Science fiction great, Arthur C. Clarke, said: “Two possibilities exist; either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”
As a reader and lifelong science fiction fan, I cannot think of a more profound way of looking at the seemingly endless Universe of which we know so little. Leave it to a legend like Clarke, to be able to sum it up so concisely.
As first a reader and now an author, no matter how I look at it, how I approach it, I cannot imagine humans as the only living beings among the billions of solar systems… it seems like a numerical impossibility.
There are an estimated 300 billion stars in the Milky Way, so if we estimate that just 10% have planets, then there are around 30 billion planets in our galaxy alone. It’s reported that there are over 100 billion galaxies in the observable Universe - for a total of something in the order of 10^21 (that’s 1 then 21 zeros), planets in the observable Universe… Whoa!
Alone? I think not. In fact, I think it would be more frightening to come to the realization that we are completely and totally alone. And to deny that as even a remote possibility, is doing little more than walking around with your fingers in your ears and humming to block out the voices of common sense floating around you.
And if that’s you, well, OK then… Good luck with that.
Me? I choose to believe we are not alone. There are simply too many clues that indicate to anyone who wants to do a bit of sleuthing that there is more on this planet than most people are prepared to admit. For me, I look at the preponderance of evidence that may appear superficial or even circumstantial and I add those things together, like a puzzle, observing how the pieces fit together. This evidence comes in many shapes and forms, each one of them accompanied by someone’s simple explanation on how or why it exists – dubious in their own right because of their simple explanation. The fact is, simple just doesn’t cut it, truth is often more complicated than fiction.
The difference between fact and fiction can sometimes be a very fine line and I find blurring or removing that line is not only entertaining to me as an author, but adds a level of realism and familiarity that helps my readers identify with the story. I include real events, real places, real history and real science, mixed with some legendary myth to create something plausible, something grounded.
While my science fiction straddles; action, adventure and space opera, I avoid getting bogged down in technical science, trading off for a character-driven storyline with a rollercoaster of action and interaction. For that very reason, I’ve had a few technophile readers view the work as shallow, not meeting their hard science expectations, completely missing the fact that the story is touching on the origins of humanity and evolution of mankind. It is an element that will take the entire series to uncover, so don’t expect your answers in the next book! With that said, you will see hints of it in each book as the characters do their best to understand the complex implications of the interconnectivity of the Universe as a whole.