It’s been a busy week, what with final edits on my next work before release, plus I’m writing for a competition that ends this month. When it’s busy, it’s hard to find the time to sit down and read, so I thought I’d give a reading recommendation for those moments when you want to read, but don’t have much time to dedicate.
How do I even begin to talk about Dragon’s Egg?
This book was a real game changer for me. Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward was probably the first hard science-fiction book I ever read. I came across it when I was 11 or 12, and it hugely expanded my conception of what science-fiction could be. As Forward was a physicist, his novels are filled with credible scientific inferences of what technology would be used for space travel, as well as interesting hypotheses of what life might look like on worlds much different than our own.
Published in 1980, the world that Dragon’s Egg focuses on is not a planet at all, but a neutron star, Dragon’s Egg, in the star constellation Draco. The life that evolves on that star is hyper accelerated in comparison with the pace at which humans move due to exposure to the extremely high gravity. Forward explores the evolution of this life with an attention to the impact of the neutron star on the alien cheela. In addition, he outlines the beliefs and culture of the cheela with the care of an anthropologist. In both ways, he manages to hit the nail on the head and the result is a three-dimensional, believable alien species.
This will be the first post in a series exploring various first contact scenarios. As those who have read my novella, The Joining, might surmise, first contact is one of the aspects of science-fiction that I find most interesting and compelling. To me, one of the important aspects of first contact is that it challenges some part of the human experience and this is what I will be discussing here. I start with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s pilot episode “Emissary” for no reason other than I began rewatching the series a few weeks ago.
A quick recap and scene setting for those who may not be familiar with the series: ST:DS9 takes place on a space station the Federation has taken over from the Cardassians, the main enemy of Bajor, the planet nearest to DS9. Commander Sisko, our brave protagonist, has assumed command of DS9 to assist the Bajorians, now recovering from the Cardassian occupation. The challenges Sisko faces in assuming command of the station is the Bajorians, some of whom believe that the Federation’s help will turn into another form of exploitation, and the fact that he is troubled by the death of Jennifer, his wife. In a meeting with the spiritual leader of the Bajorians, Kai Opaka, she declares Sisko to be the Emissary of the Prophets and shows him the Orb of Prophecy and Change, a seemingly mystical object that allows him to relive a memory of the first time he met Jennifer. Kai Opaka explains that the Orbs have mysteriously appeared above Bajor and as the Emissary Sisko is destined to find where they come from, the Celestial Temple of the Prophets.
Today I am excited to announce the release of my novella, The Joining. From the book’s description:
The Joining explores humanity’s attempt at first contact with another species. A crew of scientists travels to a distant star to contact a race truly alien in more ways than first realized. This encounter will not only question whether or not humanity is ready for such an encounter, but also challenge their basic beliefs of what it means to be human.
The Joining is available as a Kindle e-Book from Amazon.
The cover art was done by Trevor W. Shields. Visit the artist’s website here.
Thanks to all who have supported me throughout the process. Follow me here for updates on future releases as well as other periodic content.