Inspirations Part One

It occurred to me after I started working on LOST SKY that the plot had been influenced in part by two books that I had read as a child. The first was The Dodo, The Auk and The Oryx, Vanished and Vanishing Species by Robert Silverberg, a treatise on the plight of creatures that had recently disappeared from the earth or seemed destined to do so. I remember re-reading the book many times all the while fantasizing about discovering a living Dodo or Auk.¬†Although I had never been much interested in prehistoric fauna, Silverberg’s chapters ignited what would become a melancholy fascination with extinction. Unlike dinosaurs, which seemed the stuff of nightmarish fairy tales, the plight of animals that had become extinct during modern times struck a chord with me. It was I think the first time that I stopped to think about people’s heedless actions and this new awareness kindled in me a complex mixture of sadness and pessimism.

At around the same time I read Peter S. Beagle’s, The Last Unicorn, which tells the tale of a lone unicorn searching for another of her own kind. When she leaves the safety of her forest home she is confronted by a changed world that she doesn’t recognize. I recall as a child being deeply affected by the fact that almost no one whom the unicorn encounters perceives her for what she is.

It wasn’t until I was editing the first draft of LOST SKY that I remembered those two books and suddenly realized how much they had influenced my thinking. I wonder now if I would have written LOST SKY if I hadn’t found them in my school library all those years ago.

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