Sometimes, real life wins.

Early posts tonight. My body insisted this morning that 2:30 am does not count as an ‘early night’ and made threats that I must heed. Still, there are signs that there will be a stabilisation of working hours soon – and I’ll be back to afternoon starts, even later than before. I’ll work later in the evening but that’s okay, the nocturnal life suits me fine.

At night is when I write best. Considering the usual subject matter I suppose that’s hardly surprising. It’s hard to write about madness and demons when the sun is shining and the birds are tweeting their hateful joy all over the place. I still put out food for them because I like birds, but even so, the day-birds are not helpful in the writing. The strange and mournful calls of the night-birds are much better for setting the mood.

Anyway, I have many aborted short stories on file. The ones that started out promising but really didn’t have anywhere to go. No decent ending, or at least no decent and credible way to arrive at that ending. They languish until an idea pops up that fits those random paragraphs.

One such tale involved a rich idiot who thought it awfully cool to buy ice cores from Antarctica and use ice that was thousands of years old to cool his gin. What he didn’t realise was that, frozen in that ice, was a virus long extinct. A virus that infected the tiny mammals that lived along with the dinosaurs. A virus capable of infecting humans and the human immune system had never seen anything like it.

The story stalled on two points. First, I couldn’t decide what the virus would do (not zombies, I have another virus story for that) and second, could a virus still be viable after all that time? Was it believable?

The first point is not solved. It can’t just be a horrible death. It has to do more.

The second point though, ah now there I wish I had persevered. I could have taken calls of ‘No virus could survive that long’ on the chin and just waited.

The virus they found does not infect humans but it has survived 30,000 years in ice. Naturally, they scare people with ‘global warming will release more viruses’ which is tripe, intended only to get them eternal funding. That part is possibly the most annoying.

It is not the job of science to go around scaring people.

That’s the writer’s job.


6 thoughts on “Sometimes, real life wins.

  1. The idea of the frozen virus was explored in the Peter Hoeg novel “Ms Smilla’s Feeling For Snow”, later filmed with Julia Ormond in the eponymous role (but with a slightly different title, which I can’t recall at the moment).


  2. “Naturally, they scare people with ‘global warming will release more viruses’ which is tripe, intended only to get them eternal funding.””

    Yes, I’d picked up on that point as well when I saw the otherwise interesting story.


    The “reaching” by the Warmers is almost as bad as the “reaching” by the Antismokers. Unfortunately some of the warming skeptics are so frightened of being labeled as “Deniers” that they’re scared to death of having anything to do with smoking-ban skeptics. Anthony Watts, of the otherwise well done “Watts Up With That?” blog, has banned me from posting there unless I go into my WordPress account and blank out my ID info on smoking for every post I make there. And when I occasionally email him to point out a similarity he might be able to use in his fight I get back emails telling me he’s “not effing interested” in the smoking perspective on science analysis.




    • As long as they refuse to see the connection, they will continue to be treated like smokers. The same template, same techniques, same denormalisation.

      We can’t help them as long as they think they’ll curry favour with the Puritans by hating us. They’ll just have to fall.


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