Sixteen hundred years ago, they fled Earth. Now their long journey may finally be at an end. None of them have ever walked on soil, felt rain, or breathed unrecycled air. Their resources nearly spent, they sent a last exploratory mission to a new planet. It’s ideal… but they are not alone. In the struggle for survival, they must make a choice. Sacrifice another species or accept their own extinction. And time is running out.
Targeted Age Group:: General Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I took a course from Edx about what life on other planets might look like and was intrigued by the idea that by the time we reach an inhabitable planet, whatever life had been there might be centuries extinct. In addition, the push to figure out how to send people to Mars was pretty intense at that point and there were some great debates about how as soon as we arrived there, the planet would never be the same. We'd bring our machines and our microbes and our ideas to the planet and it would change forever. I thought there was an interesting story in that. Not about Mars, but about some much farther place where maybe we wouldn't have to face just changing an (apparently) dead surface but where our very presence might affect the life on a new planet.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Most of my characters are named after readers who have volunteered their names for use and abuse. In Traveler in the Dark, I had almost an easier time coming up with the crew's various personalities and occupations because they were almost determined by their situation. What kind of team would be needed to investigate a living planet? What kind of personas would those people need to have? Driven, smart, brave, certainly. And some would fail in those aspects, but those are the characteristics I would pick for the best chance of success. And what kind of life form would attempt contact with us when we arrived? Something curious, above all. Hopefully kind. Hopefully brave. Hopefully understanding. But perhaps none of those things. Perhaps defensive or frightened. Or cruel. I settled on Issk'ath being the way it is as the story unfolded. It is almost developed the way it is because of the interactions with the crew.
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