Friday, August 27, 2021

Microstory 1700: Introduction to Constellations

Ah, constellations. What good are they? Well, they’re great for navigation. Before GPS, I don’t know how people got around, especially not across the sea. Yet they somehow figured it out. I’ve never been that interested in the concept myself, however, as I was born in 1987, and I’m not a sailor. I couldn’t look up at the sky, and name a single constellation for you. I don’t know where the big dipper is, or how close it is to the little dipper. I really don’t know much. As a science fiction writer, they’re not that useful to me. My stories take place on many planets, all over the galaxy, and beyond. Constellations mean nothing at that point, which is my main gripe with my favorite franchise, Stargate. The stars that you see as being lined up aren’t necessarily anywhere near each other, unless you pretend that the celestial sphere is two-dimensional, and only when looking at them from a particular point in space, which has traditionally been Sol. In the future, they’ll become just as insignificant to us as they are to an alien race. Obviously they hold significant historical value, and they’re really important to a lot of people, so I can’t just act like they’re not at all meaningful. They’re just not meaningful to me, because I don’t see shapes when I look up at the night sky. I only see dots. The series you’re about to read is inspired by the 88 modern constellations, as codified and standardized in the 1920s. I did have to add an extra thing called a dark nebula to reach the weekdays left this year.

Anyway, each one probably comes with its own mythological story. This demi-god did that, and as punishment, his father glued him to the sky, so he’s forced to suffer whatever torment for eternity. I don’t care much about these stories either. So I’m going to make up some of my own, based predominantly on the names. There appears to be multiple names for any one constellation, which gives me some options, in case one of them doesn’t inspire anything in me. The stories may be canonical, or they might not be. The first one, for instance, is called Andromeda, and I already have a character with that name. I named her partially because of Lexa Doig’s character on the titular scifi series, and partially because I like it. So I may write a new story about her, or I’ll come up with a company or place that shares the name, and have it be completely unrelated. I could also just call it Princess of Ethiopia, and use that as my jumping off point. Nothing has been decided. The point is that you shouldn’t get hung up on what you know about these constellations, or the preexisting stories that supposedly explain how they got up there. This has nothing to do with any of that. This series will get us to quite near the end of the year. Afterwards, there will be a very special standalone microfaction story that will tease you with some major changes that will be happening next year, and through much of 2023. I tell you this so you know that I don’t just make things up as I go along. My long-term plans are longer than the ones that Marvel Studios makes. It’s like a shared universe, except that there’s no one else to share it with, not even an audience. Assuming you do exist at some point, though, please enjoy these starry originals.

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