The Silence of Ancient Light

The Silence of Ancient Light is the story of humanity’s most daring mission yet since our ancestors first crossed out of Africa, a journey to a far-distant star to investigate hints of life. The story follows the adventures of the crew of Aniara, the first true starship capable of crossing the vast interstellar gulf in something less than centuries.

This is a work-in-progress, so what you will read here are, for the most part, first drafts of scenes, typically from 1000 to 2000 words in length, with a new scene published whenever I finish it (typically, or currently, at approximately two-week intervals). Consider yourself a beta reader! Doubtless you will find errors, perhaps as simple as typos that I’ve missed, or as complex as unresolved plot holes or logical inconsistencies (update: there are definitely some logical inconsistencies, due to updating technical knowledge after posting a scene, or decisions about taking the story in a different direction, but hopefully they are relatively minor, and few and far between). Please leave a remark in the comments to let me know, so that I can improve upon the story.

Perhaps you’ll find places where I’ve made glaring technical mistakes, with the technology or the astronomy. I strive to make the technology realistic, or at least plausible, building upon ideas already being explored at NASA and other places (even if in only in white papers for now), but I don’t claim to be an expert, and at the end of the day this is speculative fiction with a certain amount of willing suspension of disbelief. Nevertheless, if you have suggestions for improvements to the technical workings of Aniara and her systems, or to the nature of the star system and planets she visits, or anything else, please leave a comment! In fact, I’d love to get into a solid discussion of some of the technology ideas I’m exploring here.

Whether or not you find my mistakes, I hope you will enjoy The Silence of Ancient Light, and I hope you’ll join a conversation with me and other readers about the story.

Our journey so far…

  1. Chapter 1
    1. Arrival
    2. Approach
    3. Observatory
    4. Ring
    5. Flip and Burn
    6. Geostationary
  2. Chapter 2
    1. Reaction
    2. Pressure
    3. EVA
    4. Periapsis
    5. Deorbital
  3. Chapter 3
    1. Lagoon
    2. Toxicology
    3. Chef
    4. Inland
    5. Stormfront
    6. Cavern
  4. Chapter 4
    1. Indigo Ocean
    2. Fire in the Dark
    3. Damage
    4. Notes in the Dark
    5. Outfitting
    6. Reef Passage
  5. Chapter 5
    1. Red Sky at Morning
    2. First Contact
    3. Sea Dreams
    4. Denizens of the Deep
    5. Nightwatch
    6. Changing Course
  6. Chapter 6
    1. Reunion
    2. Classroom
    3. Ancient News
    4. Where Are They Now?
    5. Taboos and Discoveries
    6. Telescope
  7. Chapter 7
    1. Cafeteria
    2. Cliff Divers 
    3. Prisoners
    4. Visitors
    5. Confrontation
    6. Grotto
  8. Chapter 8
    1. Escape
    2. A Light Upon the Sea
    3. Interrogated by the Orta
    4. Fear and Trust
    5. So Many Stars, and So Quiet
    6. The Drowned City
  9. Chapter 9
    1. An Open Door
    2. Circuit Breakers
    3. Decisions and Departures
    4. Ascent to the Void
    5. The Climber
    6. Coffee and Control
    7. Arrival, Interrupted
  10. Chapter 10
    1. Plan B
    2. Radio Frequency
    3. Compartmentalized
    4. A Myriad Oases
    5. A Precarious Exit
    6. Fifty Meters of Emptiness
  11. Chapter 11
    1. Recovery
    2. All is Lost (new!)

… to be continued.

image credit: NASA/JPL-CalTech

15 thoughts on “The Silence of Ancient Light

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    1. I know, I know, I’m derelict in my duty! I claim real-world getting in the way of what should be more important things. Although, as I wrote in a reply to a tweet earlier tonight, I make a lot of progress in my writing without doing any writing at all! Staring off into space, or while hiking through the woods, ruminating on how to solve the central problem of the next scene…

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Interrogated by the Orta (beta/WIP) – Matt Fraser

  5. Pingback: Fear and Trust (beta/WIP) – Matt Fraser

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