While mowing last week, I noticed a dandelion with several blooms all coming out of the top of one flat wide stem. This week, there were two more of the strange multi-blossomed stems, on different plants. Three abnormal plants in all. My dandelions have mutated.
As an organic gardener and lawn caretaker, there’s no escaping the fact, I have mutant plants. For five years we’ve gone chemical free. The payback? Mutant dandelions. We must have done something wrong.
I get some of my best ideas working in my yard, creating giant mutant dandelions wasn’t one. If anyone would like to pay me to study my dandelions. Please do. I’ll even let you dig them all out and cart them away as long as you replace them with organically grown sod.
Fortunately I’m working on planet building for my story and thinking about the shape of alien life. In my first draft, my thoughts of the aliens’ shape were vague. Now I’m trying to decide what they & their planet look like.
A book edited by Ben Bova and written by Stanley Schmidt, “Aliens and Alien Societies”, is this week’s source of inspiration. I’m stuck on page 11, in the section on plausibility. It’s the idea about taking an Earth creature, inflating it to mammoth proportions and claiming it came from outer space in its own spacecraft, but it still looks and acts like a giant Earth creature. Think 1950’s creature features, the example Schmidt uses is a tarantula. If it’s not from Earth and is the dominate species on its planet and intelligent enough to create space travel, the question is why would it act like an Earth spider? Earth spiders aren’t dominant. Birds eat them. They are easy to swat or scoop up and toss outside. So the alien spider-thing would be a different creature altogether. (I’m not using bugs in my current story.)
This idea has captured my imagination. I’m not physically writing my story today, but thinking my aliens and their planet into existence. To my neighbors, it looks like I’m sitting on my patio with my eyes closed soaking up the sun. I need a cup of coffee. Planet building is a tough job.