In preparation for writing my next space opera – Starveyors, I’ve been spending some time thinking about its themes. Each book in the Star Trilogy has an overall theme, kind of like the Three Colors films from Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski. Each film – Blue, White and Red are named after the colors of the French flag and each film’s theme is based on the virtues that the flag’s colors stand for: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. By the way, if you have not seen this French language series, do yourself a favor and watch them. They are cinematic masterpieces.
Starforgers is about Revenge, Starstrikers is about Teamwork and Starveyors will be about Reconciliation. Each book takes place at different times during a long, bitter war between the two galactic civilizations. Starforgers shows how the conflict started, Starstrikers takes place in the middle of the conflict and Starveyors shows how the conflict ends.
With all that in mind, I set out to define how the theme of reconciliation is to be realized in Starveyors. We have both sides of the conflict coming together to stop a long and bitter war and we have a third side, helping to unlock mysteries about where the two sides come from. A secondary theme in Starveyors focuses on the human sense of place. There is a planetary moon in the stories and it has a special importance to the whole trilogy. Weeds that grow on the moon, cause humans to have visions of the future and that leads in no small way to the start of the war. Silicate dug up from the moon allows androids to achieve sentience. These are very mysterious things and they are all a part of this one moon.
Humans who live on the moon are very bound and determined to stay there, despite harsh climate conditions and the eventual over-mining that happen from processing the special silicate for the now independent life forms known as Silicants. The mining begins to encroach on sacred ground to the humans and this adds yet another layer of conflict in the final novel of the trilogy.
To prepare for this novel, I’ve been reading bits and pieces of many non-fiction books about artificial intelligence, human roots to the land where they live and of course diplomacy. Oddly enough, I have not read any related fiction on those topics. I need to find my own path and I don’t want to be influenced by other writers, just the sources of my themes.
The final way I will be expressing these two themes are through the characters in the novel. A careful reader will be able to draw connections between each major character and see that one or both of these themes are core themes for certain characters. I think this adds to the depth of the story and gives it weight. I never beat the reader over the head with themes, but if you’re paying close attention, you see that they are woven into the story.
Besides, I like a good adventure story with a slightly deeper meaning to it.