Fiction Science Becomes Video

This summer, I tasked myself with updating my book discussing the various dinosaurs of Jurassic Park and Jurasic World. It is called The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. Not because I’m lazy but because that makes it well-findable. Which I just decided is a word now.
Yet, I also found myself in a situation where the first edition was three years old and I had failed to come upwith a follow-up. This book was a real success, yet failed to find another franchise to make a whole book about that had not been written yet. The one exceptions would have been The Biology of Star Trek when Star Trek: Discovery turned out to be unusually biology-centered but I was not that deep into Star Trek lore and Discovery eventually shifted away to become a more traditional sf show.
At the same time, written books started to face a decline asopposed to audio books and video. Audio books where never my cup of tea because I am unable to listen to a whole book without giving my eyes anything to do while my ears where busy. But when my eyes where busy, I lost track of what my ears received. Like I said, not my thing. They did not have to be that long, though.

This is where I saw a chance to make more Fiction Science content. If all I could do was short pieces about specific questions for each franchise, why not make this a strength? If I made videos instead of books, lenth would not be a problem anymore. Videos between five and ten minutes were fine, and this was just what I would be going for.
Thus, Fiction Science, the Youtube channel was born. The design is still a work in progress, though.

Prelude

Before I did anything I wanted to introduce the idea. So I created this video about the general idea, how it came about, and what to expect.

The First JP/JW Batch

There was originally a introduction video to the franchise I recorded and uploaded. But Youtube only allows for two channels to be verified with the same phone number within twelve months and I had already done so. Thus, the video failed to publish for being to long (non-verified channels are limited to 15 minutes, the intro had about 20). Good thing, too, though. The original plan to release critiques on all species present in the park one at a time, like I did with my book The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, never came to be.
It proved far better suited to the project to base each episode around a central question or story. I did record audio for Critter Critique videos on Carnotaurus, Ceratosaurus, and Stegosaurus (as well as parts of a two-parter on Velociraptor) before I realized I wanted to go a different route about this.
The intro still explains how Jurassic World justified its approach to displaying outdated dinosaurs, why that matters little and how the videos really don’t try to spoil anybody’s fun and just use the movies as an aid for education.
It has been uploaded and is ready to go, I am just not sure I want to publish it anymore when the channel has changed so much from what I originally thought it would be like. Its announcement of me going through all the dinosaurs by the time Jurassic World came out in the US obviously never came to be true.

For the first actual video I decided to choose a topic that comes up a lot about Jurassic Park, usually as a plothole or scientific error when it really isn’t either of those things. The first movie and novel make mention of extinct plants in the park. Many question where these came from when the creatures are made from dinosaur blood.
But, when you consider what amber actually is and you learn a little bit more about mosquitoes, an abundance of prehistoric plants in the park makes a lot of sense. In fact, there should be more than just one species of these on the island.
This is also when I decided to add a banner at the bottom for consistent branding. It’s probably the largest watermark of any channel but it works pretty well for branding. It’s consistent with the books that way, the second edition featuring this shade of blue on its serial banner, as well. In all honesty,it also helps cove rup watermarks from channels that had no business putting their own watemarks in other people’s video content (like trailers) anyway. I am thinking of playing around with the blue band a bit when the occasion arises.

One thing I don’t like about these first few videos is my voice. While I do like my voice fine, I had a hard time not making it sound flat. I have been doing videos while in front of a camera or while reading from a script for some time and that works fine. For Fiction Science I talk without a script. That requires talking and thinking at the same time and it becomes harder to also add some voice modulation to sound more engaging.
These first few videos served as learning experiences for that. I have aleady improved in that regard and expect to continue doing so. This is fine imho. To improve, I need to fail a lot. As long as I realize my shortcomings, I can overcome them. This is also why I waited until now to write this article.

To start with the main attractions of Jurassic World, the dinosaurs, I did some research. Yes, I checked what dinosaur from the series is the most viable to make a video about by looking at search volume and numbe rof videos available.
Stygimoloch came out on top by a wide margin and luckily this is one dinosaur that is interesting to talk about. Because it should not be in the movie. Not only was it completely overhyped in marketing for something playing such a minor role in it, it also likely never existed as a separate dinosaur. And that is not by just somebody’s opinion, but by that of the very paleontologist who is responsible for the scientific viability of the franchise’s creatures.
Funny enough, nobody has yet made a video about that. So I did.
And I gave it a really clickbait-y title.

Next, I decided to delve further into the topic of the confusing back-and-forth in dinosaur naming with new names popping up and old ones disappearing all the time. I picked the sauropods for that topic because Apatosaurus is one of the most famous cases of this with Brachiosaurus also affected. This was a perfect jumping-off point. To add to that, there is little else to talk about especially in regards to Apatosaurus. I will get back to Brachiosaurus later on, though.
This is also the first time I created a custom thumbnail and started a video with that. So instead of a video still, there is now soem more text in addition to the actual title to better communicate the video’s content. This enabled me to give the videos a more grounded title with the semi-clickbait in the picture instead.
Ihave no idea why the preview cuts off Brachiosaurus’ head, however. Its fine in the video.

There are more videos on Jurassic Park and Jurassic World coming down the line, but I want to avoid the impression this is a Jurassic Park channel. There are plenty of those and there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just not what I want this channel to be limited to.

On to New Shores

Last week’s major movie launch was The Meg. I did not think there is much to talk about in The Meg when it comes to biology. But I saw a trailer for Deep Blue Sea 2 the other week. That reminded me of the first movie, which is really good and remembered fondly on Youtube. So I switched to that movie instead and tooka look at the sharks.
This marks the first actual Critter Critique. However, their was little to talk about the sharks themselves, yet much more to talk about the background and plot. So I did this.

I feel this video was a significant step forward for me. My vice modulation is much better now, not remotely as flat as before. I did have the problem of running out of things to say somewhat, but I think it’s alright and at least now it sounds much better.

Next Up

The plan from now on is to have two new videos each week, preferably one each Monday and Thursday. The next ones will be another video on Deep Blue Sea, followed by Star Wars (for which I spent €26 in Lego, so it better be worth it), and a first round of video recommendations. After that, the new Predator starts and I will do a video on that. I have a couple of videos planned for some movie and season launches in the future. Star Trek is eventually going to be there, as well.

This blog has been suffering from a lack of content for quite some time now. With Fiction Science, this shall change. As new content will nowcome up more frequently, I will do a weekly post on new content. I am also reviving the channel that featured short and flash fiction pieces, delivering one video each Friday starting this week.


Fiction Science starts with Jurassic Park/World

Available now at Amazon, free to read for Kindle Unlimited subscribers

Jurassic Park. I freely admit I am the result of a boy being at just the right age when 90′s dinomania rolled around and having been enamoured with dinosaurs even before that point, JP never left me. So of course I was going to do something with Jurassic World coming up. Not to mention I managed to use being European to my advantage with Jurassic World starting one day early over here.

Jurassic Park/World. It comes with great hype. And with great hype comes great responsibility. That might be from a different media franchise, but it still holds true. And it’s the reason people on the internet get upset about the scientific accuracy of the dinosaurs in the series. Well, that and them being people on the internet, getting upset at stuff is part of the appeal. Anyway, I decided to collect all the scientific inaccuracies into a book. So I went through all canonical JP media with eyes open for this kind of thing and started collecting.

There is, of course, a lot to talk about: Naked raptors! Half-blind T. rex! Bunny handed Gallimimus! Dilopho-That-Is-Not-Even-A-Dinosaur-Saurus! Holyshittasaurus Indominus rex! If it’s a prehistoric animal and in either of the movies, the novels, or the Telltale game, I put it in.

What I did was, I wrote this over the course of the last month watching all movies and trailers, re-reading the novels and watching a Playthrough of the Telltale game. I ignored the comics and other games for not being in any sort of canon. Also, finding all errors in the builder games would probably take years just from those games’ sheer size. Of course, not everything in Jurassic Park that looks different from paleontology textbooks is an error. Some things are artistic license, showing things that are possible even if paleontologists can’t confirm it to be true. And some are just the result of the original movie being 22 years old when during those 22 years science’s idea of what dinosaurs looked like has been revolutionized by new findings. This book explains those things.
After that I took advantage of my european-ness, watched the earliest screening of Jurassic World I could get and made that tax-deductible and finished the book with new knowledge gained from that, adding a short chapter on Indominus rex in the process.

With this book, I also started a series, “Fiction Science”. This is something I wanted to do for quite some time. A series of books about the science in science fiction. More books will come out over time, though this one is somewhat special in being about a specific series. Future installments will be about things like FTL travel, alien design, or why we don’t have jetpacks and hoverboards everywhere yet. However, with dinosaurs there is simply too much to go through without focussing on a single franchise. The release of Jurassic World was just perfect for this book to come out, so I timed it accordingly.

So far, I am very happy with the result. The book sports high quality, a simple yet effective cover, starts a new series and also makes an excellent test run for creating titles that tie in to current events.
It’s also free with Kindle Unlimited because I wanted to test that market and I believe a media tie-in title is perfect for KU’s borrowing approach to books. This is a book basically meant to be borrowed and read quickly after seeing the movie(s). I am quite anxious to see how well that works.

Oh, for the record: Jurassic World is really, reallly fun. Not as good as the first movie, but still one of the most fun movie I’ve seen in years.