Hello wonderful people,
Today’s rambling begins with a series of question-marks.
Is it an airplane? Is it a spaceship? No, it’s an airship. Why? And what does that mean?
The means of transportation in particular were a large portion of the Horizon’s early conceptualization. As the Horizon slowly took shape in my mind and I started setting down the rules of my entire fictional universe, I had to ask myself a lot of questions. Why and how things happen? So, I began answering this question based on the things I knew for certain. And I knew exactly the feeling and the sensation I wanted my universe to have. I had already decided that I wanted the Horizon to have floating islands. It gave more room for my stories to unfold (and of course, massive aerial battles but I’m trying not to get over-excited here).
I wanted it to be a fast-paced universe, but not breathtakingly fast. I didn’t want for my characters to need arduous months or years to go from place to place, but I didn’t want for them to jump around instantaneously either. I wanted to give them time to… well… enjoy the scenery. I wanted the characters to be able to experience the world around them.
I wanted their travels to be adventurous, but not necessarily life threatening. I wanted real-life complications of sorts. Situations to which people might connect to. And let’s face it: a black hole or a pulsar exploding are a lot less common during our real-life travels than, let’s say, a thunderstorm.
Yes, the weather was very important for me. What a beautiful and versatile character the weather is. A simple nuisance or even a villain. Called into action when convenient, with little or no notice. What an amazing parable of emotions. Easy winds or dark clouds. The sound of thunder. The rain running down in streams outside the windows. The humid cold of the world outside against the warmth of your cabin. So, everything pointed towards the Horizon having a unified and universal atmosphere. The 12 Storms were an afterthought, back in the first days.
Atmosphere requires an airplane. Or at least an aerodynamic shape —not to mention that the massive aerial battles would now make a lot of sense physics-wise. But airplanes didn’t really fit the bill. I wanted their travels to be short, but not that short. I wanted their travels to be more than simply getting into your seat and waiting for the ride to end. To allow enough room, practically and figuratively, for the characters to be energetic during their travels. I wanted to be able to relay the sensation of a ship as it draws near its destination. The anticipation of the characters. Their interactions. Enough time and room for them to eat and sleep and discuss, and maybe have an adventure or two.
More importantly, I wanted to keep it simple. I wanted a retro universe. A universe in which technology has not overwhelmed humanity. Where you need to physically steer your vehicle instead of ordering a computer. Where you need to look out of the windscreen to figure out where you’re going. Where, if something breaks, you need to pick up a wrench and fix it.
So, I needed a ship, with wings. Swift and agile enough to be exciting, sturdy enough to brave a battle or two and large enough to become a home away from home for my protagonists. But not too edgy, technology wise. In our day and age, we could even call it outdated. Closer to Nemo’s Nautilus than Solo’s Millennium Falcon. Ages away from Archer’s Enterprise.
And that is how airships were born.
And what does it mean? Mesmerizing nighttime flights with your head resting against your cabin’s window, observing the faraway lights of distant troves as your airship softly cuts through thin clouds. With a cup of warm brew at hand, and swarms of a myriad luminescent creatures following your trail like dolphins.
I hope you will enjoy the flight as much as I have.
P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the airships, the atmosphere and the troves of the Horizon. Have you read about the permanent Storms and how they interact with the world? Live your comments below!