Does Your Reasearch Open New Doors? Or Lead You Astray?

I didn’t post last week because I got lost in the research.  Bad habit, that.  But, like a sailor chasing a Siren’s call, I always want to know more, understand better, have a complete picture.

Yeah, I know; good luck with that last one.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of TV.  HOWEVER (and there’s always a caveat, isn’t there?), there is the History Channel.  Now, some of what is shown there can be taken with a grain (or, in my case, a dune) of salt.  Still, it’s like a virgin What If?  forest; a vast, untapped source of ideas, new perspectives, and, to be honest, in my opinion, some of the most cringe-worthy asininity you’ll ever see outside of prime-time reality series.

My sweetie knows what I’m studying, and when he saw an interesting clip on a History Channel program called Ancient Aliens, he recorded it for me for two reasons:  One, he remembered the incident depicted—his team got the incident report only to have it suddenly, and without explanation, rescinded; it simply disappeared.  Two, it dealt with a sunken island off the coast of Ireland that, according to Celtic legend, was home to the Fomorians (sea giants), a race of gods said to have preceded the Tuatha de Danaan.

Supposedly, when the Tuatha de Danaan defeated the Fomorians, the Fomorian Island, identified by Ancient Aliens as Hy Brasil, sank into the sea.  Thus, it is often referred to as The Other Atlantis.

Cool, huh?

But here’s the kicker; according to Ancient Aliens, this island might have been home to aliens who the unsophisticated people of the time considered gods because of their technology and “magical” powers.

Okay.  I agree.  This could easily fall into the asininity category if you aren’t inclined to embrace the concept of aliens.  However, again in my opinion, I believe it would be arrogant to assume, in a universe as vast as ours, we are the only sentient life forms.  Therefore, if other sentient beings exist, is it not possible they have visited here? 

The StarGate series approached this idea strictly using Egyptian gods, but could it not, in fact, be the foundation of the mythological structure of all early societies?  Considering the numerous parallels, it’s a possibility, and I do so love possibilities.

In case you don’t know, my alter ego writes science fiction romance, a genre diametrically opposed to historical romance—or so I thought.  But what if it’s not?  How would that change our perception of history?  Of ourselves?  What if there is a perfectly logical union between history and science fiction? 

Most of my science fiction deals with genetic engineering, and according to some of the Celtic Myths I’ve read, the Fomorians were ugly, grotesque (by our standards) creatures, some half-human, half-beast.  Can anyone say Centaur?  Satyr?  Minotaur?  Anubis?  Horus?  Sekhmet?  (And that’s an extremely abbreviated sampling from only two cultures.)  In one book, the Fomorians are described as having one leg, one hand, an eye in the middle of their foreheads, and three rows of knife-like teeth.

Sounds like a genetic experiment gone terribly wrong to me.

Of course, it’s hard to be heroic battling normal folk, so making foes demonic in aspect and character could have served merely to elevate a hero’s awe-value.  Still, can you deny the  potential for epic storytelling?  What if Homer’s Odyssey is a tale of man versus alien rather than man versus gods?  Could this explain why the gods of myth had so many human failings?  Why some played with the lives of men for spite, jealousy, or myriad other amoral reasons?

Yes, research led me astray, and the What If question, that necessary tool in any writer’s toolbox, aided and abetted the detour.   I’m not sorry.  Questions require answers, and a fiction writer can answer in whatever way works for him or her.  As masters of our own creations, we become god-like, deciding the direction our characters take, the trials they will face, the obstacles in their paths, and in the end, their final destination within the story’s context.

Given that thought, perhaps one can see more easily how our ancestors might have been willing to proclaim those who seemed to control destiny gods.

Has your research ever led you astray?  Started your mind down a path it might not have considered otherwise?  Or reshaped your thinking about a particular subject?

Personally, I like the idea of opening new doors, but sometimes the timing really screws with productivity.  This week has been one of those times, but who knows?  Perhaps, in the end, it will be worthwhile.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Does Your Reasearch Open New Doors? Or Lead You Astray?

  1. I love the History Channel. You’re right. It does open the door to all sorts of possibilities.

  2. Some scarier than others. *G* Thanks for stopping, Arlene.

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