(Because “The Big Idea” has already been done. This post is about the Ideas that underline my novels, specifically the Star Trilogy.)
When I started to think about the origins of my bad guy race, the Votainions, I decided that they would be as close to human as possible. I wanted to be able to show their point of view in the novels. In order to do that, I needed my readers to be able to identify with them almost as closely as they identified with the human characters. I couldn’t do that as easily if they were truly alien, aliens.
The Star Trilogy stories are all set in a fictional universe that can best be described as being like the Star Wars universe. In other worlds, I don’t make direct references to human history. Unlike say, Star Trek where the story is set in the distant future and could possibly come true one day. This explains why my characters never reference particular historical details.
I’ve always been fascinated by human history. I’m not talking about written history, but rather archaeological history. There were times in our distant past when there were more than one hominid species roaming the earth along side of homo-sapiens. Either through environmental change or extermination, we now only have one species on earth. But what if a sophisticated race of aliens had visited earth when there were for instance, neanderthals and humans both living beside each other, and took the neanderthals away. Imagine if these advanced aliens deposited the neanderthals on some other planet, light years away from earth. Finally, imagine if the neanderthals then evolved into a space faring civilization and started to make their way towards earth.
This is the premise of the whole series. The Votainions are my neanderthals and the humans of the Alliance are my advanced earthlings, as it were. Again, I make no reference to earth or to neanderthals directly, I just imply that this is where the bad guys originated. By placing the Votainions on another, distant world, they set into motion events that would lead to them evolving slightly different than they would have had they been left on Selene, my universe’s home planet. This is why the Votainions are blue skinned and more violent by nature than the humans, otherwise they are described pretty much the same as if they were neanderthals.
If you were paying attention back there, you may have noticed that I had some Ancient Astronauts enter the mix. Yeah, those stories have always fascinated me. But the way they were handled in Prometheus was totally unbelievable for me. My “Ancients” as they are even so boldly referred to, are never actually seen. They set in motion events that by chance result in a war between the humans and the Votainions. But if both races are from the same planet and are 98% the same in terms of their DNA; why should they even be fighting? They are practically cousins. This is what the final book in the trilogy is all about. It’s a coming to terms with their history and reconciling their bloody past. In fact the overall theme of the novel is Reconciliation.
That alone would be a decent central conflict for the novel, but I have added more complexity. What about the sentient androids in my universe, the Silicants? That, my friends will have to wait for another post.