It’s all over the news this morning that a planet has been discovered orbiting Alpha Centauri, our nearest star. Okay, so it’s not an Earth-twin, it’s a tiny, superheated rock. But still, it’s an exoplanet orbiting our closest neighbour, and that’s pretty damn exciting.
It’s particularly exciting for me, for the utterly solipsistic reason that between the ages of fourteen and eighteen I spent a lot of time writing extremely derivative lost-colony novels about a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri. If I’d known fanfic existed, they might have been a bit less derivative, or at least more honestly so, since I’d have had a vocabulary to express ‘World that owes a lot to Pern and Darkover, heroine who started life as Luke Skywalker’s surprisingly kick-ass elder sister’ with and the tools to be able to tell that from original creation. Then again, if I’d known fanfic existed, they might be out there in some form embarrassing me, rather than on the shelves in my bedroom where no one but me is likely to encounter them, so it’s an ill wind that blows no one any good.
Anyway, a lot of what eventually got into Requite started in orbit around Alpha Centauri. The quadrangle of relationships between the Boccamera, the Mukhtars, the Malabranca and the Kapellans began there, for example, even if they all started out answering to other names. The pre-Boccamera were led by several generations of women who made Ligeia look like a cream puff, and the Feud had its capital letter, even if it started over something a lot more melodramatic than Cimmenze’s foot.
So I’m delighted to hear about that small overheated rock. We have a neighbour out there in the sky. May it lead to many more stories.
Image by Wikipedia user Skatebiker, used under Creative Commons License