As artists, we entertain people. You work for people, not for yourself. During one of my first interviews, when I was about 18, I told the journalist that I wasn’t doing art just “for me”, but that I thought that it was something that you do for people. You do it to inspire people, to entertain people, and to cheer them up when they have a bad day.
The reefs that once inspired me to write my first story have started fading. The sea is being polluted, and climate change will not cease with us standing by.
I am not only talking about animals such as whales that are being washed up on beaches, their stomachs bursting with our garbage, or seals eating a plastic bag because they took it for a tasty jellyfish. Scientists have stated that seafood now could actually become a threat to us, as carcinogenic substances such as bisphenol A (which can leach out of bottles and cans) can settle in the bodies of fish- and therefore end up in our stomachs.
I think that equality, environment, pollution, and climate change should be important to all of us, because we as a species are living and dependent on this planet.
When I work on crafting the fictional world for the “Chariots of Orion” books, I am always reminded of how many innumerable, small things are part of a world, of a civilization, and how hard it would be to rebuild a whole world.
We currently do not have another planet.
The non-profit organisation Big Blue Ocean Cleanup-up is doing their part by helping fight pollution in the sea, by cleaning our beaches. It is important in freeing the sea from all the plastic, the waste that has formed entire islands in the oceans (“Great Pacific Garbage Patch”). This is why I have decided to support them, and to help raising awareness for the amazing work they are doing.
As a non-profit organisation that are only interested in doing what they can to help stopping pollution, they are dependent on donations and support, which is why I will from today give 1 pound / dollar for every sold copy of my book “The Request” to the Big Blue Ocean Cleanup organisation.
There are already successes around the whole planet where plastic bags and straws are being banned, and were people are trying to produce less waste by raising awareness. There are even attempts to finally clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We can still make a change for our oceans- and our environment.
This isn’t a self-promote post. I don’t claim that my book is any better than the books of other authors. It is an artwork, and art, as we know, is subject to preference and taste. But if I can use this book to do something for the planet, for the environment – for the sea that inspired me – even, if it is a small part, it would make it a successful project, and would give it purpose.
If you can use your art to help fighting pollution, then everyone can profit from it, despite taste and preference.
Today, on World UFO Day, I wanted to share this article from Futurism that I found today on Twitter, which claims that apparently, the UK Seti Research Network wants the average person to share how they would respond to a sign from an alien civilization.
As we know from a couple of movies and books, the outcome from those contacts isn’t always that much in favour of the earthlings, so it might actually be quite useful to have a collection of opinions from all kinds of people, not only from scientists. I’d love to hear what people would propose to do if we were contacted by aliens.
The problem here is; how do you respond to something that none has ever experienced? Where no studies, no analytics exist?
And, if you’re an Ancient Aliens Theorist, the Nazca lines cannot be counted as a study, so this will not help us. So I guess it will have to be figuring out what kind of extraterrestrials we are dealing with, and how we should respond to them. Maybe they are bacteria and wouldn’t be able to talk the way we are used to.
First, sorry for the clickbaity title, but earlier this morning I noticed this article from Futurism on my Twitter timeline so I thought it was time for a little analysis again.
The article mentions that now a growing number of Americans believe in aliens, and that they might hope that the aliens could turn out to be our saviours, rather than a religious character.
In the article, a professor describes how the belief in aliens works like a growing new religion, and that the threats that our planet and our civilization currently face (such as pollution, climate change, inequality) could add to the belief – and maybe even demand – that an external being could actually save us.
First, I have to admit that although at this time there still is no hard proof that aliens have visited or are currently visiting the Earth, there are many reasons to believe that they exist. While we have not managed to actually make contact with aliens yet, it is likely that they are out there, and that they might be more advanced than we are.
There are shows like Ancient Aliens that investigate the possibility that aliens have visited the Earth in the remote past and actually helped our civilization evolve, or even helped creating us. The problem that occurs is, why would aliens have visited us? And for those that believe they have helped create us, why would they do this? Would they do this to help another species because they’re nice fellows, or maybe for another reason? Could it be possible that they maybe do not want to visit because they think we’re jerks?
We will have to wait for the aliens to tell us, should they visit soon, because everything else is guesswork.
But for the time being, at least the growing belief in aliens might stand for something good: the growing acceptance of new concepts.
Do you believe in aliens? Let me know in the comments.
Dr Moone has worked hard for her job as a scientist. She even moved to Atacama, where she is working together with scientists at an observatory to discover a new planet.
Only Jim, her boyfriend, doesn’t like the idea of her staying in Atacama for months and tries to convince her that her search for the planet does have nothing to do with “reality”.
Moone, realizing that Jim apparently was never interested in her job, decides that her job is too important to her, and that she can’t return to London with him in a moment of disillusion.
Visit part 1 of the film here:
The film was inspired by the song “Supernova“, which is about emotions that can heat until they burst and turn into a “supernova”. Moone being disenchanted when she discovers that Jim doesn’t approve of her job as a scientist fits into the topic of the album “26”, which is about disillusion, which is why I recorded a new version of “Supernova” for the album and for the final version of the short film.
I’m proud to share that “26” is about to be released. This is my 5th album, and obviously, I recorded it with 26. The theme of the album is “disillusioned”, and the inspiration for the record includes everything from districts in London to jelly babies fighting for equality and humanity.
Below, I will give an introduction to the tracks and what to expect in “26”.
Jelly (The Jelly Baby Song) is about feeling all jittery when you spot your crush on the dance floor with a not-so-hidden message against racism. The idea for the music video emerged as a protest against hate speech on Twitter, and the idea to use jelly babies for the message that we can dance and celebrate together without giving “colour” a second glance was intended to stand against racism without any negativity, but with something that will make you laugh, like dancing jelly babies.
I wrote this song after writing this article, and after having received – you may have guessed it – a severe (oh yes, and utterly painful) sunburn not “all over my body” but all over my arms and head.
The inspiration for this album was “disillusion”, so this is the most disillusioned song on it. “Diamond” is the reflection that something you wanted has become something you don’t want. What better to use as a synonym for reflection than a diamond?
The moment that you are realizing that a relationship won’t go into the direction you had hoped because a person moves away from you or would not relocate can be painful. In this moment you are free from egoistic emotions and feel numb.
Last Day In The World
Art is a way to express yourself, and passion gives you that expression. The song is about passion. I was inspired when I was walking about Piccadilly Square, and through Soho in London at night, feeling those vibes in those creative and vibrant districts that give you a certain energy.
I Need You
When I was a kid, Celine Dion’s “The Colour of my Love” used to play in our home, and “Everybody’s Talking My Baby Down” actually inspired me for this track, after I suddenly discovered the album again on Spotify whilst working on “26”.
I actually wrote the song in the summer, and the atmospheric instruments made me think of snow flakes prancing through the air. It is about feeling disenchanted when a relationship becomes mundane, like snow melts when spring arrives.
Who has listened to “Aquamarine” knows that I’m sometimes getting inspired by the sea. It may be because my ancestors were seafarers, or because the sea is just so fascinating. I picture a relationship heading towards a fight as a ship heading towards a storm. Whether you make it through the storm or not will determine if there will be a breakup or not.
A song to remind us of the most important thing; to be grateful. As a person affected by a thyroid disease that hadn’t been diagnosed until I hit 23, I had to remind myself a couple of times to be grateful that treatments allow me to do what I do, and that everything you receive is a gift.
Long Way (Disillusioned)
As artists we have that voice inside us. We have a second Spotify inside our heads playing songs we have not produced yet, a collection with stories that could be turned into books, a private cinema that only plays our thoughts. The noise all of this makes can be not half as amazing as people who are free from this voice may think. Still, could you imagine not having all those ideas all the time? It can be a long way from inspiration to a record, and only half of all the songs I produce usually make it on the album. But it wouldn’t work without that noise on my mind.
This is a song about Instagram, and how it tricks us into keeping scrolling like a lover that wants our attention. We’re scrolling through the feed, which becomes blurred, and we become blurred.
Supernova (Bonus Track)
Those that have listened to my stuff for a bit longer will already know this one. Supernova is THE disillusion song, because it is about the moment you are realizing that someone used to be everything for you, and then suddenly, those emotions are replaced by fury, and then by a feeling of “whatev, they ain’t worth it”.
The short film accompanying the song, on which I am working, tells the story of Dr Moone (me), a scientist that is disenchanted when she realizes that her boyfriend Jim (Flamur Blakaj) never was interested in her becoming a successful scientist. Andy Quan directed this short film that reminds us how important equality is.
Music video for Jelly (The Jelly Baby Song) on YouTube
As many of you know, I recently published my new novel, “The Chariots of Orion 2: The Contract”, the sequel to “The Chariots of Orion 1”. I sometimes get asked by people how I did the world building behind the story, and behind the book, so I wanted to make a little post about how to create your own fantasy or sci-fi world.
This one sounds probably lame, but it is actually quite important. By inspiration I mean something that will give you an idea as to how your world could look like if you’re just starting out. Some writers will tell you that you need the story, first, but I’d say you can forget about that. I think that on the contrary, the setting helps you create your story, and you should have your world, first.
Inspiration is actually quite easy to get. You could, that’s obvious, read fantasy and sci-fi books, preferably those with strong world building, but don’t try to copy any of them, because your work should be your creation.
I also like to read books that show ancient maps, because this will inspire you when you start drawing your maps for your world, and I also recommend that you read books about travelling, books that show marvellous landscapes, because this will inspire you for the landscapes in your world.
You don’t need to have your story yet, but once you have an idea as to how your world could look like, it’s time for thinking about the context. Is your world a futuristic civilisation on a planet in another constellation? Is it a people of hunters living in a rainforest? Is your story in the range of fantasy or sci-fi, or something between? Is it a space opera with colonised planets, or a city where only wizards live?
Before you start building your setting, think about the context. World building doesn’t start in your head, it starts in your story.
Wait, you think. Didn’t you just say that you don’t need to have a story to start creating the world? That is why you only need the context.
You can’t just sit down and start making up names to create a fictional civilisation. Well, you can, but it may not be that realistic.
It’s getting scientific, now. If you have read my book, you may know that I have spent months researching how an exoplanet could look like, before writing the story. I don’t say that you have to spend months researching, but I am convinced that if your world is scientifically good researched that it might help your story. I wanted my world to be as realistic as it could be, so I wrote down what I had to find out about my planet. So, I wanted the planet to be really realistic, so I actually went to talk to scientists. I made a list that you could use:
1. How large is the planet? It will have an impact on how much you would weigh on the planet, and therefore how the people on that planet look.
2. Does it orbit a sun? Or more? How many? What kind of suns? If the sun is a Blue Giant and very hot, but you want a cold climate, the planet would have to be very far away from its sun, and so on.
3. What is the planet composed of? Stone? Gas?
4. How tectonically active is the planet and how do the tectonics work?
5. What is the atmosphere composed of? The atmosphere on my planet contains more oxygen, which leads to higher danger of fires, which is why all buildings on the planet are made of non-burning material, so this will have an impact on the way your citizens build their cities.
6. How many earth-years is a year? How long does it take the planet to orbit round its sun? (You can find that out if you know the mass of the planet and the sun, and the distance)
7. How is the axis of the planet? Is it tilted like on the Earth, or straight? Your decision will have a great impact on the climate of the planet (tilted: seasons, straight: no seasons, more extreme climate zones).
8. How is the climate? (First, decide what the axis of the planet is)
9. Does the planet have moons? Maybe rings? Artificial stations in the orbit? The moons are very important as they will affect your climate. So if you have three moons, as on my planet, your characters might witness a good deal of floods and tsunamis.
Once you know the characteristics of your planet, you can start defining the land masses. The characteristics you have found out before will now help you create the lands. A planet that is larger and that is highly tectonically active will look different than a smaller planet which is not so tectonically active.
Now comes the fun part! After analysing your scientific characteristics of the planet, you can actually start draw your maps. When drawing the outlines of your land masses, always consider your list to help you. Your planet is very large and highly tectonically active, and does have more than one moon, such as my planet? Your outlines will look jagged and torn, and there may be a good deal of erosion. Your planet isn’t tectonically active at all, far away from its sun, but does have more than one moon? Your planet may be known for its ferocious storms, and it could be raining methane. What about a methane flood? It’s science fiction after all, and although I really like realistic worlds, it should still be fun!
Also think about where your cities are, if there are rivers, where the climate zones are. If you have a very advanced species, you may put your capital into an arid, dry plain with no soil to grow food, because you could presume that a very advanced civilization could likely grow their food in farms within the city. If your world is medieval, you might want to think if the setting where you have put the city is realistic, if the people there are capable of growing food. But it’s fantasy and science fiction, so, if your species can eat stone, or they just hunt, that’s fine.
You may have already thought about what kind of species you want to write about in your book. If not, then you can create them based on the characteristics of your planet and your land masses. If the planet is far away from its sun, it may be very dark, and your species need large eyes. If the planet is larger, they may be quite skinny, because they are heavier than they would be one the Earth. Did your species evolve on your planet, or did they colonise it?
Are there animals on your planet? If no, then your characters probably won’t be eating meat every week. Once you know what the climate is like, you also can start defining what kind of life the planet supports. Also think about how old your planet is, because it will affect evolution.
I saved this, because it’s the most fun- but also quite important. The culture of your civilization will affect your story greatly. It might define whether your civilisation is peaceful, or belligerent, whether they are religious or not (on my planet, one civilisation is very religious, the other one not), and their language. You have to figure out:
Languages (see below)
What language does your civilization speak? Do they have any writing system?
What kind of music do your civilizations have? If they have music at all.
Do they have a religion?
If yes, you will have to think about what kind of religion, how much that religion affects their tradition, and what the religion is about, how it evolved.
Entertainment and culture are intertwined, so you will have to figure our what kind of entertainment exists on your planet, or in your world. Note that if you make up some kind of dance you will have to explain how that dance evolved, and it might help if you know what kind of music your civilization does have.
If you make up steps for a dance, you could test how it looks when you play the music you have already created.
What are people wearing in your setting? You will have to decide what kind of climate your civilization lives in before you decide on their clothing.
Buildings can tell you whether a civilization likes embellishment, or if they don’t care about things like that.
What kind of tradition does your civilization have? Are they conservative? Are they only interested into progress, and don’t care about tradition?
What is the etiquette in your society, if you’d have to advise someone who wants to travel to your fictional planet or world, what would you tell them not to do?
Before you can make up your languages, you should have defined the culture of your species. The culture will affect your language, and both should merge so that it looks realistic.
You have to know a few things:
1. Do your species talk? Do they have a mouth? Do they have a body at all, or are they beings made of some kind of fog? Are they colonial organisms? If you know this, write it down, because the way the species communicates will affect the language.
2. How old is the civilisation? The older the species is, the more complex the language will be. A very ancient civilization might have altered its language innumerable times, because languages change.
3. Do your people have hands? Do they have writing? Because then you will have to invent a writing system, too!
4. Find inspiration from languages from the Earth. I started to learn new languages, like Hebrew or Mandarin, and started trying to read hieroglyphs for my book, just to learn the characteristics of those languages and as an inspiration for my fabricated alien language. I’m not telling you that you have to learn new languages just for inspiration, of course, but only learning some words and a bit of grammar might already help, because it helps you understand the way languages work.
5. The language should merge with the culture. This will make your language look more convincing. Also figure out what the music of such a species would sound like (if they have music). I created some compositions for the civilizations on my planet, which actually were helping create the languages. I will upload them once I’ve mixed them.
Another thing I did was writing “interviews” with some characters, in their native language. It’s another way to “test” if the language sounds convincing and realistic when spoken.
Hope this guide will help you create your own world and let me know if you have created one:)