Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Of Ant and Humankind

A few days ago I noticed a dead snake on the dirt road around the corner from our house. I expected it to be gone the next day but it’s still there several days later. I noticed this morning that an entire ant hill has been built up around it. It made me think of human boom towns, when a vein of silver or gold was discovered, or when oil was found, and how a town might spring up almost overnight with everything dedicated to mining that vein or drilling for that oil.

I wonder what will happen to the ant town when the snake is gone. Human boom towns often died out when the ore was depleted. The people moved on to the next strike. I’ll have to keep an eye on the ants to see if the same thing happens.


It made me think of a fantasy story idea, of boom towns built up around the death site of a dragon perhaps. Ants and humans ain’t that different it would seem.
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31 comments:

Cloudia said...

You have such prolific eye and imagination. The idea of a medieval boomtown around a dragon carcass has possibilities!

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
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Angie said...

That's an awesome idea -- I'm thinking about all the parts of a dragon that are incredibly valuable in various chunks of fantasy fiction. :) Looking forward to reading this when you're done.

Angie

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Sounds like a cool idea, Charles. You definitely have something there. I need to hone up my observation skills.

Merisi said...

Nature's migrant workers will move on to the next project!


A few ants are running around aimlessly in my place lately. They must be in search of work!

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

I don't think making the attraction edible is a good idea, Charles. The carcass of a dragon would rot, bloat, and draw other scavengers like rats, maggots, etc - not to mention the flies that lay the eggs. :)

Keith West said...

Bernard has an interesting point. However, if there were something produced during the decay process that had value and could only be gotten from decaying dragons and not other creatures, then I can see how a boom town could spring up.

Tom Doolan said...

Ha! That's a brilliant idea. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, I'm a OCD in noticing details but it helps in writing.

Angie, it's just in the planning stage now, but could be fun.

Prashant, I don't notice big things, just little things.

Merisi, indeed.

Bernard, I'm thinking more of them mining it for bone materials, scales, that sort of thing.

Keith, that's a good idea, and would add to the nastiness of the process.

Tom, thankee, man.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd read that story! You should write it.

SzélsőFa said...

yeah, i'd love to read that story.

i like comparisons and/or parallels between man and elements nature. sometimes great ideas come out of such works.

Erik Donald France said...

Excellent idea on the dragon or other beastie as boom town for a storyline.

Voltaire jokes about big and wee creatures in a similar way in the quasi-SF novella, Micromegas. about human anthill wars, for instance.

Rachel V. Olivier said...

Thanks for that. Gives me thoughts and things.

Charles Gramlich said...

Alex, I've jotted the idea down. Maybe in time.

Szelsofa, I like that kind of thing as well.

Erik, years ago I read a story about a broadcast on a war and it turned out to be ants. Was pretty cool.

Rachel, that's a good thing.

Ty Johnston said...

The dragon idea sounds awesome. There could be a tourist industry, people wanting to see the remains and maybe where the beast fell, or perhaps where a battle against the beast happened. There could be a religious aspect, shrines and markers to the fallen brave warriors who fought the monster, something like the Little Bighorn site, or even bigger like Gettysburg. And, of course, the selling of trinkets, dragon parts, etc. There could be even be a seasonal circuit, like fairs or Renaissance festivals ... "this month we're selling wares at the site of the fall of the Great Gragomath, but next month we're heading north to set up at the Battle of Sherwood park."

David J. West said...

I like that idea a lot Charles, run with it!

ivan said...

Excellent!

As a former resident of Ontario boom towns, this really resonates in me.

The White Rose filling station with crumbling ashphalt and now overgrown with Sumach. Dead ferries at lakeports.
"There on the marge of Lake LaBarge..."

the walking man said...

Anybody ever describe you with the adjective of "WEIRD"

Charles Gramlich said...

Ty, indeed. it could be told either seriously or for laughs. Maybe both.

David, thanks, man.

Ivan, I noticed yesterday that the ants seem to have abandoned the almost desiccated snake now.

Mark, why yes, why do you ask?

Deka Black said...

Good idea. but.. maybe the dragon was a good guy? And the town was built for nursie him and cure his wounds?

Charles Gramlich said...

Deka, could be.

Riot Kitty said...

That is amazing that you thought of a story line from something like that!

Charles Gramlich said...

Riot kitty, my mind works in mysteriously bizarre ways.

X. Dell said...

Wow, perfect example of emergence--both the ant hills and the boom towns. So many similarities.

X. Dell said...

BTW, I'm a huge fan of appendixes.

Charles Gramlich said...

X Dell, I like appendices too. Always alot of cool extra info.

Gina Gao said...

This is a cool idea!

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Travis Cody said...

When I saw this post title in my Feedly reader, my first thought was "what a great title for a story".

Charles Gramlich said...

Gina, thanks for dropping by.

Travis, I love stories like that.

laughingwolf said...

just do it! :D

Snowbrush said...

This post sure provided me with a vivid memory of the South (primarily of the odors), it having far more snakes and ants than does Oregon.

Charles Gramlich said...

Laughingwolf, orders received, Captain. :)

Snowbrush. The ants are literally everywhere. quite often in the house.