The Inspiration for SOLASTALGIA
Look at the cover for SOLASTALGIA to the left here. Now consider the European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter photo (below) taken from inside Venus's orbit on 18 November 2020. It should be apparent were the idea for the cover originated. That photo inspired me to put CLOUDS aside for a few months and dive straight into SOLASTALGIA. Just look at the cover of SOLASTALGIA and you will understand my artistic license using photos of Earth, Mars and Venus since they are all critical to the story. Ah, the brain works in very mysterious ways...
Dansplaining the inspiration for SOLASTALGIA
Wow! What a photo! The picture was snapped while the European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter looked back towards home from over 155 million miles (about 250 million kilometres) away. The spacecraft is part of a research project developed by the European Space Agency and launched by NASA in 2020. It circles our sun inside Earth’s orbit and its trajectory carries it over the sun’s poles and sometimes inside Mercury’s orbit. The Solar Orbiter spacecraft’s camera (the Heliospheric Imager) captured Venus, Earth, and Mars together on November 18, 2020. The Sun is located on the right, outside the image frame to the right of Mars in this view.
When I first saw this photo in late January 2021, I was immediately reminded of Carl Sagan’s "Pale Blue Dot" poem. An earlier photo taken by NASA’s Voyager 1 Spacecraft on Valentine’s Day 1990 inspired him to write that epic poem. That photo captured a distant Earth seen through Saturn’s rings across some six billion kilometres (3.7 billion miles) of space. I reckon if that photo of Mother Earth could inspire one of my heroes, Carl Sagan, then for sure, the Solar Orbiter photo of Venus, Earth and Mars could inspire me. For that matter, all three of those planets - Venus, Earth and Mars - are at the crux of the storyline in EIGHT. I always knew I would write a sequel to EIGHT, though I thought it would come later. But now the Solar Orbiter's Heliospheric Imager photo has prodded me to start a new novel, SOLASTALGIA. It will pick up from where EIGHT left off.
I must post Sagan’s "Pale Blue Dot" here. I highly recommend you take the three minutes and click the link to hear him recite it on You Tube.