Stardust and Moonglow

Inspiring Objects

Perhaps the stars and moon can’t rightly be called objects, at least not in the sense that they’re something you collect or use in your home. Yet they’re entities that we perceive and provide definition and boundary to our world. The lights of the sky didn’t need to be beautiful, but the God of beauty created them that way. This stunning tapestry provides enough inspiration in its own right, but speculative fiction takes it a step further, often changing the nature of stars as we know them.

Narnia presented living stars, with the most detailed explanation in the chapter of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader on The Beginning of the End of the World. Prince Caspian and his companions disembark on a mysterious island, and there make the thrilling discovery of a star at rest. Ramandu (the star) says, “When I set for the last time, decrepit and old beyond all that you can reckon, I was carried to this island. I am not so old now as I was then. Every morning a bird brings me a fire-berry from the valleys of the sun, and each fire-berry takes away a little of my age. And when I have become as young as the child that was born yesterday, then I shall take my rising again (for we are at earth’s eastern rim) and once more tread the great dance.”

In a different way, the fantasy novel Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl uses the unique nature of moon and stars to great effect (as suggested by the title). I won’t detail the creativity of her stars for fear of spoiling the tale, but they become a significant part of the storyworld.

And perhaps stars in our world are also more than we imagined. Scripture says they’re named by God (Psalm 147:4) and also speaks of the song of the heavens (Psalm 19). Now that we have means of capturing the sounds of planets and stars, we hear eerie melodies that blended together form a unique symphony.

In fantasy and reality, stars provide echoes of a greater glory. Without further ado, I give you these creative masterpieces (all images credited to NASA):

Stars

Stars

Stars

Stars

Stars

 

Any favorites among the pictures?  And are there creative ways of using stars in stories you’ve read or written?

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16 Responses to Stardust and Moonglow

  1. Kessie says:

    Aside from Narnia, the only other book I’ve read with celestial bodies personified is Dogsbody, by Diana Wynne Jones. The star Sirius is on trial for murder, and his penalty is to live life on Earth as a dog until he can prove his innocence. The interaction with the “luminaries” is wonderful. Our sun, Sol, helps out Sirius, and so does the Moon and the Earth. The Earth is very fond of her Moon, and the Sun keeps the Earth secret so no other luminaries steal her. And that doesn’t even have anything to do with the plot, which when it’s not dealing with stars, is a story of a lonely girl and her dog. It’s wonderful, if you can track it down.

    • Sarah Sawyer says:

      Wow, that sounds like a creative way to enliven a story and make it stand out from the crowd. Your description alone is intriguing. 🙂

  2. Kessie says:

    Also, I’m sitting here listening to Neptune, which I found as a related video on your singing planets post. This is amazing. Neptune sounds sort of like Saturn, but less piercing. I wonder what makes Jupiter twitter like that?

    • Sarah Sawyer says:

      I know. I couldn’t believe the range of sounds when I first heard them. It’s fascinating to think they’ve been emitting these sounds since they were created, and yet it’s only recently that we’ve been able to capture and hear them.

      I don’t know enough about the scientific angle to venture a guess on why Jupiter twitters, but it’s strange to hear a sound slightly resembling a bird or insect in space.

  3. I’ve only seen the film version of ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ (not too impressive), but there are beings there who were once stars. I’ve never thought too much about stars when I write, but something may be burbling about the Big Bang Theory, developed by a devout Christian and today, after other theories have been seriously looked at, still considered the most solid theory on how our Creator physically developed the stars, and everything else.

    • Sarah Sawyer says:

      Oh yes, you’re right. I haven’t read A Wrinkle in Time in so many years that I’d forgotten about the former stars.

      I haven’t had cause to develop star systems or beings in my books either. I think it’s the kind of thing worth doing only if it enhances the actual story (as in the examples everyone is sharing), not just for the sake of doing it.

  4. Very inspiring! And helpful, because I’m teaching a kids summer class on world-building, and we start first with the cosmos! The pictures were very helpful!

    • Sarah Sawyer says:

      I’m glad it was helpful! Your world-building class sounds fascinating. Is this specifically for young fantasy writers?

  5. The last photo is definitely my favorite! It looks so deep and scintillating. 🙂 I have never read any fiction besides Narnia which deals with stars, but your description of Moonblood makes me curious to read those books! 🙂

    • Sarah Sawyer says:

      Bethany, that one is my favorite too! If you like fairy tale style fiction, I think you’d probably enjoy Moonblood. It’s the third book in a series, and I didn’t like the first book, but I decided to try the second one anyway (The Veiled Rose). I’m so glad I did, because I’ve really enjoyed the rest of the series (the fourth book is coming out in a few months).

  6. Love the pictures and sounds. Have you seen the Louie Giglio video on the cosmos? He gets a little cheesy sometimes, but the presentation is still mind-blowing.

    • Sarah Sawyer says:

      I haven’t seen the video, but I’m going to take a look. I enjoy all sorts of nature documentaries, because I end up amazed at the wonders of our world and all that God created. Plus I get food for thought on building fantasy worlds. 🙂

  7. Emily Sawyer says:

    Absolutely breathtaking! My favorite pictures were definitely the first and the last, but the others were enthralling as well. 🙂

    I love the stars…there’s such a sense of wonder and peace you get when you lay staring at the stars and considering how our Maker created them all and knows the name of every last one. It’s amazing!

    • Sarah Sawyer says:

      They are breathtaking pictures! Each time I see them, I’m still amazed. 🙂

      …there’s such a sense of wonder and peace you get when you lay staring at the stars and considering how our Maker created them all and knows the name of every last one.

      Yes, exactly!

  8. I really like the first pic…

    • Sarah Sawyer says:

      That’s probably my second favorite, a closer runner-up to the final picture…but it’s hard to choose. 🙂

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