if I was in Bradley Cooper’s shoes.

FRANKENSTEIN REIMAGINED

For over two hundred years, Mary Shelly’s classic tale Frankenstein has both terrified and entertained audiences. It is the story of a misguided man of science who creates an uncontrollable monster. Over the years, the story has been retold in numerous books and films.

Some authors even wrote their own reimagined versions of the story in their own original way. Above are a few examples of authors who reimagined and retold the Frankenstein story in their own style. I am thinking of following in the footsteps of those authors because there is something that has always scratched at the back of my mind. How would Dr. Frankenstein create the monster with modern technology?

My reimagining of the classic tale would take place in the mid-21 century and it would revolve around a highly intelligent young surgeon with autism. However, his mother is afflicted with cancer. Desperate for a way to save his mother’s life, the surgeon finds the notes of a distant ancestor who was a practitioner of alchemy. With these notes, the surgeon fights tirelessly for a way for his mother to cheat death. However, things go out of control when the surgeon completes his experiment. While this is happening, the police slowly discover the surgeon’s activities and creation.

Essentially, my retelling of the Frankenstein story will have completely new characters with new names and backgrounds. The surgeon will not even be named “Frankenstein”. The sections about the surgeon being autistic and the mother having cancer I am basing on experience on my part. With this in mind, this reimagined story would be very personal to me. I will let you know when I begin with this project.

DINOSAUR FIELD GUIDE

In addition to my first dinosaur book, I will be writing a field guide that gives an in depth description of my fictional dinosaurs and how they affect their surrounding environment. The illustrations that are currently being made will also be included in this field guide. The field guide will be written from the point of view of a high ranking scientist who works for the company that created the dinosaurs. I am forty-two pages in, I have five more dinosaurs to write about, and there are a few sections that require expansion. With any luck, I may be able to publish this field guide and the main dinosaur book at the same time, which will make total published books to ten. I will keep you updated on any further developments. Wish me luck!