This is something I pondered a lot while I wrote Cessation. Not just the look, but how would it function?
I was completely fascinated by the Arks that the movie 2012 came up with. But see, that was their idea. I couldn’t use their idea. So I needed to think up a ship that people would board when the time came. Their arks gave me a great starting point, but my mind went bigger and more powerful. More homier too.
Say, actual apartments made to resemble home? Digital windows that could show the exterior, but also a picture you wanted? Even going so far as to make it the digital view of what you always saw outside your own home, or a landscape that you enjoyed. Plants, home comforts, electronic doors, fingerprint scanners, and more.
What sort of Ark would be in our future that could be built, that wasn’t basically just metal walls like that of the movie? I’ve seen that movie a few times and the ships aren’t even a big deal. Unless we’re talking about the location being secret and people striving to get there.
In Cessation, I wanted the ships to BE something. In truth, I didn’t give it too much thought when I was writing. It was in the editing phase that I wanted to ensure a point to them outside of the end of a story where there isn’t much about them. I wanted them to be beyond an Ark. Or in my description, “a basic ship that you get on to ride out a storm.” I wanted them to be virtual home away from home.
So started my attempt to figure out what would make up an Ark in this story.
In this tale, the government is much like our own, protecting us from chaos and the panic that comes when we know the end of it all is coming. A super storm to end all storms. But in this story, it goes further. The government (much as I sometimes wonder if our own would do, yes it’s a terrible thought, but I still ponder it) isn’t such a good bunch of folks. They set a ticket system up. If you can afford the ticket, you can get on a specific boat. You’re vetted. Not everyone is allowed. But being a good body of government that they are, they decided to offer seats toward the end, if you’re down at the docks, and you get through should the person who had that ticket, not arrive.
Not spoiling it too much more than that. I decided that my ships needed good names too. The one to protect the President and his cabinet is Zeus. After all, who better? The other names you’ll have to read to find out, but one in particular has a special meaning once you reach the end of the book. That name is Poseidon. Now that I realize what I did there, I see why it has that name. Again, you’ll have to read the book to learn that. You’re welcome to guess in the comments after you’ve read the book.
My ships being homes and the future of the world, I wanted to play with the idea that the ships could actually become a new world in and of themselves after the storms have passed. I mean how do we make a new world if the world no longer had any land? Well, what if the ships themselves could connect and terraform to make a new “earth”? Exactly. The possibilities are endless.
So began my playing with ideas. I don’t have a final sketch of the arks, but I found some images that I am going to include below to show what went into my idea a bit. I thought of the front end of an airplane like the one you see for the front end. For the sides, I sort of had the idea of the Ark replica you see below, but then was also using the idea of submarines and missiles as you see below too.
Hopefully I’m not confusing you too much. Writing it in a blog and trying to explain things is different than editing a novel a few hundred times (exaggeration). Easier to clarify things then. 🙂
I thought it would be neat to give you some sort of idea of where my head was at. You’ll notice that the Arks in 2012 played a role, but because of the storms and whatnot that the characters would encounter in the story, I realized that one really did need to think about what already exists first, to traverse the water (ships and subs, which I love to look at) then go from there. And I have also found that a lot of my “futuristic” ideas that I consider? Play on the old.
For example. I had a dream hit me the other day that I started to play with for a story idea. The planes were a lot like one would find in the olden days. Like the below. But then the futuristic idea was having three fuselages to one plane.
Sort of like this post talks about, but in my idea, the plane resembled the stratolaunch systems carrier aircraft (searched it out, I’m not a plane genius – click link for image of the plane). The only difference was that the body of the plane wasn’t three separate fuselages. They were all connected. Sort of like the Hercules body? http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/aircraft-current/cc-130j.page There were three large bodies connected side by side, connected by a flatter center within, not wings, but the height of the connections could have people walking back and forth because the plane was also to be used in space. It could be used in space. Going from the ground, all the way to space to hover there as a living place if needed.
Does this sound totally unrealistic or no? I have no idea. I’m not into planes that much. But whether it may sound weird or not, I loved the idea. I played with the story idea. The planes aren’t a big deal in the story, but if/when I write the story, I definitely will try to sketch out my brain’s thoughts into physical form. Maybe by then, I’ll find someone to make a digital picture of it. I think it’s an incredible and interesting idea. The plane not just being a spacecraft, but station too? We certainly see similar takes in SciFi movies and such. But there was something fascinating about using an old idea and making it futuristic. Sort of like taking the body and functioning (simplicity) of the old 50’s cars, and making them run in our world, or a future world (solar powered perhaps?) All while keeping that beauty of the past in the future.
So I think as much as the “Ark” in my story is a new futuristic ship, it’s maybe attempting to play with the old too. Combining the best of both worlds. Or times as the case may be.