Thursday, July 6, 2017

Conspiracy theories and plot bunnies.

When you run out of ideas for an SF story, you can always turn to the Internet for whacky news reports. My husband sent me this article the other day, from the UK Express, a newspaper which I'm sure is acknowledged as an expert on scientific discoveries. (Just a minute while I get my tongue out of my cheek.) Even so, it's all good fodder for plot bunnies.

Scroll on down the page for most of the 'recognisable [insert object/animal]' objects on Mars. It's a phenomenon known as apophenia. Humans are very, very good at finding faces in the most unlikely everyday items, clouds, hillsides - you name it.

This rock shape is a case in point. A soldier wearing a helmet, right? Ancient sculpture weathered by the elements, right? The famous 'face on Mars' actually led to a (not very good) movie called Mission to Mars. The face itself turned out to be a pretty ordinary piece of terrain which didn't look anything like as interesting with better resolution cameras. But the conspiracy theories remain, as you'll see in this short clip.

And in this one, which was floated just recently. It seems child slaves have been spirited away to Mars. And it's a twenty-year trip.

Whatever. We humans are wonderful at weaving stories from not much at all. We explain phenomena like the Milky Way with a story, the waxing and waning of the moon with a story, constellations like Orion the Hunter with a story.

These days, of course, we know stars are balls of burning hydrogen, and the moon reflects the light of the sun. But Mars... it's going to be fascinating to actually arrive there and find out if there are remnants of a Martian civilization. I hope I'm around to see that. And I also hope that it's nothing like the horrible movie Laurie reviewed in her latest post. Incidentally, I wrote this post before I read Laurie's reviews. We must have Martians on our minds :)

In other news - there isn't much. I'm whittling away at my new story, slowly but surely. For now, here's a few paragraphs from the first page, unedited.

Celia Whitley fumed. That… that bastard, Lord Piraneus. Trumped up, over himself, oily… prick. How dare he? She shook off the hand of the guard attempting to escort her out of the room. Nobody was going to throw her out. Nobody. She marched to the foyer and jabbed the call button for a car. Two of the uniformed lackeys slipped into the elevator with her before she could stop them. She faced the door, ignoring their presence, as the numbers counted down to the ground floor. She strode across the foyer, her heels beating a sharp staccato on the marble floor. The guards caught up with her, one on each side but they didn't try to touch her. Senator Ackroyd came through the doors toward her and recognized her, his lips curving into a smile which quickly disappeared. He'd also recognized what was happening. Of course he would. Soon enough, everyone would know. Celia swallowed the bitterness.

She reached the entrance, stepped through the auto doors and stood at the top of the flight of stairs leading from the senate building to the Imperial square which as usual, milled with people, some on business, many here to gawk at the Imperial palace directly opposite the senate building. The guards stopped. She glared at each of them, daring them to say something but, their faces impassive, they turned and went back inside. They didn't go far though, as if waiting to see if she was stupid enough to try to return to the building.

She might have been sacked but she wasn't stupid.

Personally, I'm waiting for pictures of Pippa's hatched chickens.

1 comment:

  1. Funnily enough I saw a tweet recently from one of my fave odd facts accounts that 'Neurotic people are more likely to see faces in objects.' I pointed this out to my hubs as he'd just insisted seeing a face in a cloud while me and youngest were all 'er, not really.' :P


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