Hello fellow readers and purveyors of all things nerdy and cool! Today, I wanted to talk about my next literary moves once the trilogy I am currently working on is finished. There are a few ideas I have in mind, but right now, my main focus is on a standalone novel that will serve as a transition between the current trilogy and the one I hope to write next.
This story will take place inside a generation ship that is making its way towards a neighboring star system. Within the confines of this self-contained world, thousands of humans have committed to waiting and working for generations as their massive ship – the Traverse Velocity, which in astronomical terms refers to the speed at which a star moves perpendicular to our line of sight – transports them to an Earth-like world outside of our Solar System.
As to which planet that will be, that depends on what we learn about them in the coming years. Exoplanet discoveries are being made all the time, and studies on whether or not they could be habitable are constantly being updated. Right now, possibilities include Proxima b, Ross 128b, Luyten b, Gliese 832 c, and HD 40307 g. Each of these planets are designated as “potentially habitable” within a conservative set of parameters.
In any case, the story would involve life aboard the ship as it makes the multi-generational journey to another star system. And of course, there would be opportunities for flashbacks so I could establish what the people were leaving behind, and show the process that led to them leaving the Solar System forever. And of course, there would be intrigue aplenty as crisis after crisis hit the crew!
Here’s where one of the main driving themes of the story comes into play, and it was a friend of mine – R.j. Summers! – who came up with it in the first place. While discussing this idea back when it first came to me, he related how a generation ship and a multi-generational crew would need to plan and prepare for every contingency in order to ensure they made it safely to another star system.
This got me thinking, BIG TIME! How would the people in charge of planning prepare for any contingency, what contingencies would they anticipate, and what kind of counter-measures might they come up with? One of the possibilities we examined was how hard it would be to ensure the crew didn’t go crazy during the voyage or turn on each other.
The brought up all kinds of ideas, ideas about buffers, social controls, predictive programs, you get the idea. If you’re going to send people on a journey that will last hundreds or even thousands of years, and you need to both anticipate and prevent bad things from happening, you’re going to have to get creative. And that’s where things get interesting from a story-writing perspective!
So without giving too much away – or just enough away – I figured that a cool idea would be to have the mission controllers prep for any kind of contingency with a whole lot of simulations and training. But that would be very time-consuming and it would be unrealistic to expect that people could remember all those protocols and procedures.
So I figured, why not go through that training, let the memories form, and then store them separately? After all, with the requisite technology, memory patterns could be stored as neural uploads. This way, whenever an emergency situation presented itself, the crew could simply upload the necessary memories from the central computer and then put them to good use.
The only issue is, this could present all kinds of problems in terms of mindf***ery! For example, when the crews are awakened and informed that they are in the midst of a contingency situation, how would they know for certain if they were awake and aware of their situation, or simply recalling something stored in deep memory?
Or perhaps they could be dreaming, and dealing with memories that seeped through. Who knows? That’s what happens when you start messing with human memory! And of course, there’s the fun that comes from all the worst possible contingencies. On a generation ship, there are all kinds of unlikely threats that can emerge from both within and without!
For example, there’s the threat of a dangerous passenger being aboard, waking up, and having the run of the place. Then there’s the possibility that another ship is out there, hoping to beat the ship and crew to their destination. Maybe this other ship isn’t above playing dirty! And what if the destination world isn’t uninhabited? Maybe someone else got their first a long time ago, and isn’t exactly in a welcoming mood?
As you might imagine, this plays into a central theme of the next trilogy I have planned – Aliens! And as I said in a previous post that addressed this very subject, I want to create something that is truly worthy of that description. I’m talking about Aliens with a capital A!
Any additional details at this point would constitute spoilers, and there’s still plenty that needs to be planned, so I shall say no more. But if you stick with me, I promise not to dissappoint! 🙂