An ecologist from the future wants to study the history of the establishment of horla on Earth to understand the endosymbiotic event that gave future humans the ability to sense the ecopsychosphere, the energy field caused by the interactions of living things and their environment, and after travelling to the past and dosing an unsuspecting human subject in Petrolia, California with “horla paste,” causing the subject to merge with a horla, and accidentally awakening a crystalline being that was sleeping at the Mendocino triple junction, through the half-mineral, half-organic oil deposits beneath the city, finally has to leave his own universe forever by interfacing with the multidimensional fractal matrix of the crystalline being to create a recursive model, fooling the pandimensional crystalline being into leaving the local time stream, instead of turning everything organic into crystals, because a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
According to my friend and dance-theater artist Erika Shuch, a conventional story has five elements and can be rendered in this form:
This is the story of (blank), who needs/wants to (blank), and after (blank), finally (blank), because (blank).
These blanks are the familiar elements of story: character, setting/problem, climax, resolution, and moral. You can see all the elements in my story above, although the inclusion of the moral is unusual outside of fairy tales. This exercise in the context of dance helps a performer discover dramatic actions to motivate and inhabit set choreography.
There’s an old saying that “you have to know the rules before you can break the rules.” I just finished reading “News From Nowhere” by William Morris where the main character faces no conflict, and no crisis, since he has no desire that is relevant to the story. Maybe this is appropriate to a romance set in a socialist utopia, but breaking the rules is not the point. Art is about life, not just about itself.
In “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” by Rebecca Skloot, a much-praised and justly honored book, Deborah, Henrietta’s daughter, shares a collection of resources she has amassed to learn more about the research her mother’s cells made possible, including a videotape of “Jurassic Park.” In this case, Deborah counters science with her own research, believing that understanding will take away the burden of “the cells.”
One of the most salient aspects of science communication, especially the journal, is its visible intertextuality. We can think of the natural world as a network of dependencies as well. Science investigates the nature of these interacting parts, but why should nature yield intelligible facts to the these investigations? Why should we be able to understand the natural world?