Asherah is an unpublished science fiction story with horror elements and LGBT themes that I've been working on since NaNoWriMo 2010, where it began as a space opera called Germ (later Elyon) that included huge, sentient bugs made out of time-space-warping crystals, an interstellar plague that caused explosive violence, evil corporations, an amalgam of YA and shonen tropes, and a gay romance that was a thinly veiled clone of TOS Kirk/Spock.
Almost 9 years later, the plot, setting, and characters have evolved - sometimes beyond recognition - but the core of the story remains the same: found families, romantic and non-romantic LGBTQ representation, strong anti-capitalist elements, and, of course, SPACE. (My protagonist and love interest are... still very similar to Kirk and Spock. Younger and stupider, maybe.)
My goal this year is to put focused, substantial work into building the setting and structure of Asherah. By the end of 2019, I want to have a fairly detailed "story bible" of sorts, as well as a firm-enough grasp on the basic physics, biology, and chemistry of the world I create.
Asherah contains examples of the following tropes:
- BrainComputer Interface
- Electronic Eyes: Ocular implants are a prerequisite for police or military service. Luckily, the procedure is minimally invasive, useful, and (usually) comped by employers.
- Genius Loci: Asherah, the large Earth-like moon of a gas giant, has been seeded with biomechanical artificial life that has formed a massive "internet of things"-like network. The Artificial Intelligence controlling the network and interpreting the data is effectively sentient.
- Glowing Flora: Because Bioluminescence Is Cool.
- Inscrutable Aliens: Because the various Amurru species communicate primarily through gesture and electroreception, communication is nearly impossible at first.
- Mega-Corp: The Solar Exploration Group, called "the SEG," controls pretty much every important resource available to the inner planets. They also have their own security force in order to defend their interests on Earth and in space.
- Not So Different: The Imperiosum did not originate as conquerors. Their ancestors fled their dying homeworld, leaving the poor and the weak to starve and die. In the 23rd century, the wealthiest of the human race are fleeing to climate-controlled paradises and off-world stations...
- Our Wormholes Are Different
- Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Subverted. Though the Amurru species encountered by humans seems universally imperialist and cruel, strict social programmes and selective breeding hide the truth - the Imperiosum, as they are nicknamed by the ship's resident biologist, are a dying remnant of their original society, and there are those who want an end to their leaders' dominion.
- In addition, the seemingly warlike and hostile Nomads are merely survivalists. Once the tribe discovered by the crew of the Netherfield realizes that the strangers mean no harm, they become hospitable.
- Sleeper Starship: The Imperiosum have access to advanced stasis technology. Not only does it preserve the individual, it does so by regenerating the body - the torpor pods also double as enhanced medical tech.
- Starfish Language: All of the Amurru subspecies evolved from a common troglodytic ancestor that had electroreceptive ability. Because of this, virtually all individuals regardless of subspecies have at least limited Touch Telepathy, and most are sensitive to changes in electric fields. The resulting languages (many of which also involve gestures, sounds only produced by certain alien organs, and Braille-like tactile writing systems) are virtually incomprehensible to humans without the aid of technology.
- Sufficiently Advanced Alien
- Wetware CPU