CHAPTERS 4-6: My Answers
1) The survivors recover from their crash to find themselves on a desert world. Why do you think their destiny led them to a wasteland? What is the Biblical significance of wilderness/deserts?
I chose a desert planet for several reasons. It’s remote, barren, and forces them to depend on God. A big part of Starganauts is their struggle just to survive, mainly by finding water. However, the greatest reason I chose a desert answers the second question: it’s Biblically significant.
In Scripture, deserts are places of trials, testing, or training. The children of Israel faced many obstacles in the desert as they journeyed to the Promised Land. The prophet Elijah spent a time of waiting and depending on God in a desert. Jesus was tempted in one, and the apostle Paul spent 3 years in the desert preparing for ministry. All of these themes are relevant to the Starganauts. Sahara is, in a sense, the crucible where God tests, trains, and equips them. This desert planet prepares them for the struggles yet to come. 💪
2) What surprising connection does Samantha have with Vogul? What are other similarities they share, despite clear differences?
As a girl, she saw him lift off from Earth after his public humiliation. She heard Vogul’s threat to return and “make Earth pay.” This is one of many curious ways by which Vogul and Samantha are connected. Indeed, in crafting Willum, I endeavored to make him Samantha’s foil and mirror. Both are brilliant geniuses who feel lonely but are very driven. Both deliver a message to Earth that is largely ignored…with dire consequences. Yet Vogul is clearly obsessed and evil, while Samantha does her best to follow God and is obviously a believer.
3) In the sandstorm scene, how does James getting lost and being unable to see mirror his spiritual state? What discovery does he make? (see end of section for special trivia on this scene!)
Dudeman is spiritually blind. He thinks he can see, but he has no idea how lost he is without Christ. And just as he needs to rely on the compass to find his way, so he needs to give his heart to Jesus to find The Way.
This is my FAVORITE part! I had way too much fun writing this: when he and Matt literally stumble on the orb cave! They discover the cave, the crystals, and a pool of water. All of these things prove highly significant, now and later on.
4) What does Vogul use to “motivate” his men? Why do you think he’s obsessed with the Earthlings?
Fear and violence. Vogul was physically abused as a child and he carries that history out tenfold on his men. As for his obsession with the Earthlings, I can’t fully reveal the reason to you. Thus, I’ll be interested to see your answers.
5) The Starganauts visit a mysterious cave with orbs. What struck you the most about it? What strange thing happens when James lifts up an orb?
Eeeek! Another fun scene! What stands out, to me, is the writing on the wall. Even though I’m the author and I know the significance, I still think it’s cool how different people visited the cave and left their mark. Kertcha and Crosshair’s writings are from characters in actual standalone stories I wrote, by the way. Kertcha is a fully finished novel I hope someday to publish. Crosshair is a 90% completed manuscript exploring my grittier side and a period of Gorvan history I’d never before written about.
Dudeman transforms (hee hee). He doesn’t understand into what, but it totally freaks him out. As Sharko doesn’t recognize him at first, the trucker shoots him point-blank. Poor James. Good thing he’s wearing alien armor! 😉
As stated, the sandstorm scene was one of my favorites to write. It was also one of my most challenging. I have aphantasia: the inability to visualize in my mind. This also includes an inability to hear sound or recall tastes, textures, etc. if I read about them. Well, when I re-did this scene, I wanted to make it as palpable as possible. I desired to “show” rather than tell, so I pushed myself to my limits.
I painstakingly looked up images of sandstorms, watched videos, and then sat at the keyboard forcing myself to imagine what it would look and feel like to be in one. I actually did TOO good of a job. I had to chop the scene down because I had too many nitty-gritty (pun intended) details! The end result is what you get. I hope it’s far more vivid in your imagination than mine.