In my ‘Infinite Worlds’ series, (which starts with ‘If It’s Easy’) a previously unknown planet is discovered in an alternate universe. The scientists who discover this world call it Terra Geminus. Without giving too much away, the initial expedition finds the planet is not only colonized but already named New Olympus! Confusing? Not really. It’s common for one group of people to call a landmark one thing, and another group refer to that same landmark by a completely different name.
I knew sooner or later, I’d have to decide where in the skies my imagined planet of Terra Geminus resided. I already knew the planet would not be in our skies…but where? Did I focus on its immediate galaxy? Was it in a solar system?
Before I drove myself even further nutty, I knew it was time to buckle down and learn the differences before I made a mistake there was no coming back from. So, here’s what I learned.
A star system is a large number of stars and accompanying bodies with a perceptible structure. (Sounds a lot like a galaxy to me)
Our solar system is a collection of eight planets and their moons, comets, asteroids, gases and star dust in orbit around the sun.
A galaxy is a system of millions of stars, gas and dust, all held together by gravitational forces.
A universe is all existing matter and space as a whole containing vast, uncountable numbers of galaxies.
So then my question changed. Did I want to focus on only the planet or the larger galaxy it belonged to?
My overall plan is to tell the stories of other characters on other worlds, all of whom will be in the same galaxy, and will all have some degree of interconnectedness.
(Think of knots in a web. Connected, but still on different points within the web)
I knew then, that I had to name the galaxy as well.
Just as Earth is but one body in our Milky Way galaxy, so too will Terra Geminus/New Olympus be just one planet of many in the Claudisius galaxy. There are other worlds, stars, comets and gas balls in the Claudisius galaxy of course. There are scientists, dreamers, cartographers, xenobiologists and explorers as well, all roaming about and having adventures.
‘If it’s Easy’ introduces us to two of those explorers, and ‘Infinite Worlds’ shares more of their story with us, and allows us to go with them on the adventure of a lifetime as they race to save an expedition to Terra Geminus. Like our own lives, small grains on a large planet, in a larger galaxy in a vast universe.
After all, we can’t possibly be the only life among the stars.