“You Greeks are all children…. you have no belief rooted in the old tradition and no knowledge hoary with age. And the reason is this. There have been and will be many different calamities to destroy mankind, the greatest of them by fire and water, lesser ones by countless other means….You remember only one deluge, though there have been many.” Plato, 4th century BC.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing a lot of reading and hinted at the subjects in my last blog, the idea being to feed into and inspire a new novel. Now the ideas are starting to gel into something that is intriguing and would keep me interested for as long as it takes to write it. The working title is ‘The Flood’ or maybe ‘The Watchers’. Here’s the starting premise:
100,000 BC and great civilizations on earth develop but are almost wiped out 13000 – 8000 BC by two massive meteor impacts around the end of the ice age (these are fact, of course). There is plenty of evidence of meteor impacts in minerals deposited worldwide at this period plus clear archaeological evidence of mass extinctions around this time, caused by the massive Tsunamis and ‘nuclear’ winter. No archaeological trace of the pre-ice age great civilizations remains but …this is where the story starts… there are survivors who preserve the essence of that civilisation. After the ice age, homo sapiens again develops rapidly and believes that the survivors (The Watchers) are gods and angels. They warn of the next comet impact which causes the biblical flood & Tsunami (the biblical flood is recorded in all extant cultures and actually happened, probably around 3150 BC). Enter biblical good guy, Enoch. They train Enoch in the minimum information the post-flood survivors will need to establish a calendar (Book of Enoch) plus other technologies appropriate to a pre-bronze age farming civilisation that can help relaunch society. Enoch’s great-great grandson, Noah, and his family survive the flood. So, we know the ending.
Let’s think about my proposed ‘Watchers’. They will have evolved over around 200,000 years yet were anatomically more-or-less the same as we are now (AMH – anatomically modern humans). We have been industrialised for 250 years, we’ve had usable electricity for 150 years, and we have already walked on the moon. Imagine what we could achieve in 100,000 years, or even 50,000, or even 10,000…
A starting point is The Book of Enoch (http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Book-of-Enoch-ebook/dp/B003DZ1J2M) which was important to early Christians but which never made it into the Christian Bible. Interestingly, copies survived from Islamic sources and many copies were found in the Dead Sea scrolls. I want to re-interpret The Book of Enoch to reflect his interaction with the Watchers, and to allow for a race that has resulted from the interbreeding of the Watchers. This book refers to ‘angels’, god and bad and makes interesting reading. The main good guy, apart from Enoch, is the ‘angel’, Uriel. The book of Enoch also includes a rendition of how to establish Stonehenge-like observatories – v. interesting.
There is one problem in taking the biblical references as a basis for rational fact and that is the ludicrous lifespans of the main characters in pre-flood Genesis. Enoch was taken when he was still quite young…he was only 365 years old. Hmm. I’ll have to find a way around that.
I want the watchers to understand the nature of material, energy, that all matter is light that has been frozen (see Niels Bohr quotes, http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/n/niels_bohr.html and also Albert Einstein, http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/albert_einstein.html). Interestingly, these nuclear physicists at the forefront of reason seemed to have had an insight into the boundary between the spiritual and the scientific which has been largely overlooked by our über-rational world.
Uriel’s education of Enoch will embrace a number of ideas that are gaining popularity and involve the meeting between science and spirituality. The interesting aspect will be the way that a super-advanced human intelligence can explain the necessary information to a neolithic man (who was just as intelligent as we are now, incidentally). Because I want it to be a novel, not a work of philosophy, I want to include properly dramatic elements: Enoch’s travels with Uriel, conflict with the ‘giants’ (who won’t be giants but a bit bigger than men), conflicts within the Enoch/Noah family and with the other families with whom they live, then the flood itself. I mentioned before that the flood is fact. The details are, however, interesting. We all know about the earth impact that wiped out the dinosaurs but there have been plenty of others before and since. We are talking big asteroids/meteors/comets, probably more that 1km in diameter that cause massive damage as they pass over, then impact the earth. If they hit the sea (as most did), the Tsunami is so massive that it could reach to almost all land on the surface of the planet. Scottish peaks, for example, have layers of sea sand and non-fossilised shellfish that you can find today, ie, the Tsunami submerged Scotland. Some inland seas such as the Black Sea may be rock pools left by this Tsunami; they are salt water, not fresh as you would expect. Just a couple of examples of what a Tsunami 3km high can do!
All of the characters will be real people just like us. Nothing biblical or supernatural. Every action and event must be rational. The main characters will be the watcher, Uriel (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Uriels-Machine-Ancient-Origins-Science/dp/0099281821/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368968195&sr=1-1&keywords=uriels+machine), Enoch and Noah. The underlying message will be a metaphor for the modern world and the crises that mankind faces. Spirituality meets science. String theory meets philosophy.
PS. Having had the idea to re-tell the Noah story, and thinking it would be original and new, I now hear that there’s a film coming out in 2014 entitled ‘Noah’ with Russell Crowe in the title role (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1959490/).