Of the first nine episodes of the Fantasy Realm, “The Planet of Millenia” was the hardest, and yet it is one of my top favorites, right next to “A Pirate’s Life.”
This story challenged my expectations, my writing impulses, my ability to write to long tracks, and my imposter syndrome. In the end, it became the story in which I poured my heart and soul into.
Fantasy and science fiction are bonded in blood and bookshelfs anywhere you go. It’s obvious fantasy and sci-fi are two sides of the same coin, so I instantly knew when I came up with the concept of this radio show, I had to try my hand at writing science fiction.
I love sci-fi. I read sci-fi books and comics. I watch a lot of sci-fi movies and tv shows. I even like to read scientific books that educate me, like Neil deGrasse Tyson’s book “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” which is one of my favorites.
However, I will bite my tongue before I even try to write a sci-fi novel. The reason is quite simple: science and I do not work well together. I gave up my dream of being an archeologist, because I just did not do well in science classes. Clearly, it was not meant for me. Now, you don’t need a degree in science to write sci-fi, but the last thing I want is to anger a bunch of science fanatics, because I used alloy metals incorrectly in my writing… or something like that.
Still, this show is a place for me to experiment, so I tried my hand at writing sci-fi.
The biggest challenge for me was writing a story that did not have too many scientific elements that would make it hard to follow. As a story that’s meant to be heard with music, I need listeners to be able understand my words and imagine my world without having to try and recall high school biology.
I decided to keep it real classic and simple in the writing. Spaceships and galaxies are terms that easily bring up images in anyone’s imagination. So, to keep using the listener’s imagination, I decided to keep it all real simple.
I often have an impulse to over-explain and illustrate the scenario. Whether it be the character or the setting, I will tell you all the details you need to know. I challenged myself with this story to do the opposite. I wanted this world to be left open, so all the details can naturally be filled by the listener’s imagination.
None of the Viridescent people or the Cerulean people are described in full detail, save for their skin color. The spaceships are hardly described save for their basic shape. The land is only ever really described as one side blue and one side green. The land and marine creatures are described as only that: creatures. Not even the humans are described.
We know very little about our galaxies, so there is nothing but space and time to be filled with our daydreams. I wanted to honor that with a story that allowed the opportunity for the listener to daydream of what our galaxies may look like.
Speaking of detail, the Cerulean being weeping at the pond has a backstory. It’s nothing too large. Frankly, a whole novel could be written about what brought the Cerulean to explode his ship to save the humans, but all I’ve got is this:
The Cerulean being is name Cat’halla, and they were forced into the Cerulean army by their father who is a general. Cat’halla has felt far more sympathy than any other Cerulean for the Viridescent people, but they have been forced to keep quiet, or they may be killed. At night, Cat’halla would escape the naval ship of their clan and carry ocean water over to a divet which they later carved into a pond. After some time, they brought over some marine creatures which brought life to the pond. One night, they saw the dance of harmony and began to weep at the sight they thought impossible. That is the night they saw you, traveler.
Another challenge that came with this story is writing to very long music tracks. The last two songs “War” by James Horner and “The Journey / Kopano Part III” by Hans Zimmer are some of my absolute favorite film score tracks of all time. I think they are just so powerful and moving. I knew I needed to include them in this story.
However, “War” is 11 minutes long. It is the longest track I’ve had to write to, and it really got me worried. It is because of this track that I started to doubt my ability to write these radio episodes, let alone write stories at all. It was tricky, lining up my reading speed with the music, but all in all, it was worth it. It became a fantastic end for my tale, and I am quite proud with how it came out.
Funny enough, this story is actually inspired by “The Journey / Kopano Part III” by Hans Zimmer. I knew I wanted this to be the last song of the story, because I had a clear vision of humans of all shapes, sizes, and colors running through a flourishing Earth. With that vision in mind, the rest of the story took shape.
I like to think of this story as the season finale of Season One for the Fantasy Realm, because the batch of stories I had pre-written for the semester is all dried up. I am now working on the next batch of stories to finish off the semester. Season Two will feature some very simple stories in classic Fantasy Realm style, but it will also feature some exciting new tales that will challenge me even more that this one.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed this epic adventure. As always, stayed tune for more to come.