Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Crazy birds

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doore02And talking about the secret valley… last night my main characters faced a bunch of crazy birds.
As I mentioned, I’m going through the last third of my novel – this is the final reel of the movie, and everything gets pumped up to eleven.
More bad guys.
More weird critters.
More over-the-top action.

Crazy Birds are not something I made up – they were called Kuangniao in Chinese bestiaries, and were described as five-colored birds with a comb-like beak.
The Kuangniao (which means Crazy Bird, I kid you not) is probably a poor relation of the Feng Bird or Phoenix normally associated with the Chinese iconography.

phorusrhacos_by_semiconductor-d3f46qbNow every critter in my novel can be traced back to Chinese bestiaries – after all, this is sort of a Taoist fantasy crossed with an Oriental pulp story.
But pulp story it is – so when I had to give body, so to speak, to my Crazy Birds, I went back to another resource – my paleontology books.
Because the Kuangniao looks pretty similar to the Phorusrhacos – a creature that will be familiar to fans of the British TV series, Primeval, and that’s usually called Terror Bird.
Sort of a carnivore ostrich on steroids.

The Terror Bird fits the bill almost perfectly – I only had to change the color of its feathers.
And then coreograph a dance of death between three of the guys and my two main characters.
Nice and smooth.

I like when I’m able to mix folklore and “fantasy” with hard data and “science fiction”.
And a flock (a murder?) of 300 lbs Phorusrhacos is the sort of menace that’s good for starting the final reel of my story with a bang.
If 300 lbs, 9 ft killer birds are the appetizer, what will happen next?

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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