Thought Work

With my hand still out of commission, I have plenty of time to think and do bits of research. I’ve also been communicating with scientist friends who have been thinking along similar lines in different fields of science. One’s a biologist, specifically an entomologist, and she recently started considering a science club for adults involving mostly insects – mantises are holding their appeal for her because as insects go, these are both intelligent and less fear or disgust inducing than many other insects, making them an excellent “first” bug.

Others are doing other things to get adults involved in “citizen scientist” type activities. It’s all very steampunky to me. I know Gosplodey’s is set in medieval times (because of MedFair), and I’m going to keep it there to start with because if I don’t keep it small and limited, it will get away from me, become too big to do and I’ll abandon it because it became overwhelming.

The trouble is, with all this time to think and very little ability to actually do right now, Gosplodey’s is taking on a tendency to swell up and expand across the ages. I can so clearly see how well this would fit in at SF conventions as a steampunk thing (the aforementioned “Mad Scientist”), and how well it would suit anime (the Chinese and Japanese both had alchemy, the Japanese is less well known: Renkinjutsushi or 錬金術師) as the work is very suitable to the concept. And alchemy is making a huge modern comeback (although mostly as spiritual and self-transformational philosophy). It spans the ages. And thinking about it is letting it get too big.

So, I’ve been desperately dialing it back down to just the Middle Ages, and just in Europe, because if I let that roam, it will grab the Middle East and Egypt and again grow too big.

Even keeping it just in the European Middle Ages is tough – there’s the charlatanry, the lead-into-gold aspects, the spagyrics, the fireworks, the endless distillations. Much of alchemy is actually spent waiting and observing as the materials tick along through this experiment or that. Distillation and rendering and such are lengthy processes. I should have remembered that.

Spagyrics, however, is comparatively fast. And creating explosives is also much faster than creating vegetable stones and elixirs.

To make a reasonable display and demonstration, we’d have to spend a lot of time bringing things up to the final moment, and then just showing that bit. We could talk of the work leading up to that moment. I wonder if the time-consuming aspects of alchemy might not be off-putting to most people?