For years I wanted to write a very realistic story of interstellar colonization, and now I’ve finally done it. At the time I started writing, it didn’t look like faster than light travel would ever be possible, but teleportation would be. Maybe. Eventually.
I also didn’t believe there would be a sufficient push to create interstellar colonization without the looming threat of global extinction. You know, something to pull humanity’s collective heads out of our own backsides.
One thing is definitely happening at some point, possibly at any time: a giant asteroid strike.
So here’s how I figured it would play out:
- A huge asteroid too big to divert is coming at Earth. And fortunately Earth has an early warning.
- Faster than light travel is still beyond Earth’s capabilities, but nanotechnology and cloning is in an advaced state, so that any plant or animal (or person) can be coded and resequenced, and recreated.
- AI has become fairly sentient and because of strict controls, absolutely trustworthy. No evil AI robots here.
- Earth constructs and begins sending out self-replicating unmaned space probes (Von Neumann probes) that can maintain themselves during the insanely long flights to distant star systems.
- When one successfully reaches a new star system, it seeks out resources to replicate itself and send out more copies of itself.
- When one successfully finds a planet that sustains, or could sustain, life as we know it — it lands and begins the process of building “life factories” that seed the planet with Earth life, and also humanity.
- Meanwhile poor old Earth lay in ruins, life having been wiped out tens- or (by then) hundreds-of-thousands of years ago.
- These probes would spread out across the entire galaxy, seeding life as we know it among the stars.
This is the basis of my newest novel, Seeds from Ancient Earth.
It follows Katherina, the first human created by the machines — she was the beta test human. We see her born, grow up, and eventually face the final cataclysm that ends Earth.
But then we also get to see copies of her on colony planets in numerous adventures, and how she discovers her own past and connects with all her various “sisters” across the galaxy.
From surviving alien elements, to future corporate intrigue, through love and loss and discovery, we see humanity evolve and adapt and survive through Katherina’s countless eyes.
We also get to see humanity reach the point where distance no longer matters, and the barriers between various realities begin to dissolve. And as humans become more machine than human, we see whether or not humanity itself remains.