The motivation behind building Solaris
The idea for Solaris came to me after reading a lot of Silver Millenium fanfic. I had been working on the Morning Realm, a dnd world for about a year, and I was feeling constrained by the limitations of working with and around tabletop rules. I craved to work on something where I could make whatever I wanted.
I have been drawn to science fiction, and kind of rebuffed time and time again. It's an intimidating genre, which isn't aided by the healthy helping of well actualism
. I want to do the opposite of the current science fiction conventions. Science is cool, but it isn't at odds with art and imagination.
I believe I can celebrate science while also ignoring what a gas giant planet is actually like. I believe encouraging imagination is encouraging a curious, and therefore scientific, mind.
Speculative fiction often looks towards the future, and often I am faced with how frequently Science fiction paints a future that does not include me and the people I love.
I want to make a world that not just acknowledges, but celebrates them. Diversity is our greatest strength.
I was also inspired by how Naoko Takeuchi brings what she loves into Sailor Moon, and how shamelessly Neon Genesis Evangelion rips off mythology. Takeuchi's interests shine through in her work, especially her love of High Fashion. I wanted to take a leaf out of their book and work in my own interests in my worldbuilding.
In short, I want to challenge this idea that there is a right way to worldbuild science fiction. I wanted to create a world for the people I love, and I wanted to showcase what I am passionate about.
The goal of the project
The ultimate goal of Solaris is to make a webcomic
. This story will be set on Mercury, at the migratory base known as Penumbra
. My co-writer and girlfriend Skye has written a prologue that you can read here: Those who fly close to the sun
The webcomic is still in development, and I hope to make some smaller standalone strips as practice first.
Little Blue is a standalone comic I started during Summer Camp 2022
. As of right now, there are two pages up. I'm working on the next set of pages, and hope to finish them before spring.
Solaris's Unique Selling point
Universal NYE Celebration by Annie Stein
Sun Soup Dumpling by Annie Stein
Solaris is a modern take on the Space Opera. It is an adventure in a spacefaring world, the stakes are high and the scenery awe-inspiring. It has elements of soft Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Solaris is a loveletter to space and imagination. Like stories from the pulp era of sci-fi, Solaris imagines what life could be like on other planets in our very own solar system, painted in bright hues and fueled by the desire to meet someone from another place.
Solaris is human. Its inhabitants might seem alien at first, but once you get past the strange colors, different features, and new customs, and you'll realize that they're deeply familiar at their core.
Solaris is personal. Although you will follow people who will influence and be influenced by the broader world, the focus of the story is on their personal journeys, trials and growth.
Solaris is generally a bright world, though the shades vary depending on location. The Oort Cloud
veers into a dark lovecraftian territory, and the main action at Penumbra
is somewhere in the middle. No war is ever completely justified.
The articles set on and around Mercury are certainly more melancholic. Some examples of dwelving into the bittersweet include Oasis, Iron Spires and Walker
Darkness lurks at the edges of the Sol System. The Sentinel's task is a grim one, and the Oort Cloud has terrible implications.
- Self discovery. Learning about yourself for the first time or figuring out new parts of yourself that you didn't know existed.
- Glossy lights. Shiny pinpricks with luminescent rays. Brilliant lights ringed with haze.
- Trauma and recovery. How we deal with being hurt: withdrawing or lashing out? How and if we move on.
Like in our world, power is unfairly distributed. While humanity is, on average, enabled to do more, this goes tenfold for those who are wealthy or born into power.
This is at its most extreme with the Keystones
. They are infinitely more powerful than your regular mortal. Even if they don't exercise that power, and are themselves at the mercy of institution, it is still available to them.
has turned on its own system. The angels who once guided humanity are now Scourge
hellbent on destruction. The sustained collaboration of the planets has, for now, suceeded in containing the fight to Mercury
2. The last Keystone of Mercury sacrificed herself to chain the Sun and contain the invasion. She left no known heir, and with the majority of the population seeking asylum all across the solar system finding the next Keystone may prove to be quite the challenge.
3. Shipments are being lost when travelling between Saturn and Jupiter. Rumours say these aren't independent pirates, but privateers. The question then is, who are they working for?
4. Tensions are at an all time high over the disputes over who exactly own the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter, especially now that the Belter Independence Movement is gaining traction.
The Horrors in the Beyond continue to lurk in the edges of the Solar System, always watching for an opening. Many have forgotten the threats in the Oort Cloud
, but they certainly haven't forgotten about Sol.