Since the publication of Star Runners, I have received many questions about the universe. Austin Stone’s story begins on Earth with him having no idea of what is actually happening in the universe. The story is from his point of view, so this requires only so much of the galaxy being revealed. We can only know what he knows. Of course, this will change as time goes on – and I am a big believer in allowing the story to unfold for the readers (that’s the way I like it when I’m reading).
However, it isn’t always fun to be left completely in the dark (as more than a few emails have indicated). In fact, one of my earliest joys of discovering more of the story was when I first read Lord of the Rings in sixth grade. When the book was over, I wanted more. I found out soon after I finished the book that Professor Tolkien had passed away long before I finished his masterpiece.
Soon after this unfortunate discovery, I started diving into the appendices of the Lord of the Rings. I couldn’t believe how much of the story I discovered in this way. In fact, I think this was the beginning of my love for world building. I don’t think it was any coincidence a year later when I decided to create the first world of Star Runners with my best friend. Creating the worlds filled me with such energy and excitement—it has never left. I wrote the first stories in the Star Runners universe in the summer after seventh grade (I think). I was hooked.
In an effort to answer some of the more frequent questions I have received, I thought I would start a question and answer blog today. One reader (thank you, Connor) brilliantly suggested a forum on StarRunners.net. I am currently looking into this idea and hope to have a forum of some kind in place in the near future.
Below you will find some of the questions I have received since Star Runners published on Christmas Day in 2014.
Where are all the aliens?
I have been surprised how often I have received this question. I think it’s probably a cop out to simply respond, “keep reading and find out.”
So, are there aliens in Star Runners? As for what Austin knows, no. However, I believe Jodie Foster said it best in the 1997 movie, Contact, when her character said, “If it is just us, it’d be an awful waste of space.”
This also brings up the counter-question: What do you mean aliens? Are you talking about civilizations like Klingons or are you talking about alien life like the wampas on Hoth (to be fair, we don’t really know much about the wampas—they could have an entire city somewhere in the frozen tundra of Hoth … just saying)?
Some of the ideas of alien life will be touched on in Star Runners: Revelation Protocol. But for the ideas of alien civilizations, I will simply answer by saying Austin knows the equivalent of a grain of sand in terms of his knowledge of the universe. I can tell you more than Austin knows, however. The dominant species in Zahl-Legion-Triaxian (oops, jumped the gun there) space is certainly human. Do the governments know something more is lurking on the Fringe? We’ve heard about Dark Worlds (like Earth), but what about Dark Space or Primal Space? I’ll save that for another time.
What’s the deal with the Legion? Why do they leave dark worlds alone?
This question surprised me a little. I am going to answer this the way I answered the emails and try not to sound like a history lesson.
The Zahl Empire has been around for thousands of years. The Empire first started when seven worlds consolidated under one ruler. I would love to explore this in a future book or series. This Empire expanded, taking in territories and star systems. Like Earth is today, these planets had no idea they were not alone in the universe when the Zahl Empire first slipped into their orbit. Over the centuries, the Zahl Empire tried to expand peacefully, but manufactured reasons for war when a peaceful alternative was not possible.
After centuries of the Zahl Empire conquering and annexing territory, a group of three star systems resisted. For the first time in the history of the Zahl Empire, three systems launched a coordinated resistance. These first three planets would become the heart of the Legion. How did they manage to resist such an overwhelming force? The invention of the curvature drive.
As Austin Stone discovered in Star Runners, the curvature drive allows a ship to pass through an artificial wormhole to appear at another location in space. This nearly instantaneous travel allowed the three Legion systems to rally their forces to wherever the Zahl Task Force threatened to attack. The newly formed Legion fought back the Zahl forces in what is known as the Galactic War.
A fragile peace ensued and the Zahl Empire expanded in other directions (while maintaining a healthy watch at the Zahl-Legion border). They look back on the war now as something they figured wasn’t worth the cost. The Legion realized their temporary agreement to join together should remain in place, and the Legion government was formed. Using the curvature drives and light carrier task forces, the Legion expanded as well (albeit slower than the Zahl Empire). The Legion never lost its core principal of the importance of a world advancing on its own rather than being conquered. However, this policy has been questioned as the tensions between the Zahl Empire and Galactic Legion have been rising.
This was a very basic answer to the Legion questions I have received. I hope this helped.
Will Austin end up with Ryker or Skylar? Will Austin’s Mom end up with Nubern?
I cannot answer these questions (even though I have received these more than you would believe). Regarding Austin, I will tell you he is truly infatuated with one of those young women. Regarding Austin’s Mom, well, that’s between her and Nubern.