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An Idea I Had for an Epic Novel about Four Different Civilizations

Probably inspired by reading "The Hobbit", I've started brain-storming about a book that tells the story of a few different civilizations that are spread out across the same planet (maybe it's Earth in the future, or maybe it's some far-off planet).

There would four different civilizations, which mostly live separate from one another and are entirely unique, each with their own specific characteristics and qualities. Below is my description of just one of the civilizations: a people that I'm calling The Flurries. Maybe one day I'll develop the others.

Flurry is an island of 120,000 square miles of land. In the winter months, it drops to -180 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer months, it averages around -10 degrees Fahrenheit. The terrain is almost all ice jungle. Trees grow, but with with no leaves. It looks like thousands of miles covered in ice-covered spikes. Other than the trees, nothing can survive on the surface.

Around a mile beneath the ice is an entire civilization of people know as Flurries. Flurries are descendants of humans, but years and years underground has resulted in some odd genetic changes. Flurries are shorter than average humans, with females spanning 3.5 to 4 feet, and males spanning 4.5 to 5 feet. They are also ghostly white, almost transparent -- in the right light you see their veins through their skin.

Flurries have no source of natural light, so they have invented a special paint that they coat everything with (walls, streets, clothes) that illuminates their world. It's called Must, after it's inventor Myra Must. Must loses its glow after a year of being applied, which, due to their adopted cycles, is usually around May, so the Flurries refer to this month as Must May, during which time almost the entire civilization shuts down to repaint everything. If you or I were to visit a Flurry city, you would not be able to tell a difference between a room or park illuminated with must and one illuminated with fluorescent or even natural sunlight.

The Flurry history is a tragic one. Of the first group of people that tried to inhabit the island, by living above the surface, most of them died. In the summer months, they had built three massive weather-proofed arcologies that they thought could withstand the cold. When the winter came, all but about 10,000 had died, as the temperature had wreaked havoc on the structures, causing the walls to crumble, the power generators to stop working, and, ultimately, the inhabitants to perish. This proved that you could not survive the island living on the surface.

Of the survivors, many migrated to another island and joined the other cultures. Those that stayed (around 3,000) used the summer months to establish a city beneath the surface. They drilled down five miles, and used explosives to clear out massive chunks of the island's mantle, which is mostly made up of hard rock at that depth. The idea was to blow up so much of the rock that there would be massive pockets of open space to build in. At first, the plan seemed to work. The explosives created the open spaces and people began to build a small city and inhabit it. One day, however, everything collapsed. The explosions had left the roof of the open space very unstable, and it crumbled, killing all but about 1,000 of the inhabitants.

From this tragic event, known as The Second Winter Tragedy, the people learned two important lessons. First, the deeper you drill, the riskier it is. As a result, Flurries now live only 1,000 miles from the surface. Second, do not use explosions to create wide-open spaces in the rock. Instead, live amongst the rocks, and carve out small expanses as you need them. As a result, Flurries now live a lot like badgers do.

Flurries cities are a network of tunnels. For the most part, they do not build houses or buildings, instead just carving into the rock. Despite this, Flurries are as technically advanced as any other civilization on the planet. Their cities contain advanced computer and communication networks and high-speed freeways. They get water from irrigation systems that tap into springs underneath the ground. Flurry water is said to be purest and best tasting on the planet. They get power from wind turbines placed above the surface. Due to the cold, the turbines often break and fall apart. Next to Must, one of the biggest expenses for the Flurries involve building and maintaining their wind turbines.

Since they are master drillers, there are rumors that the Flurries have unauthorized tunnels that lead to all of the other civilizations on the planet, allowing them to gain access anytime they want. This has never been proven, however, and the Flurries adamantly deny it.

Amongst each other, Flurries are very family and tradition oriented. They look-out for each other and are generally very peaceful.

They do not, however, enjoy being around non-Flurries. Having spent hundreds of years underground, away from everyone else, they don't know or trust others. The Flurries take great pride in their self-sufficiency and autonomy.

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My Top 100 Films: 2009 Edition

Psst! I now have a 2017 edition of this list.

Every serious film nerd has taken the time to compile a top hundred list. So, here's mine. I'm calling it the "2009 Edition" because I'd like to do this once every five years or so, and see how it changes.

For what it's worth, I'm generally uncomfortable with listing any film as being in my top 100 if (a) I've seen it less than three times, and/or (b) it was released in the last three years. With regard to (b), I've made a few exceptions, but I moved them pretty far down on the list. Point being: I feel like a film has to age some before you can really decide how much you like it. Also, keep in mind that I'm not arguing these are the best 100 films ever made, but that these are the 100 films I love the most.

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
  2. The Insider (Mann, 1999)
  3. Kids (Clark, 1995)
  4. The Silence of the Lambs (Demme, 1991)
  5. Crumb (Zwigoff, 1994)
  6. Lost in Translation (Coppola, 2003)
  7. Sexy Beast (Glazer, 2000)
  8. Manhattan (Allen, 1979)
  9. Once Upon a Time in America (Leone, 1984)
  10. Lovely & Amazing (Holofcener, 2001)
  11. A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick, 1971)
  12. Magnolia (Anderson, 1999)
  13. Fight Club (Fincher, 1999)
  14. American Beauty (Mendes, 1999)
  15. Punch-Drunk Love (Anderson, 2002)
  16. Ghost World (Zwigoff, 2001)
  17. Bully (Clark, 2001)
  18. DiG! (Timoner, 2004)
  19. Spirited Away (Miyazaki, 2001)
  20. The 400 Blows (Truffaut, 1959)
  21. I Heart Huckabees (Russell, 2004)
  22. Jackie Brown (Tarantino, 1997)
  23. The Exorcist (Friedkin, 1973)
  24. The Dreamers (Bertolucci, 2003)
  25. To Kill a Mockingbird (Mulligan, 1962)
  26. Dazed and Confused (Linklater, 1993)
  27. Clueless (Heckerling, 1995)
  28. Capturing the Friedmans (Jarecki, 2003)
  29. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Mitchell, 2001)
  30. Sabrina (Pollack, 1995)
  31. Kill Bill: Volume 1 (Tarantino, 2003)
  32. Kill Bill: Volume 2 (Tarantino, 2004)
  33. Singin' in the Rain (Donen, 1952)
  34. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (Parker, 1999)
  35. Being John Malkovich (Jonze, 1999)
  36. The Cell (Tarsem, 2000)
  37. Donnie Darko (Kelly, 2001)
  38. Natural Born Killers (Stone, 1994)
  39. 24 Hour Party People (Winterbottom, 2002)
  40. Tombstone (Cosmatos, 1993)
  41. Rounders (Dahl, 1998)
  42. Casino (Scorsese, 1995)
  43. Good Will Hunting (Van Sant, 1997)
  44. The Royal Tenenbaums (Anderson, 2001)
  45. Almost Famous (Crowe, 2000)
  46. The Asphalt Jungle (Huston, 1950)
  47. Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960)
  48. American History X (Kaye, 1998)
  49. Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick, 1999)
  50. Boogie Nights (Anderson, 1997)
  51. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (Gibney, 2005)
  52. Se7en (Fincher, 1995)
  53. (Noujaim/Hegedus, 2001)
  54. There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007)
  55. Auto Focus (Schrader, 2002)
  56. Sex, Lies and Videotape (Soderbergh, 1989)
  57. Wayne's World (Spheeris, 1992)
  58. Badlands (Malick, 1973)
  59. Barry Lyndon (Kubrick, 1975)
  60. Wonder Boys (Hanson, 2000)
  61. The Squid and the Whale (Baumbach, 2005)
  62. The Blair Witch Project (Myrick/Sanchez, 1999)
  63. Lorenzo's Oil (Miller, 1992)
  64. Triplets of Belleville (Chomet, 2003)
  65. Traffic (Soderbergh, 2000)
  66. Lolita (Kubrick, 1962)
  67. Point Break (Bigelow, 1991)
  68. True Lies (Cameron, 1994)
  69. Romeo + Juliet (Luhrman, 1996)
  70. Welcome to the Dollhouse (Solondz, 1995)
  71. The Shining (Kubrick, 1980)
  72. One Hundred and One Dalmatians (Geronimi/Luske/Reitherman, 1961)
  73. Fear (Foley, 1996)
  74. Igby Goes Down (Steers, 2002)
  75. Bend it Like Beckham (Chadha, 2002)
  76. Gosford Park (Altman, 2001)
  77. The Game (Fincher, 1997)
  78. Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (Cassavetes, 2004)
  79. Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994)
  80. Boiler Room (Younger, 2000)
  81. Moulin Rouge! (Luhrman, 2001)
  82. Object of My Affection (Hytner, 1998)
  83. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (Zemeckis, 1988)
  84. Top Gun (Scott, 1986)
  85. Annie Hall (Allen, 1977)
  86. Rebel Without a Cause (Ray, 1955)
  87. Empire Records (Moyle, 1995)
  88. Eagle vs Shark (Cohen, 2007)
  89. Comedian (Charles, 2002)
  90. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Fassbinder, 1974)
  91. Full Frontal (Soderbergh, 2002)
  92. The Kid Stays in the Picture (Burstein/Morgen, 2002)
  93. Friday (Gray, 1995)
  94. The Original Kings of Comedy (Lee, 2000)
  95. The Basketball Diaries (Kalvert, 1995)
  96. Rachel Getting Married (Demme, 2008)
  97. Superbad (Mottola, 2007)
  98. Not Another Teen Movie (Gallen, 2001)
  99. Spellbound (Blitz, 2002)
  100. The Good Girl (Arteta, 2002)
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