Yesterday I sat down and began work on what I'd hoped would be the first section of The Dinosaurs of Mars, "Black Noise (Boston, 1/5/2037)." But after about five hundred or so words, I realized that I was only writing a different version of the opening scene of "Galápagos." And, in truth, much of the novella has, in the eight years since I first conceived of it, already appeared in various other short stories of mine, including "Galápagos," "Our Lady of Tharsis Tholus," and "Blind Fish." What's more, forcing myself to have a good, hard look at the whole, the story really isn't that different from The Dry Salvages. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean it isn't worth writing. I could certainly do a better job on The Dry Salvages were I to write it today than I did when I wrote it ten years ago.
But, that said, looking at everything I need to be writing and the things I'd actually like to write, I cannot, in all honesty, justify spending a month or more revisiting such familiar territory. Myself, I do love tales in which intrepid interplanetary/interstellar explorers stumble upon some terrible, ancient mystery, and it forever shakes their most cherished concepts of the universe. I'm also not someone who worries a great deal about originality. If a tale was worth telling once, it's worth retelling. However, there's only so much of me to go around. Which brings me back around to not being able to justify writing this novella right now. And, after eight years of publicly talking about The Dinosaurs of Mars, I'm not about the shelve it again. Instead, I'm just going to call this one a stillbirth. Truthfully, this is a realization, a decision, I ought to have come to, to have made, a long time ago.
When I was talking with Bill Schafer on Sunday I told him this was a possibility, the way thing were looking, and he said, "It happens."
And I can now move on to other projects. I've promised Bill a different novella, whenever one occurs to me.
Late last night, I saw the final layout for Lee Moyer's cover of Beneath an Oil-Dark Sea, and wow.
Last night, I dug out an old issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (June 2003) and read "A new notosuchian from the Early Cretaceous of Niger," the type description of Anatosuchus minor. I can't quite now remember why I went looking for that paper. But I did.
I have half a mind to do some work on neglected paleontological articles on Wikipedia, the ones that are nothing but "stubs." But will say what other paleontologists before me have said about working on Wikipedia articles (Darren Naish comes to mind): It's hardly worth my effort, to get an article written, only to have someone with no particular knowledge or credentials come in behind me and rewrite everything on a whim or out of misguided...whatever. It is a major flaw of Wikipedia that it favors "consensus over authority – the knowledge of many people is considered more valuable and correct than the knowledge of any one person." Which is moronic.
Okay. Later, kiddos.