Creating a character’s home planet—in a Red Dwarf Star System
In Passages, a race of space travelers has offered gifted humanoids a second immortal life as electorgs. One of the non-Earthlings brought to assist Aarde is a secondary character named Evard.
Evard knows fungi and is a soils expert, so what would his home planet of Tarne be like?
Fungi grow in damp climates and do not use sunlight to photosynthesize, so they can grow in darker conditions, such as a forest floor and caves, or Earth’s northern latitudes which have fewer daylight hours. Placing Evard near the poles of another planet was an option, but if the planet had been like Earth, people would have a choice of plants to grow and eat and, like us, probably wouldn’t become experts on fungi.
Thus, I located Tarne in a red dwarf star solar system.
Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA) Source: NASAImages http://nasaimages.lunaimaging.com/luna/servlet/s/7c6icg
Red dwarfs make up most of the stars in the Milky Way, and scientists have determined tens of billions of Earth-sized planets fall within the habitable zones of red dwarf suns. Yet they are smaller than our sun and they don’t put out the same amount or kind of light, so along with many other reasons, scientists doubt they can support life despite still studying the possibility.
However, I write science fiction. When I imagine Tarne and the weak red dwarf sunlight streaming to its land masses, I see a perpetual low light, like walking through a dense forest, even at the equator. Perhaps the majority of Tarne looks like a sequoia forest.
Naturally—to my thinking—fungi would flourish. With so many decomposers at work, the soil would build deep and rich, and the other plant species would be lush and overgrown, adding to the shading of the forest floors. Working in dense woodlands with the rich soil and most abundant plant species, the Tarni people have become a combination of old world hunter-gatherers and small farmers that manage mushroom growing beneath the trees for their primary food needs.
Being woodlands residents, the Tarni people worship the Great Grünmann, a version of the Greenman, and use curses—“Bloody hyphae!”—that derive from their fungi aggravations, making Evard a fun character to write for the Passages story.
Excerpt from Quinn’s point of view:
When Eve disappeared upstairs to find me a Docga jumpsuit, Evard asked if I was all right with her accompanying me. “Eve gets along with people in a special way. Should you encounter any problems, she’ll be a better troubleshooter than I. Besides, the girl blends, whereas I tend to stick out.”
The burly man had a point. While blond hair tended to be very common on G47, Evard’s height and build weren’t. A shorter, slender stature had evolved among the native population.
“How tall are you anyway?” I asked.
“Six feet six. Average for Tarne, my world, colonized long ago by Earth explorers.”
“You remember it?”
“Very well. Eve remembers hers, too. Earth.”
“She told me,” I said.
“Not all, I bet. That nymph has a few stories about hiding her inborn gift in a time when women were hanged for witchcraft. We’ll have some tales to trade when your grandmother revives.”
“Eve has a gift?”
He gave a slow nod to my surprise. “Ah. You’ve forgotten the Docga scour the galaxy for individuals with extraordinary talents and even…paranormal abilities.”
I had…but I remembered now. “So you each…”
“All ’torgs. Our space-traveling patrons also access time portals, yielding a veritable smorgasbord of expertise. For example, on Tarne, fungi are practically all we grow, so naturally everyone is well versed in mycology. It’s in the genes to have heightened olfactory sensitivity. Develop the talent and you rise to the top of the feudal system with skills that, thank the Great Grünmann, the Docga sought. Heritage, talent and work.”
Follow the Passages Blog Tour to read more science & fantasy tidbits!
“Find someone you can trust.”
For decades, Eve and her fellow electorgs—part human, part machine—have worked on the quiet planet of Aarde, beating back toxic spores that threaten to poison the native people. When the new commander halts work right before a deadly spore release, Eve frantically plots to protect the villagers she considers friends and family.
On the run after an ambush, Quinn holds a secret that nearly got him killed. If only he knew what it was. Though the attack scrambled his memories, Quinn is sure of one thing—he can’t trust the electorgs. But they know information he desperately needs to puzzle out who wants him dead, and why.
With the fate of life on Aarde in the balance, the logic of joining forces with Eve overrides Quinn’s fears…and erupts into an attraction that could prove fatal for both of them.
Because the planet’s commander might just be Quinn himself.
Passages is on preorder & sale for .99 through February 5th.
Add Passages to your Goodreads shelf!
Before kids, Laurel Wanrow studied and worked as a naturalist—someone who leads wildflower walks and answers calls about the snake that wandered into your garage. During a stint of homeschooling, she turned her writing skills to fiction to share her love of the land, magical characters and fantastical settings.
When not living in her fantasy worlds, Laurel camps, hunts fossils and argues with her husband and two new adult kids over whose turn it is to clean house. Though they live on the East Coast, a cherished family cabin in the Colorado Rockies holds Laurel’s heart.
Find Laurel at:
Below are the bloggers participating in the Blog Tour for Passages. Each stop will have excerpts and tidbits about the science & fantasy, and a chance to win the tour prizes: a $10 Amazon eGC or a sign paperback of Passages. (Giveaway open to US/CAN)
Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!
Follow the tour:
Jan 27: Goudrogen Crystals on Jessica E. Subject’s Happily Ever Afters Across the Universe
Jan 27: Hornworts on C. D. Hersh’s Two Hearts Creating Everlasting Love Stories
Jan 29-31: Thermophiles on The Multiverses of Liza O’Connor
Jan 29: Author Interview with Mia Jo Celeste on Other World Diner
Jan 30: Moons and Rising Waters with Laurie A. Green on Spacefreighters Lounge
Jan 31: Creating a Character’s Home Planet—in a Red Dwarf Star System on Pippa Jay’s Adventures in Scifi
Jan 31: What kind of a book is it? With Kira Decker on Toni Decker Books
Jan 31: Lacuna, a Bit of Realism, a Bit of Magic on Author J. C. Nelson’s Urban Fantasy and More
Feb 1: Resolving your story problems…including knocking out a pesky spore? on Riley Moreland’s Whiskey With My Book
Feb 3: What do you think of when I say “cyborg”? on Veronica Scott’s Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog
Feb 4: The Mystery of Transporters on Heather Massey’s The Galaxy Express