Sunday, September 7, 2014

To Inspire a Love for Space Exploration

Many people have asked me why I write science-fiction. It's a bit of a tricky question, because part of me doesn't actually think of myself as a science-fiction writer. Futuristic contemporary fiction might be a better way to describe Embassy, but even that is up for debate.

See, Embassy isn't filled with strange aliens, explosions, shoot-'em-up scenes, or weird jelly creatures that absorb your soul and take over your brain. When I began writing books at the age of 11, back in June 2004, I wrote a book called The Narlan Wars. That and its sequels were filled with aliens, explosions, battles, telekinesis, sci-fi guns, and a number of other factors that made that series truly science-fiction.

These awful books...gotta start somewhere, though.
Then, in January 2013, I wrote Embassy. Once I figured out what the story was about, I formed a greater understanding of what I want the series as a whole to achieve. Embassy is more of an introduction to a greater universe stored up in my head. I'd be lying if I said I knew exactly how the series will play out, and I'd definitely be lying if I said I knew the last chapter of Book 4. I have basic ideas, but I like to let the story write itself, just as Embassy wrote itself (95% of the 14th draft is different from the 1st draft, and the story is completely different).

The book in question.
Embassy is about the characters. I think that's what separates this story from the countless other YA sci-fi and NA (new adult) novels on the market. (And trust me when I say a vast majority of NA is straight up romance. Hardly any variety in that range of books...hence another reason I'm writing this series). I want readers to connect with the characters on emotional levels. Experience the world I've created. Come out of this book thinking, "Wow, I want to see this age of humanity."

Based on the reviews Embassy has already received, I'm achieving my goal.

Real reviews on Amazon
So let's get to the point: what is the #1 thing I hope Embassy and its sequels will achieve?

Inspire a love for space exploration.

When you read Embassy, I want you to be filled with awe. If you finish this book in the middle of the night, I want you to go outside and look up at the stars. Just like Glacia makes Arman do, I want you to stare at those dots in the sky and feel how small you are. Fill yourself with an appreciation for life, an appreciation for this world you are so lucky to live on, and imagine getting the chance to fly out there and explore worlds humankind has never set foot on.

We are a part of the universe, and, as a species, it is our responsibility to save ourselves. Some people will say humanity needs to die out because it's destroying Earth and other life forms. I disagree. We are the most intelligent life forms in existence, but many people don't appreciate that. Those are the people destroying the world. The people committing murder and genocide, the people who hate other people for their color or ethnicity. The people who dump trash in the oceans, who value money more than human life, who think we are invincible.

The truth is, we are but a small fraction of an already small fraction, that is nothing more than a fraction. The universe does not care about us. The universe will do whatever it takes to destroy us. But even though the universe is a deadly, unforgiving force, it lacks the one trait that makes us, us: INTELLIGENCE. Therefore, we have the power to overcome the universe.

This is a real picture of Saturn. The dot is Earth from almost 1 billion miles away.
We are small. Very, very small.
To do that, however, we need to appreciate how small we are. If life on Earth ended tomorrow, nothing would change. This little ball of liquid and rock would still fling itself around the sun, the waves would still crash to the shores, the wind would still blow.

So why should we live on? Because we deserve it -- some of us, at least. We deserve to colonize Mars. We deserve to explore Europa. We deserve to walk on Pluto. We deserve to break free of the solar system, shoot ourselves into the interstellar void, and feel the warmth of another sun.

Being an atheist, I often say life has no inherent purpose, that by a string of statistically random events, we are here simply just because. What I do believe is that it's our responsibility to MAKE a purpose, to SHOW the strength of humanity, to make a stand against the improbability of our long-term survival.

Embassy shows that. The future I've created shows how humanity has matured. In Embassy, we've settled a dozen or so planets in a tiny bubble of the Milky Way, and every planet relies on the others to survive. If one planet collapses, the others can save it, or at least harbor the people who lived there.

Every society seen in Embassy is unique. Undil has the youngest settlements. It's technology isn't up-to-par with many other planets'. Undil is still growing, and is largely a society driven by the success of its trade and politics.

My vision of Undil (in the central eastern hemisphere)
Belvun is the most similar to Earth. The people who live there, despite the looming collapse of the planet's ecosystems, enjoy a life of leisure.

My vision of Belvun.
Narviid is a very rugged, technology-oriented society that is mostly involved in the goings-on of other planets. They aid Belvun, hold Undil's hand, and are one of the most confident societies in the series. They have things figured out.

My vision of Narviid
Daliona is one of the most technologically-developed planets. They've surpassed a life of leisure, to a life of "What if?" Daliona researches, creates, and achieves, and is by far the most livable planet in the Embassy Program.

My vision of Daliona
Societies vary from planet to planet, but as I mentioned above, this is all background information because the main focus of the story is on the characters and how they live in this future. They have normal problems, normal jobs, and normal interests. They have futuristic sports. And one thing they all agree on is that humanity needs to keep exploring, needs to keep seeking out and settling new planets, and they know if they fail, there are consequences.

That's what I want you, the reader, to discover. I want you to love astronomy and the thrill of exploration. I want you to be excited when humans land on Mars. I want you to visit space one day and know, deep down, that humanity deserves to leave this planet and walk on other worlds.

A Falcon 9 launch from SpaceX
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  1. Even if we disagree on religion and humanity's purpose, I do love the idea of space exploration. We are such an infinitesimally small part of this huge entire universe, and taken in that grand scale it is the grandest thing we are a part of that exists... Science is awesome, and I will never be content to simply accept what I know now as enough. :)

    1. Hahaha, exactly. And that's just the reason why, even though I don't agree or believe in anything religious, I'm not about to start arguing with people about it, because the purpose to coexist and figure out how to best keep humanity on the right path.

      Space is such an awesome, awesome, awesome thing, and we've been stuck in one spot for way too long. But 10 years from now, the first people will be walking on Mars, and from there, hopefully we can continue to jump farther.