Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Finding a giant monster

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boy-throwing-baseball-c1930s-h-armstrong-robertsclassicstockI am about to pitch a new story to one of my long-suffering publishers.
I’m probably working on too many different projects at the same, but when a good idea and an opening appears, I like to jump at it. I can do without sleep for a few days, but not without a steady income – and as a freelance writer of genre fiction, this means writing a lot, and selling as much as possible.

And actually, I am currently working on three separate pitches, that will hit different publishers in the next few days…

  • One for a surreal fantasy story, put together upon request by a fine Italian publisher. I should call this an”urban fantasy”, because the setting is a city in the modern day, but my story does not share any of the basic elements today associated with Urban Fantasy – no teenage Goth girls in love with angels, no tattooed badass biker chicks hunting vampires, no witches bickering.
  • One for a collaboration, a very fun fantasy project we’ll pitch to both Italian and English-language publishers.
  • And one for a big monster novel.

And talking about big monsters…

download (2)I posted the trailer for The MEG, a few days back, and then I got in a discussion with a friend about the very poor science of discovering a colossal living fossil, and wanting to kill it.
And while I’ll still check out the movie, I had to agree that one could have as much fun, as many action scenes and as many thrills with a story about a bunch of poorly-paid university researchers tackling a colossal monster from the past, trying to save their skin and put together enough data to publish a few papers in academical journals.

And at that point I had the basic premise for my story.
The idea is to do a book about the thrill of science – and then yes, also adventure, danger, action, but something a little smarter than

let’s kill the monster!

Now I only needed a monster.
But the good part of being a paleontologist, instead of, say, a Lit Major, is that I don’t have to look very far to find me a big, kickass prehistoric monster.
Like, say… Livyatan melvillei.

livyatan_melvillei_by_teratophoneus-dao0x8d

L. melvillei sat on top of the oceanic food chain ten million years ago. And indeed, it had all the right numbers to do so…

60 – its length in feet
10 – the length of its jaw, in feet
40 – its teeth
14 – the length of its teeth, in inches

Physeteroidea_-_Livyatan_melvillei

L. melvillei was a sperm whale.
A big water-adapted mammalian.
Imagine a 60-feet long killer whale.

True, the Livyatan is not the most original of sea monsters (Steve Alten of MEG’s fame used it already), but it’s a monster that has a certain bite (aha!), and compared to sharks and other oversize marine fauna, it is likely to be a pack hunter. Which makes things very interesting.

1157_leviathan-livyatan_scott

Now I’ve got my pitch here on my desktop. I’ll let it rest for one day, and I’ll send it along tomorrow.
And let’s see what happens.

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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.

One thought on “Finding a giant monster

  1. Pingback: New contract, new book | Karavansara

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