Author Archives: dan

Switching Dinosaurs and Mammals

The Triassic was a battleground, in which dinosaurs and mammals warred to see who would inherit the niches left empty after the Permian extinction. At first, both sides seemed equally matched, with dinosaurs like Eoraptor (1) competing more less directly … Continue reading

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Draw the Rabbit Skull, Daddy

“Draw the rabbit skull, daddy,” she said. “We’ll be conservationists together,” she said. So I drew the rabbit skull. And so did she. “I can’t draw rabbit skulls, daddy. This is a dolly pretending to be a princess. She has blue … Continue reading

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Humans are not adorable

Something I feel would fit comfortably into the New Frontiers universe: http://viergacht.tumblr.com/post/159075455392/humans-are-adorable Text: Pft! Please. The alien who wrote that is obviously an fan-grub who has only seen pictures of humans on the ansible. Those of us who actually work … Continue reading

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The Fire Nation Verb

The Fire Nation Verb-Tense-Aspect system: “wood” (irrealis) “burning” (incomplete) “ash” (complete) Ka-o ægni = The fire would burn/will burn/burns in principle Ka-i ægni = The fire is burning/burns often Ka-a ægni = The fire burned out/has burned out (combine them … Continue reading

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Mole Riding!

It would work, I tell you! from dumblr! https://danbensen.tumblr.com/post/158957171950/how-would-one-go-around-riding-that-burrows-like

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Awful Symmetry 1: The Believable Monster

This is the first chapter of a short introduction to speculative biology. It was seen first by subscribers, so, you know…subscribe. Introduction: The Believable Monster The Imagine a tiger. Striped fur over bunching muscles. Its sharp, wet smell. Hot air … Continue reading

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Let slip the Birds of War!

This started as a conversation with the Great Khan Melissa Walshe about how Central Asian horse nomads like the Mongols had a big advantage over city-dwelling people (hint: the answer is “horses.”) Melissa isn’t a horse nomad, but she does raise chickens and she … Continue reading

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The Very Worst Thing

I’m working through Story Genius by Lisa Cron and I thought I’d share some of the process. Here’s the sixth exercise in the book. “Given her misbelief, what does she think the very worst thing that could happen would be?” Ruth … Continue reading

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The Sommalier Theory of Genre Fiction

I’ve been wrestling recently with why I like some books and don’t like others, which has led me to drinking thinking more deeply about what genre fiction delivers to its readers. Emotional investment. That sense of what will happen to them next?? Also … Continue reading

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Why does Ruth want it?

I’m working through Story Genius by Lisa Cron and I thought I’d share some of the process. Here’s the sixth exercise in the book. “why does your protagonist want what she wants?” Ruth wants Johnnie Magician in jail because he deserves … Continue reading

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