Monday, February 23, 2015

30 Week Writing Survey - Week 24: Death

Now Playing: James Newton Howard - Healing Katniss (The Hunger Games ost)

>_> This university does not want me to graduate. It keeps trying to eat my A.A and shove me into a lab. Grrr. It caused me problems on Friday and I almost blew up in my room out of rage. Explosion of the head. My face was red and I was crying out of frustration, and when I went to see my adviser to talk about it and she found some problems, I almost started crying again. She shoved a box of tissues at me >_> And I can't quite figure out if she did it to be nice, or to have some kind of shield between us.

The rest of last week hadn't been too bad. I finally got some workshop stories from Seth--dude who had the small group workshop with me--and this girl called Deanna. She wrote a fantasy story, which makes me happy because it means there are at least three speculative fiction writers in my class :D Counting me and Savannah, because she kind of but not really but maybe promised me her workshop story is going to be about aliens. (And gay people. Double awesomeness). In fact, after class, I showed Savannah my second home, aka Dunkin Donuts, since it's about a minute walk from the Williams building. We had donuts and milk and talked for a few hours. We're going up for workshop at the same time, and the writer we're reading for that day is Margaret Atwood. So of course we have to write science fiction >.> It's fate. I spoke with her a little bit about Pulse and she gave me some good ideas. I'm so excited to write the story--I started already :D (more musings on this later).

I also finally saw Interstellar last Friday. Carla and I were wandering around for ages and we wound up at the SLC on the way to my apartment. We were about an hour from the 6:45 pm screening, so we decided to stay and hang out there for a bit. And I really liked it. Was kindaaa bored in the middle portions and philosophizing about love and the role of man as explorers, but it was still kinda super cool. Especially the ending. I loved being in a theater full of people who could not stop crying and gasping. Good job, Nolan :P I texted Silvia about it later since she's been pushing me to watch the movie, so we finally got to talk about it. (She probably still hasn't forgiven me for not watching Gravity >.> but least I saw this one).

Now, back to the survey...

QUESTION 24: How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What's the most interesting way you've killed someone?

So willing and yet so pained by it.

It's why I sat in a cafe for hours writing the ending of Ataraxia, debating and fighting with myself every other sentence. It took forever because I was terrified of who was going to die. I knew two out of the six were safe, but the other four were giant question marks. (Which made The Four of Us Are Dying as a theme choice so perfect as I neared the finale). Redemption, because it had the biggest cast, had the biggest death toll. I don't remember how many I was planning to ax off exactly, but it was a couple dozen. More than half the expanded team was going down, along with two or three critical characters from the original team.

I've been a lot nicer in most recent novels, but I've made a promise to rectify this in the near future. Not that I think death and tragedy is always a necessity in stories, but my characters are so often in perilous situations, the danger might start to feel trifling if everyone always makes it out alive in the end. Besides, GRRM left a legacy all of us speculative fiction writers are contractually obligated to follow >.> Well not really. That'd be dumb. But shhhh I pretend I'm contractually/hypothetically obliged to follow it.

It sure will piss my brother off though :P Every time I start to wrap up a book, he's all DON'T KILL THEM even though he has no idea what I'm doing or where the plot is going. He just hatesss it when characters die in fiction. It's why he refuses to finish GOT; he already knows people are going down. He tries to convince me out of killing characters by shouting stuff like, "But when it becomes a best selling novel and you're rich, you'll want to milk that cash cow. Think of the sequels! The prequels! The spin-offs! The cash!"

Never mind the fact that I've never written a sequel in my life >.> Nor do I plan to. But it's a nice sentiment.

Monday, February 16, 2015

30 Week Writing Survey - Week 23: Time for Completion

Now Playing: Spacehog - In The Meantime

My vampire fiction class is officially the funniest thing in the world. My soft-spoken, polite professor has already been forced to explain what oral-fixation and pre-oedipal complexes are to the class, but last week, he was trying to make a modern connection to The Vampire and Fragment of a Novel. In both of those stories, a slightly older man (think 27) meets a young man (20) and they go off adventuring together and vacationing and stuff. There's some sexual subtext of bisexuality and promiscuity, etc, etc. The point is, it lead to my professor asking the guys in the class who's a modern, young-ish celebrity they have a "man crush" on to try and get them on the perspective of the stories' narrators.

It. Was. Glorious. Especially because the girls offered Chris Evans as an example, of Captain America fame. He's very worthy of all fantasy bromances :P I saw so many guys get red in the face. Lana and I could not stop laughing that day. The class notes she wrote down just kept getting funnier, especially when my professor summarized The Vampyre as, "virgin is totally enthralled by guy who has a lot of sex." (That seems about right, actually).

Also had fun at the creative writing class. We did "Boot Camp Remixes" as my professor called them, which was basically taking lines from our stories and reworking them to fit the style of a certain author. It was a combined effort--she put us into groups of threes and told us which of our stories were to be remixed in the style of different authors we'd already read. I brought in Oculus that day, and we got assigned to remix a line from it in Katherine Mansfield's style. It actually turned out really good. After I finished reading it, our professor broke into a "YEAHHH D:<" It turned to be easier than the other two styles we had to do. And our professor is so enthusiastic. It makes the class quite fun~

Back to the survey!

QUESTION 23: How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting/submitting for publication (if you post/submit)?

Uhm. Forever.

I've yet to submit anything for publication or querying. I've managed to get lengthy drafts done in around six months. Either I start off really quickly and then inevitably slow down, or the opposite happens. I think hypothetically I could finish first drafts in two months or less because I can average 10k words a week if I'm concentrating, but I pause or slow down often. And while I hate taking long breaks, I've had to delete lengthy sections before because I wrote them when I wasn't feeling the story or I was distracted, so they read really awkwardly and either don't lead anywhere or shove me into a dead end.

I've yet to really rewrite something enough times to have it ready for querying and publication. But so far, this is sort of the plan--it's how I'm feeling things start to unfold:
  1. Begin planning for Manuscript #1. Research, character sketches, world building. 
  2. Start writing first draft of Manuscript #1. 
  3. This happens whether or not I want to--start getting ideas for Manuscript #2. 
  4. Finish Manuscript #1's first draft in less than a year.
  5. Put Manuscript #1 aside, rest for a bit.
  6. Start research Manuscript #2
  7. Write Manuscript #2
  8. Start getting ideas for Manuscript #3.
  9. Finish Manuscript #2.
  10. Rest for a while.
  11. Go back and fully edit and rewrite and beta Manuscript #1.
  12. Take a break.
  13. Go back to work on Manuscript #1--querying or more beta reading.
  14. Research/plan for Manuscript #3
  15. Rewrite, edit, revise Manuscript #2.
  16. Take a break.
  17. (Possibly) write Manuscript #3.

Yeah, it's partially a plan, partially what I think will happen, but, as stated, I may totally wing it. It's all subject to change. Like I can either start writing Manuscript #3 or start editing Manuscript #2. I can probably completely put aside even the research of Manuscript #3 until the other two are done. I can abandon one for some time at random and jump on the other.

Honestlyyyyy, it'll depend what I'm feeling up to.

So it's going to be a lengthy process. But I want to start writing more complicated sci-fi and fantasy, tons more world building to have a solid foundation for my characters and even have it integrate into the plot a lot. It's only natural it takes a while, and I really don't want to rush out too many pieces.

Especially Vanguard's Exodus. There's...there's so much I gotta fix. I wouldn't be surprised if I somehow wrote, edited, and beta'd another novel while VE is still in like the second draft. But I'll love it all the same, even when it stresses me out :P I hit 70k sometime last week, and there's still sooo much to do. It better not pass the 130k word mark >.< (I say and then I'll probably end up with a 150k word document in desperate need of editing. Ughhhh).

Monday, February 9, 2015

30 Week Writing Survey - Week 22: Never Before Written Scenes

Now Playing: James Newton Howard - Searching for Peeta (The Hunger Games OST)

Did I mention that Romero, my microwave, is actively trying to kill itself? I think a fuse is blown or something--it's been throwing sparks anywhere. I was trying to see if I can fix it earlier this week, but the second I texted my dad to ask about switching the fuses, he was like DON'T TOUCH IT. And then after some back and forth, my mom sent me a text going DON'T TOUCH IT WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

It would suck if I died in my last semester of college because of a microwave. But now I can't reheat food. How else do college kids eat?! Sigh. Poor Romero...Maybe I shouldn't have named him after a zombie movie director. That's gotta be an omen.

Apart from the sadness of the microwave, I'm a bit sad about something school related too--last week for the creative writing workshop, my small group was really good. That might just have been because it was with a dude called Seth who loves movies like the The Room and with this cool girl called Savannah, whom I've had for classes before who's super friendly and likes all kinds of fiction. (Also, I have a suspicion that Seth watches some Channel Awesome producers. He kept mentioning movies Oancitizen has reviewed).

Neither of them were ever once confused about the imagery in Eidolons, and they liked the world building! Which is actually both good and bad. The world building was probably good because it's the world building from VE. Oculus won't have that advantage. Hmmm. Maybe I should try to add more...? Or just focus on character...? I don't have room to overdo it and Pulse will already have the world building galore.

But anyways--I'm sad because we're getting shuffled around for next workshop. I kind of wish we would just stay with the groups from last time D:

Oh, but both Savannah and Seth totally found the ending creepy.

I...I kinda thought it was a cute moment for Cyrano and Luna >.> But I was also referencing the They're Made Out of Meat story by Terry Bisson, so I should have known from the get-go it'd be a creepy moment. Whoops.

Though creative writing is a struggle, my Vampire class might prove to be the most difficult one. We have daily mini quizzes for the reading material which I sometimes don't do super great on, and it, along with my online class, are the only ones that have final and midterm exams. Ughhh. At least the online one is open book/notes, and even if it's a lot of weekly work, it's not terribly hard. Damn last semester...being so challenging >_>

I also got an idea for yet another story. Or well, I got an idea for two characters. But I'm not going to go into that yet. Breathtaker and Serena are a bit of an importance, right below my novel. I don't want to over do it with these ideas >.>

I found a cool little drawing on deviantart that reminds me of Serena. The hair is perfect, as is the shape of the mouth, eyes, while face is veryyy similar. Art is done by user KsenLeman. Here's the link.

I love her expression. Seems super defiant.

Oculus is proving quite enjoyable. And informative. I'm actually learning about archery for it >>

Short answer for the survey question, btw.

QUESTION 22: Tell us about one scene between your characters that you've never written or told anyone about before! Serious or not.

Hmmm. There's so much stuff I still need to revise and do so I have a lot of never before written scenes. I don't know how much it counts if I'm planning on getting them done though...

I have to be hesitant to talk about my current novels because there's always a chance I'll end up including the never before written scenes in rewrites or side stories. But for past work...

Oh! Okay, so in Redemption's sequel, there was going to be a friendship and then possible romance between Bellatrix and Erick, since they're the only teenagers in the group (15 and 17 respectively). I tried to set up something in the original novel that would lead to their initial interactions, which is basically that Bellatrix finds a copy of The Metamorphosis in its original German and hides the book so it won't be burned. After she gets rescued from the Memento Camp and the new group settles in, she still has it with her so she asks Erick--who is from Germany--to read it for her and translate it. He obliges and it gets like MEGA CUTE AFTER THAT.

I'm kind of sad I never got to write those scenes out >.> Those two were such dorks.

Monday, February 2, 2015

30 Week Writing Survey - Week 21: Children

Now Playing: Doctor Who OST - Amy In The Tardis

Before anything, I gotta geek out: my Master Chief poster got here last week! I won't be presenting for a while, so I've taped it to the last empty wall of my room:

This side isn't as empty anymore:

It looks so much cooler than the sample picture. It came in a long cardboard tube, and I ended up wandering around campus all day with it, accidentally whacking people on the legs >_> I got home late, but when I finally got to unravel it, I was all



Only other thing to say is that I figured out a name for Bree's mom: Magnetic Truth Over The Eventide. Mag, for short ;P I also have Bree's dad's name, but I don't know if that's making it into the story seeing as how I'm trying to cut down on details. (And he's already dead, sooo mom name gets priority).

I can hear someone rolling their eyes already. Shhhh. I like it >.> Rule of Cool and Awesome McCoolname bichees <.<

And that's it for updates >.> Survey resumes!

QUESTION 21: Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them/how comfortable do you feel writing them?

Not too many. My characters are either too young to have children (which in my head means anyone below the age of 30) and when they're older, they have different priorities not involving families or pregnancies. I can't really think of many of my MC's who'd even want children.

In The Night Kingdom, Beatrice and Arkana have a really close mother-daughter relationship, and the one I have focused on the most. In the original draft Arkana's very young and mostly just follows her mother around, but they have their conflicts. In rewrites, they get into more arguments and have fights because Arkana's a teenager and has formed a lot more opinions that differ from Beatrice's. It'd be nice to explore that again if I ever get back to it. In fact, their mother-daughter dynamic might have followed me around into other stories.

Redemption's Hitomi had a baby girl with Marcus whom they named Kazumi. This might not count as canon, since I scribbled a few epilogues involving the early stages of the family in notebooks, but never in the story. I think back then I was really fascinated with trying to figure out how Hitomi would have dealt with a pregnancy after all the trauma she'd experienced. She was suffering from PTSD and had lost her leg in the final fight, and while it wasn't a Babies Make Everything Better situation, I think she was ultimately happy to know she'd be a mother. Happy and really, really frightened.

I kind of want to write about a young mother one of these days. Like...super young by my standards--late adolescence or early adulthood. And I want to write about pregnancy in a realistic way, maybe in an unusual setting. It has to be as true to life as possible, since it really annoys me how easily pregnancy is romanticized by people in fiction and in real life. And while I certainly don't ever want to experience it myself, I think I'd still find it fascinating to write about :P Pregnancy, childbirth, and dealing with a newborn. So much fun, no?

But that's a tale to be left untold until I'm ready to dive in head on--and that probably won't be for a while.

As for the second part of that question, I think I'm okay at writing children. Not any better or worse than most other ages.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Too-Frustrated-To-Bother-With-Titles (Updates/Rant)

Now Playing: MONORAL - Kiri (Ergo Proxy soundtrack)

I was going to use this to start up Monday's post, but it got to be too long. My complaining knows no bounds.

But I'll break it into sections, with "three" being the main reason this post got so long-winded.

1) I was a bit wrong about the homework/creative writing assignment last week. I wasn't supposed to reproduce Oculus in third person, I had to write a new narrative, then, after having two choices, I pick one to revise and remix.

So whoops. Misunderstood. Thank god I asked my professor and she was super clear with instructions at the end of class.

I'll probably pick Oculus and then rewrite in third person upon revisions because I found out not only do I not name Serena in the story, her gender is also ambiguous, and I'd rather not awkwardly shove that information into a first-person, three page story. Plus, I'm just not good with first person narratives. I can never figure out how to cut down on the I's or if the flow of information is correct. Plus POV shift? So confusing. Maybe one day I'll give it a try...

Something weird from the feedback: I had to explicitly tell my classmates Serena had albinism. I was expecting that to happen, but not for the reasons I had considered. While I did have evidence of her condition in the story, my small group said I should try to bring it more to the light, really emphasize it. They said it took them a moment to realize why Serena hesitated when she saw the white dragon, though I did eventually bring it together in the end.

And that's all totally valid advice bUT THEN they  said the reason it was so surprising was because they weren't expecting a real life condition to show up in a fantasy story. One girl said, "I guess with the dragon and the fantasy setting, I didn't think something real like that would be there," and the rest of them agreed.

And that's...that's Is it really so jarring? It wasn't fantasy overload--the dragon doesn't even talk. Serena was  hunting with a bow and arrow, and I mentioned horses and a town and some stables--no one ever questions medieval worlds in stories not taking place on Earth.  Hell, because the protagonist had white skin and violet eyes, they had to ask me if she was even human. Were they picturing an elf...? So that means most people would expect an elf over a human with albinism...? (Probably?)

2) For the third person narrative due this week, we were allowed to write a scene from a much bigger story rather than try and squeeze a complete narrative in three pages. One of my classmates actually asked if we were allowed to use pre-existing characters--like from our novels and other works--as long as the situation/writing was new, and my professor was totally cool with it.

With that in mind, I wrote down a scene between Cyrano and Luna from Vanguard's Exodus. In the novel, the trip to the binary planets takes over eight years and all the human personnel is in cryo, so those two run the ship and make sure everyone stays alive until arrival. But they also keep each other company. They talk, program a digital kitten, redesign their avatars, etc. I always wondered about their conversations while they were alone, and it's helped me with Cyrano's voice. I called it Eidolons, and even though I'm worried people will find it confusing (more on this later), I'm glad I wrote it. It feels like I know those two better.

Andddd honestly that's one of the things in this class that's semi-making it all worth it. I'm not sure how I feel about the rest of it.

I do like my classmates and I'm okay with the professor. But...we did that thing were we sat down and broke a story apart Sentence By Sentence. We analyzed the placements of commas, of all things. And I don't know. It bothered me a bit. On the one hand, I see merit with it. I do focus on diction--I know it's important. Plus it's super fun when you make ugly words turn a technically neutral exchange into something terrifying.

I know different words have varying weight and emotions, but I think I'd break out into a panic attack if I had to punch in meaning to every single minuscule thing I ever put in a 100k word novel. My professor said we only transition from novice writers to mature writers when the happy incidents are done on purpose. But that doesn't sound right. Forgive me for sounding like a literary hippy, but shouldn't this all be, I dunno, slightly organic? I do obsess over word choice and hyperdetails and the length of sentences, but I like accidents. It's stressful when stories spin out of my control, but it's also kind of cool and it's what makes the writing enjoyable. Total control doesn't sound too appealing. In fact, on Friday, my Kudzu Review adviser said to us, "most of the time, the accidents in art are more interesting than the intentions." And I agree.

But I don't know. Maybe my opinion will change in the future. As of right now, this class does't feel too great. It feels...slightly tiring?

Which leads me to...

3) I haven't disliked university and while the debt has been crazy, I realize my degree won't be totally useless. But it's like the warnings other writers gave me were wrong. The creative writing classes aren't useless, they're suffocating. And that's coming from someone who apparently managed to dodge the terrible professor, according to my peers.

Whenever my mother asks me if I'm sure about not applying to graduate school in the imminent future or not staying for another semester, my immediate reaction is to scream NO.

And this is the big rant portion of this post, but I have to get it out of my system:

I hate having to worry about how my fiction will be perceived on a superficial level on top of everything else. I worry about my voice and diction and the depth of the characters as do all other writers in workshops. But I also have to worry about stupid shit like, "Should I spell out and even explain what Artificial Intelligence is? Last couple of classes people didn't know what that was. And cryotanks--they'll know what that is right? Or why they're needed? Do they know what an A.I's avatar will be?"

Tell sci-fi readers two A.I.'s are having a conversation in a starship while the human crew is in stasis and said readers won't even blink. But I have no idea how much I have or don't have to explain in the page. I mean, for Christ's sake, I had to define what the hell a natural satellite was once. How much more awkward can it get than me pointing up to the sky and going, "uhm, a moon"?

It's fucking exhausting.

I know this is making me sound like a total snob. That's not what I'm trying to do. Some people just don't read fantasy or sci-fi and that's fine. I just wish our academia wasn't so restrictive. I wish I had something like the class Brandon Sanderson teaches at BYU, for people who want to write commercial fiction, who want to entertain and enjoy rather than worry about The Next American Novel. Our department is smart enough to have separate classes and professors for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Why can't they take it one step further?

And I'm not the only one complaining. Last Friday, in my meeting with the Kudzu Review, me and the rest of the fiction section got to express frustration at how limited and formulaic the creative writing classes at FSU have become. Someone actually badmouthed a couple of the professors, calling one of them a straight up asshole. I don't want to say the girl's name because I wouldn't want to get her in trouble, but she also spoke about hating another professor's workshop so much she dropped the class late. It cost her a bunch of money, but she couldn't stand it enough to stay.

When she said the professor's name, I just had to give the hugest sigh of relief. It was the same professor who sent me that odd, mean spirited acceptance email for her workshop this semester. Dodged a fucking bullet.

My adviser for the Kudzu also spoke about the fact that most creative writing departments--in any university--seem to discourage anything remotely experimental, which is why we get so many generic, unimpressive submissions. It's not the student's fault, it's what they end up churning out for the classes because what the hell else do we do? University isn't interested in genre fiction, but they're not interested in avant-garde stuff either. Fall into the literary line or get shoved off, I guess.

It's kind of heartbreaking to realize this at my last semester. Academia isn't useless--useless, I could do with. It's limiting.

4) Related to that up there--writing Pulse is really difficult. I didn't realize just how much mythology I had constructed, and getting the information on the page is becoming a bit awkward. The thing is, I know some exposition is needed, but when I'm shoving it all in, it just ends up as infodumps. But I can't leave most of it out because then people'll be like, "wtf, what's with these names? The hell is a Crusader? Why is this village afraid of this Thelonious guy? What year is this taking place in?"

Genre fiction usually allows for a bit more exposition to help with world building, but I can already hear the "nobody cares about this background" coming. And yet, if I take too much out, it'll be too much confusion.

I really wish I could work on novels for class. My world building isn't perfect, but at least it's not awkwardly shoved in at every turn when I have hundreds of pages for it.

I'm going to try and find a balance, leaning more on the cutting out of stuff. I can always expand later. Besides, between "I'm confused" and "I'm bored" I'll take the former.

My original plan had been to go ask my professor for help, but the more I work on this story, the more I question that decision  >_< I am really starting to like Breathtaker, and I'm really starting to care about this point of her life. I don't know if my professor'll make me change essential components (not just, delete this scene or alter this moment--I mean, like, don't bother with sci-fi and make it fantasy or something).

And what if she suggests not using it for workshop? She can't technically stop me, but my grade is on the line. It says on the syllabus we can talk to her about genre fiction in her office, but she strongly recommends against turning it in for grade/workshop.

I know I said I'd take the C, but I didn't spend thousands of dollars on university to graduate with mediocre grades my last semester. And I sure as shit didn't fight to take this class just to have it screw me over.


It's all speculation. Maybe I shouldn't be so quick to judge my professor before I've actually had any one-on-one conversations with her.

If it turns to shit, I'm sure I'll just come back to whine >_>

5) Okay, done with the more frustrating stuff. Gonna finish this post on something silly so it's not wholly negative.

I guess my graduation application thingy got approved because I got a message from the university telling me I should order the cap and gown now, they're rentals, gotta be returned after the ceremony, blah blah blah.

But there was this part in the email that said you don't have to go to graduation. All the diplomas get emailed out about 6 to 8 weeks after the semester end, so if you don't wanna go, you don't need to. So of course I sat there reading that line over and over again and going sighhh.

This is like the biggest First World Problem of All First World Problems, but I hate graduation ceremonies >_< They take forever, too many people ramble about the future and courage and new beginnings, and you have to watch as a million strangers walk slowllyyy across the stage till its your turn for two seconds, and no one looks good in those super puffy graduation gowns, and for some reason you have dance numbers or singing bits but who gives a shit just get it over with, and I know my name's getting mispronounced like a bitch, and I just...-_- whyyyy?

The only time I can remember having fun at a graduation ceremony was for MDC, and that's because I got there super late, as did Giselle and a couple of other people (Gaetano, Melissa, and Adolfo, if I'm not mistaken) and so we sat together and joked around the whole time. I don't think I'll be finding anyone I know for this ceremony... Hopefully I can sneak my phone with me...maybe a book. (Is that disrespectful? Yes. Yes it is).

I wouldn't even bother if it wasn't for my parents. My mom's pretty adamant about me going to the ceremony so they can take pictures and clap and whatever the hell it is parents do in those things. I've only been a spectator for one, when my mom also graduated from MDC about a year after I did, and that was okay. I'd rather watch the ceremony unfold from up in the seats than down there in the gowns.

And I'm left wondering what the hell we're going to do because my commencement ceremony from FSU is the night before MDC's, and my brother is graduating this year. The time's make this complicated. I think ideally we'll go to mine, then rush back to Miami for the other one, but oh godddd that's going to be so exhausting. I'll probably be awake for over 24 hours. Maybe I'll finish Vanguard's Exodus in the car after drowning myself in Red Bull and Monster.

I'm trying to figure it out with my parents. They hadn't even been aware of the conundrum until I accidentally came across it earlier this week.

I don't mind bailing on mine >_> so I tried to recommend that to my mom. But of course she was like, "uhhh, no, I helped pay for that diploma. I'm seeing it through to the end."

"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.