field observations from a
far-future mars - and beyond

xiangjun zeng

[ + link to:  A Distant Sun ] (note: this refers not to another star but to our Sun distant in time)


Earth was illuminated one journey at a time. Explorers left their homes, uncovered new vistas, cities, and cultures. They brought the outside world back to their people.

When Man learnt to tame the first horse, the range of that exploration grew. It became possible to roam the open steppes of the grasslands, or ride through dark forests that had once been impenetrable, bearing the torch of discovery.

When vessels that could cross oceans and rivers came, that torch became a bonfire. Man drew maps, redefined boundaries, established trade routes and fought wars.

Men carried the weight and scars of those adventures with them.  And they recorded their stories through books.

Charles Darwin brought back a treasure trove of knowledge with the Voyage of the Beagle. The account of his 5-year expedition expanded understanding of the world.

Likewise Mungo Park's forays into Africa shone light upon that mysterious land: a shrouded continent that heretofore had hovered in the fevered imagination of the people of Europe.

Who then could play the role of explorer in the desolate sands of the Red Desert? Which Longtail was brave enough to push against the darkness of ignorance, and fire a beacon upon that world?

Buried deep within the Grand Library of Red City was a tome, authored by one whose name was unknown.

It was an account of the author's wanderings. Such fantastical journeys! - across the length and breadth of the Red Desert, recording in great detail the beasts, locations and treasures of the Old Ones encountered on the way.

Even more fanciful were the tales of the voyages he had taken across the Inner and Outer Worlds. The sights he had seen!

Who was this traveler? This bringer of light? Alas the journal offered little clues, and the book had been defaced, as if someone wanted to erase his existence.

Dear Readers, it is my pleasure to present to you the first of the restored entries from this journal. It is being reconstructed with painstaking labor by a scholar, over many years of work. One day, when these efforts are complete, we may be able to read this marvel in its entirety.

Until that day, we must be satisfied with the fragments that come our way.

the field observations

For most of them, see A Distant Sun.  For a sample (the latest), see below.


Iron King

The Longtail