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.
I love this, Diane! A very interesting and thoughtful post. Where you look at things very intellectually, my thoughts usually lead to something more like, I'd never make it as a pioneer. No hair product, no makeup, no spandex, and plenty of hard work and trying circumstances. I'd have to throw myself under the wagon wheels! Thanks for sharing! I do find the idea fascinating!
As much as I love to travel, I love coming home. The thought of moving to another place, never to return, would terrify me, even if I knew it was necessary. Great post, Diane!
What a fabulous concept! I'm not sure I'd make a good pioneer either. It is a good thing we're writers, right?
This post took a lot of thought, I'm guessing. If I were younger, and wanted a new start, I might consider being a pioneer. Most times, I find it easier to rewrite. I expanded a novella into a novel--Love For Sale. Enjoyed the post, Diane.
Thanks for the great comments, ladies. Isn't it great that we can give our characters lives we'd never contemplate for ourselves? In my imagination, I can be thirty, in good health and great fitness. I can do anything. Rather, my characters can. :)
Thought-provoking post! Like you, I couldn't leave my current life to pioneer a New Earth.
I find sci-fi fascinating and the idea of a New Earth is intriguing...yet, I would never pioneer completely out of my comfortable realm. I am a wimp--a wimp who appreciates others for their pioneering efforts! Nice post.
Good question, Diane. At my present age, I know I wouldn't go west or to another planet. But when I was younger...? I think I probably wouldn't be brave enough. I'd only take on a trip like that if I felt there was no other choice.
yes a very interesting and intriguing I might add... life on Mars...
Good luck and God's blessings.
If I was younger (a lot younger), if I didn't have a spouse & children, I wouldn't choose to leave Earth. But without my husband, I'd never have the courage to be a pioneer. He's always supporting me with "you can do it." Otherwise, I'd be a wimp, too.
A new Earth...What a thought! Don't think I would have the guts to go. I loved The Protector. You create amazing worlds. Good luck to you!
Great post- but don't think I could do it either. You're right- writing does let you explore new places-even if only in your mind. :)
Great post, Diane. I've often pondered the same thing, while thanking the "gods of modern technology" that have made it possible for me to keep in touch with my sister, even see her while we talk, more than 1,000 miles away. As far as the original settlers, I'm not sure about Plymouth, but at least in Jamestown, Va., it was MONEY that compelled those first braves souls to cross the pond. That's not hard to believe. :-)
Kara, thanks so much for letting me know you liked The Protector.
Maureen, imagination is wonderful.
Leah, I love modern technology. I can see & talk to my toddler granddaughter in AZ. Thanks for the reminder that money is a great motivator to set off to a new world.
Great post Diane. I used to love writing historical Westerns but since there was no market for them in the UK I changed to SF romance. After all, I figured, pioneers colonising new worlds were similar to the pioneers o the old west, facing unknown dangers, with blasters and lasers instead of six guns and starships instead of horses and covered wagons. Great to find others feel the same way. I think space is beautiful and to travel among the stars would be amazing - but I'm sure I haven't the courage to leave everything I know on Earth in real life - that's the beautify of fiction, we can go where ever we wish without leaving home!
We think alike! I've never wanted to write historicals. The future is more exciting. Thanks for stopping by.
I would have to have a more compelling reason than just adventure. Like I'm being chased by aliens, and the earth is being destroyed. Then I'd happily take a one-way ticket.
Good reasons, Cara.
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