A passion for New Worlds

Today, the latest in the series Guest Posts from fellow bloggers on the subject of Passion, whether literary or personal, which I’ll be posting regularly on a Thursday. If you would like to contribute, please drop me a line at kasia_oz (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Today we have an inspirational post from Matt Williams at Stories by Williams, who blogs about writing, fascinating new developments in science, and everything else sci fi! I understand that if you are interested, there may still be some spots available for stories in the Yuva Anthology, so please contact Matt at his terrific and always informative blog Stories by Williams.

Hope you enjoy Matt’s Passion Post.

A good friend of mine once told me how she dreamed her son would one day set foot on Mars. She lamented that, as an adult, he no longer entertained the same dreams of going into space as he had as a child. But to her, the dream was still alive. As she put it, “the awe­some­ness of our great uni­verse, of the chaotic ran­dom­ness, of the beauty of this world and the things we have to be grate­ful for, and of how utterly minus­cule we peo­ple really are in the grand scheme of things,” were still things that intrigued her.

Immediately, I felt something growing within me. It was that same sense of child-like wonder I would feel anytime the something or someone reminded me of the true awe and wonder of universe and our place within it. I immediately recommended she write her thoughts down, and then added to that by saying we all needed to write something about space travel and base our next writing project on the subject. As fellow members of a writing group, this was sort of our thing. We were in the midst of compiling an anthology of science fiction and speculative writing, and were on the lookout for something new to write about.

The timing couldn’t have been better. Not only was Mars being featured in the news quite heavily, ever since Curiosity had finished the last leg of its journey and was beginning to land. What’s more, the passing of Ray Bradbury had also drawn my attention back to the venerated master after many years, not to mention what many considered to be his magnum opus, The Martian Chronicles. If possible, I wanted our work to capture the same spirit of his work, focusing on the lives of individuals, but also the larger issues of new frontiers, colonization, and what happens when one people are pushed aside to make way for another.

Immediately, friends of ours began to enlist, friends and colleagues who were part of the same writing group. They offered their ideas, their insights, and their research skills to help our group find a suitable location to write about, as well as other details we knew were going to come up. In addition to embracing all the philosophical, moral and spiritual implications, we wanted a narrative that was based on hard science as much as possible. We also wanted our story, even though it was inspired by the works of other great writers, to be original in its outlook. Hence, the people in our story would not be going to Mars, the Moon, or Alpha Centauri. Instead, they would be going to Gliese 581, to the fourth planet from the red dwarf which NASA scientists believe to be the most Earth-like planet in our corner of the Galaxy.

After several months of writing, recruiting, and imagining, our story has really begun to take shape. And to think, it all began in the imagination of a mother and her son. But then again, that’s how the best ideas are born, aren’t they? They begin as germs of curiosity and fascination, and eventually grow to become articulated visions. And finally, they strike a chord with readers, igniting their imaginations by sharing that same sense of awe and wonder that inspired the idea in the first place. And that’s precisely what we set out to accomplish. Only time will tell if we were successful…

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