Three years ago, I wrote a short story for The Roses of Prose, another blog on which I’m a contributor. I liked the story so much I decided to expand it into a novella. Easier said than done. As most writers will tell you, it’s harder to rewrite than to start fresh. Still, I persevered.
Why? Because I’m fascinated by the idea of finding a New Earth. The story is set in the not-too-distant future, 2170. As predicted by scientists even now, Earth is using up its resources. Along with overpopulation stretching the limits of what’s left, we’ll need to find a new home. The United Earth Space Agency—a common cause finally united us—is sending astronauts to explore three Goldilocks planets. One, if not all three, has to be our new home.
So, how would astronauts prepare for a one-way trip to a new planet? The Mars One project provides a lot of information. In my story, we’ve already begun populating Mars and established an outpost on Titan, Saturn’s moon, from which the astronauts will leave on a five-year voyage. To save resources, they will become popsicles (aka, put into cryo-sleep).
What would motivate these men and women to leave everything they’ve ever known? Their families, their friends, their way of life? There’s no returning to Earth. Fame and glory seem too transient. A sense of adventure might motivate some, but would it sustain them through vigorous training? Selflessness? Doing something for the good of others? Possibly. Each person would have her/his reason. I concerned myself with the narrator, the team commander.
While delving into her life, her motivation, I thought about the early pioneers of the “new world.” Those who landed on Plymouth Rock, those who ventured farther inland and crossed the Appalachian Mountains, those who heeded the message “Go west, young man.” I’m sure each person had his/her own reason for leaving all behind.
Then I asked myself if I would go. Could I leave my husband, children, grandchildren? As much as I love adventure, my answer is no. A resounding NO. That’s the great thing about being a writer. In my imagination, I can do anything. In real life, not so much. But I can put myself in my character’s place. I can give her the fears, doubts, excitement I would feel if I could go.
What about you? Would you be a pioneer? Under what conditions?
Diane Burton writes science fiction romance, romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries. She blogs here on the 13th of the month, on The Roses of Prose on the 30th, and on her own blog on Mondays where she “muses” about topics as varied as baseball, vacations, and bucket lists.