Thursday, March 19, 2009

Alternative Evolution on Ratha's Island

Clare Bell is exploring a bit of alternative evolution set in the prehistoric world of Ratha, an intelligent self-aware cats. Her new novellette ". . . sends Ratha to a large island where evolution has taken a different course than on the mainland."

* SPOILER * The evolutionary twist is that the vertebrates on the island evolved from a fish that "walks on three pairs of fins." As you might imagine, that gives the island's creatures a bit of a leg up on vertebrates descended from lobed-fin fish like the fossil Tiktaalik (pictured at right). * SPOILER *

The story is also a bit of experimental modern story-telling in that it's being published sentence-by-sentence on Twitter. I think it's interesting to see how the limit of 140 characters for each sentence affects the flow of storytelling. It reads a bit choppy to me so far, but that may change as the story develops. I'm looking forward to the appearance of the alternatively evolved critters.

You can follow the story's progress on Twitter (RSS feed), or read the regularly updated log post at The Scratching Log. The blog post also has links to information about the paleontology behind the various animals in her story.

Bell's twitter feed also points to two interesting related sites: the Speculative Evolution forum and The World We Don't Live In blog.

Clare Bell's short story, "Bonechewer's Legacy" was recently published in Firebirds Soaring: An Anthology of Original Speculative Fiction. The fifth book her "Named" series, Ratha's Courage, was released last October.

Related Post: Ratha's Creatures

Image: Tiktaalik rosae drawing by ArthurWeasley on Wikipedia
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