Once every couple of years, I get the wild hair to reread C. S. Friedman’s Coldfire trilogy. I love this story, no lie. It’s one of the best I’ve ever read and has some of the most complex characters I’ve ever seen. And the premise is amazing.
In fact, it’s the premise that brings up this post. See, Coldfire trilogy is set on a planet called Erna close to the Galactic Core. Humans came and settled it a long time before the story starts (though you see pieces of what happened to the original settlers at the start of various sections), an alien world with something wonky going on because of the physics being tweaked from the Core’s proximity. Magic. Basically. This thing is both Sci-Fi and Fantasy in the best Grand Quest mash-up I’ve ever seen. Seriously, read it.
But while I was reading this wild ride, I got curious. Was a habitable planet even possible close to the Galactic center? Was the physics really that strange or do we not know? Serious, was this plausible at all?
As with all things having to do with space, the answer is maybe? There’s a huge argument going on in the SETI community about this exact thing. Some think it’s more likely we’ll find habitable worlds, and maybe intelligent life, because there are so many systems and worlds in that area of space. Others absolutely refuse to even hear of it, because supernovae and radiation would strip a world of everything in nothing flat.
Honestly, I’m on the side of can’t hurt to look. At worst, there’s no life or habitable worlds there. At best, we find something cool. The great thing about being an author though, is we can write about the possibility forever. I really love that. Hopefully this little post will inspire someone in the QSF community to write one of their own!
Science in the pursuit of fiction