Sunstones: Heartbeat of Dinotopia?


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Sunstones: Heartbeat of Dinotopia?

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Notes from James Gurney

Letters to the Spaz

Dimorphodon Messages

















































Sunstones are mysterious objects. They give power, light, and even strength. In their presence, plants can grow and people can see what they desire. I hope to clarify for you where sunstones come from, how they work, what they are used for, what they can and can not do, and a little about their history.

Sunstones are mined from the World Beneath, but not in the form you may expect (WB, 95). In their natural crystal form, they most resemble calcite, clear gems with smooth, flat sides and pointed tops. Like calcite, sunstones grow in dark caves and in massive “gardens” of sparkling beauty.

In the raw form, a sunstone has little power. It is when they are cut into various shapes that they become useful (WB, 95). Cut into a hexagonal pyramid shape, they can be used for powering strutters, whereas being cut into a flatter, multifaceted prism allows them to transmit messages. Hewn into a hexagonal tear-drop, they can be used for beacons.

As you would assume by their name, sunstones are powered by the sun. They can literally hold the suns light within and transform it into useable energy. How that energy is used depends on the sunstones water (purity or clarity), cut, and size. The purer the water (level of 1-10, 7 being rare and 10 being perfect) the more efficiently the gem can use its power. The cut, as earlier discussed, can help refract and trap the light within a sunstone and then utilize that energy for a chosen purpose. Logically, the larger the size, the more powerful the stone; however, a smaller stone of higher water can be more powerful than a large stone of lower purity.

These prism gems also come in many varied colors. It is not yet known if the color affects the sunstone type, but the power sunstones found by Arthur Denison were green, the transmitter stones red, and beacon stones amethyst.

Sunstones are extremely hard. With a hardness of 11, they are stronger than diamonds. The specific gravity (the ratio of the density of a gemstone relative to that of water) is 3.6 and all sunstones have Piezolectric properties. If a stone has piezoelectric properties, it is capable of producing a surface electric charge when deformed elastically. A stone is “deformed elastically” when either pressure is applied, or the stone is twisted. Many of the sunstones and granite stones used in Dinotopia use the pressure method to product the electric charge. Only minerals that lack a center of symmetry may have this property. ( Sunstones also have reverse refractive properties, or, when a light is shone through it, the rainbow is upside down (WB, 95).

As discussed earlier, sunstones can be used to power strutters, transmit messages, and act as beacons. However, sunstones also hold other, hidden abilities. The legendary Ruby Sunstone is said to have the ability “to magnify the dark desires in anything it touched, human or machine” (WB, 142). Another mysterious power sunstones seem to have is to show someone what they most desire.

"Oriana wandered to a place where she could be alone. She closed her eyes. As smoke rises from glowing embers, images arose from the sunstones. A gentle voice addressed her. She saw a figure both strange and familiar, a figure whom she knew to be her own mother. The woman in the vision flickered. Her face changed from one individual to another, yet always resembled Oriana. The garments became more and more ancient. At last the entire vision dissolved into a swirl of shimmering vapors. Oriana realized that she had witnessed her own chain of maternal ancestors, whose faces till then were unknown to her” (WB, 95).

Oriana’s whole purpose for going on the expedition with Arthur Denison was to find out about her past.

Yet another ability of sunstones it to make plants grow swiftly. Lee Crabb, disdaining Bix’s comment that what he held was fern spores, threw the fine, black power to the cave floor. To the amazement of all present, ferns sprouted and grew before their eyes. Within moments a lush garden of giant ferns had grown underground (WB 96). Even though the stones were in their raw from, they still held enough energy to accelerate the plants growth.

One popular myth about sunstones is that they can protect humans and herbivorous saurians from carnosaurs and Pteranodons. This belief is completely untrue and holds no trace of voracity. In fact, carnosaurs guarded the sunstones for centuries, as did Pteranodons. When fleeing the destruction of Poseidos, Ogthar gave his entire treasury, including sunstones, to the Giganotosaurs in exchange fro safe passage through the Rainy Basin. The treasure remained untouched and unseen by humans until Stinktooth, King of the Basin, allowed Arthur, Oriana, and Bix to enter the Lost Temple.

It was then that Lee Crabb stole the Ruby Sunstone and attempted to leave Dinotopia, using the sunstone to power an oceangoing strutter. With help from Stinktooth and his mate, and Oriana, Arthur was able to stop Crabb. But, in the process, the sunstone sank to the bottom of the ocean, and now lies in the ruins of Poseidos, along with Crabb’s strutter.

As you can see, Sunstones, though a lost technology, have many diverse uses and purposes. Would our beloved island be the same without them?