There was an invasion of giant snails in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. This event, not written about in any edrudite histories or commentaries, but it comes to us through the illuminations of monks.
Frankly the invasion was seriously scary. First, because the snails were huge. Second because of the obvious fierceness of the snails as an enemy.
I mean, even when they weren’t that big, they were obviously scary:
Fortunately the apes helped, I guess out of primate solidarity.
So…. How come no one spoke of this in the chronicles and histories?
Who knows? Perhaps it was considered humiliating to be fighting snails?
So how come we haven’t found any shells from these giant snails? I don’t know. Perhaps they were all burned in superstitious fear they would come back?
Of course, we have no reason to think that snails ever invaded, and certainly not giant snails. Surely it would have made it into some history or chronicle, or who knows what?
On the other hand, why were these people so obsessed with giant snails? Why have snails all over?
Well, sometime ago I had read that they had some kind of symbolism. Look, they probably did. But the point in fact is htat we have no clue what it actually was.
I’ve spent the last couple of hours looking through everything possible and imaginary. The answer is “it can be a lot of things, but we don’t know what it is for sure.”
So what do I think this is all about?
Um…. it could be that monks got bored and doodled, and then they had seen snails in other manuscripts, and they thought this was totally the best thing ever.
There were bunnies riding snails:
But look the monks were really bored:
and of course:
Which btw meant that while we didn’t have the internet, they had lol cats. Lol snail cats.
So what is the purpose of this whole thing?
Well, there are things we definitely know are outrageous…. uh…. probably. Like I went through a museum exhibit on the formation of continents and I found there were land masses before Pangea (stop laughing. I just never had thought about it.)
So, I came home — this was in the mid nineties — and I searched the net for the continent name. I found this amazing site, with all sorts of good information on geological stuff.
And then the middle of it, I found myself reading about the great dinosaur civilization, and how they’re orbiting the Earth in a spaceship. They will eventually come back.
So, at that point, I kind of sat back and went “Da, what?”
And obviously that is completely insanely. … or is it? there is some study I have trouble finding now, that claims there was an industrial civilization in the time of dinosaurs. But then again, they were interpreting the past in the light of “Of course industrial civilization brings on global warming” which is…. uh. Assumption not proven.
I’d still wager a fair amount on the fact that there are no dinosaur-manned spaceships circling the Earth, waiting to come down and eliminate the apes so they can take the Earth back.
Other things? Well…. now. The date of the emergence of humans keeps going further and further back. And you know what, I don’t have any problem at all thinking there was Roman level civilization or better before this.
And heck, I wouldn’t wager against eighteenth/nineteenth century level civilization either. Because there are so many things that could go wrong and send humans back to the stone age, from natural disasters to … well, plague. Imagine that Pasteur had never been born. As human prosperity increases and people live together in greater numbers…. well.
Particularly if you’re positing civilizations before the ice age, which would have literally planed the continents clear of any signs of civilization.
Is that possible? I don’t know. It’s more possible than the great snail invasion of the 13th century…. probably.
Is it plausible enough to spin a story around? Heck, even the snails are, if you posit the problem occurred in an isolated area, and we just haven’t found those giant snail shells yet.
When I was little, I read science fiction that proposed the wildest sorts of things, from our ancestors having come from the stars, to our cousins being throughout the stars; from intelligent dinosaurs, to entire universes in a struck match.
Now, mind you, because of the eclectic weirdness of translation into Portuguese, a lot of what I read was pure pulp, which didn’t frankly give much of a hang about relationship to reality.
But…. ah. It was read
When I broke into science fiction, OTOH, or rather into “spec fic” I was told that fantasy outsold science fiction ten to one. I was also told that science fiction had to conform to the knowledge of the time.
…. It is just possible the two are related, you know?
Like monks drawing bunnies riding snails into battle, humans like to try their minds in ridiculous dreams. And the thing is, sometimes those dreams do come true. I mean, guys, look, we’re also spectacularly bad at seeing what will be possible to the future, just like our ancestors were.
And we’re bad at figuring out what happened back then, which is why every ten years there is a shockingly advanced something found somewhere in the world, which astonishes all the experts who know at the time humans were capable of no such thing.
If we can’t figure out what the 13th century monks were up to, in a time that is practically a hop, skip and jump from us, we certainly shouldn’t delcare any avenues of speculation — for fiction at least — closed.
Now that trad pub is drowning in the juices of its own putrefaction, do what you want. It could be as silly as knights fighting snails. Which means five hundred years from now, your work could be endlessly fascinating to people who have no idea what you meant.
I can imagine worse fates.
…. and of course, being me, I’ve been painting things with knights fighting snails. The first was an upcycled box, and now I’ve branched out to egg gourds. All of which probably means I’m not right in the head, but hey, it’s fun. And yes, I’m copying (kind of) medieval illustrations.
I call these: it could be worse. There could be snails in here with us. (And, yes, I’m getting better at this.)
Is this completely insane? Yep. But hey, it amuses me. And who knows, it might amuse someone else. Just like my writing.