I’ve been taken over today by another writer, Gillian Rooke. We’ve known each other for many years online and unless she tells me differently, we actually met at a literary event in Derby many Earth orbits ago. Gillian was an early member of the British Science Fiction Association Orbiters, where members send chapters or short stories to each other for critique before submitting them to publishers.
SUN DRAGONS is a debut children’s science fiction ebook by Gillian. While it is a fantasy, there is some very interesting solar science behind it. This blog piece is her promo. Read and be amazed then buy her book for your children, nieces, nephews, neighbours.
Sun Dragons By J K Rooke
I see no reason to suppose that water is the only basis for intelligent life. Indeed, computers are intelligent by some standards and they certainly aren’t water based. The whole universe that man knows of uses the same set of elements, and the main reasons for different combinations of these, seem to be temperature and pressure.
Where methane is liquid why could it not be the basis for life forms? Yes, they would be in temperatures colder than any on Earth, but the life would have evolved in these temperatures, and it might have had the same timescale in which to evolve, as life on Earth.
Fire is a plasma but can often be considered to behave as a liquid, plus it has different zones giving interfaces which could provide a lively substrate for the seeding and breeding of life. We see how useful these clines are when looking at the number of species which specialize in living close to hot spots around the edge of boiling water. Above ground they are mostly bacteria, but in the hydrothermal vents beneath the sea there are unique creatures the size of a human child. Moreover, the species differ from vent to vent and it is a mystery in any case, how they could travel across thousands of miles of ocean to seek a new hot spot when the one they inhabit becomes inactive. In other words, how do you get such distinctive species evolving in the short timescale of an active hydrothermal vent? One solution might be that as the vent cools, they move inside it and travel along the lava tube until they find another hot spot. But here they would be likely to encounter active lava, and how would they get through this? There might be blow holes to the surface close to the newly active vent. Investigation is obviously difficult.
There is also a difficulty in discovering creatures that actually live in fire because of the limitations in our technology. As you would expect life forms in liquid methane to live “in the slow lane” and probably take a little longer to evolve than life on Earth, so creatures living in fire are in “the fast lane” and we would expect their lives, by our standard, to be short. However, this does not mean that the creatures would not be intelligent. In a split second they could learn as much as we can in our lifetimes. I have seen ball lightning, around the size of a football and at a distance of ten feet, and it really does give the impression of being alive.
There is also the fact that creatures evolved in fire would be far more ancient than any other life in our solar system. And it is odd that in so many creation myths fire creatures play a part. You could say that it is just because ancient man must have revered volcanoes as gods, because they are so spectacular.
There is a more persuasive myth, and this concerns the Salamander. We know that Amphibians evolved long before reptiles, and salamanders are perhaps the most ancient of amphibians. The giant salamander was revered as a sacred creature by the local people. But why were salamanders thought of as creatures of fire?
Well amphibians have abilities that no other vertebrate has. They can breathe through their skins, and more importantly some have the ability to expel water from their cells so that the cells do not burst when they are frozen. This can also happen in drought. A toad overtaken by complete lack of moisture can mummify itself, by collecting the remaining water in its body into the heart and Central Nervous System leaving the rest of the body dead but not rotting. When the water returns the cells in the mummified areas absorb it and the animal returns to normal business.
Now this ability to move liquid in and out of cells at will would be very useful to a creature that might have to move through fire, especially if they could absorb the fire itself into their cells, to allow of continued movement, or the part of fire that does not burn. We know so little about fire, and even less about plasma, because as I said before we haven’t got cameras that are fast enough to pick up what is actually happening. But we do know that in a candle flame the most active part of the chemical reaction, at the interface with the burning material, is not hot. If an animal has the ability to swim in the cool zones of a fire it is perfectly possible that even a DNA based life form could survive and live on the changing chemistry that the fire provides. Perhaps its skin would have to be a little more fire proofed than that of a modern salamander.
In the sun of course life would not have DNA as we know it, but the sun was around long before the Earth even began to form, plus anything living in the sun would be a “fast lane” creature anyway. There could be dragons in the sun and they might even have evolved as creatures on Earth have evolved, to live under a wide range of conditions of temperature and pressure, enough perhaps to occasionally visit the Earth as creatures with solid exteriors, but fire within which is exhaled in their breath. Because they are largely composed of helium they would naturally appear in the sky and they were in the past, rightly, seldom represented with wings.
In my ebook, SUN DRAGONS, by Gill Ian Point, in a hopefully realistic modern setting, I try to persuade people that such creatures are in fact possible and have even the astrophysicist father believing in them at the end. I always think it is sad when in most children’s books they grow up and reject the fantasy. They might not decide to consider it all as an illusion or dream, but they go on to lead normal banal lives as if the fantastic things never happened to them. I have always hated coming to the end of any fantasy book because it always ends with normal family life being the greatest thing that mankind could ever aspire to. I never want to write a book like that. It is such a betrayal of everything that happened in the book. After all if you read a detective book the murder victim is still dead at the end, and romances tend to end before the divorce, thus reinforcing the ‘true love’ myth they contain.
I just wish that people would be excited, stimulated, and accepting of the possibility that things are not always what they seem.
In SUN DRAGONS Corrie (age 9) sees dragons on the sun’s surface when she’s taken by her father to a huge telescope. The story takes her and the reader to the Large Hadron Collider at Cern and mayhem ensues!
Additional sun dragon inspirational art by Gillian Rooke
£1.99 for the ebook or free on Kindle Unlimited.