ABOVE: Early 3D digital concept art for the general look of the P'öhaz'ös continent.
At an early age, I resigned myself to accepting the simple fact that I'll never become an astronaut. As disappointing as that was, it's even more a letdown to realize that I may never see proof of intelligent extraterrestrial life in my lifetime. These reasons--especially the latter, are clearly why I am passionately driven to use my imagination to create and explore the worlds and life forms that I do.
One of the nice things about relying on existing science; celestial mechanics, biology, psychology or what have you, to create a believable sci-fi/fantasy world like Rädën is that I'm forced to accept what the known facts and theories of the day dictate. For example, say I wanted to establish evolving LAWKI (Life As We Know It; carbon-based life forms like all the animals and plants of the earth) on an arid desert-like planet. I couldn't do it realistically if the planet orbited a sun like our own is today, at a distance beyond that of the Mars orbit. This nearly unwavering adherence to likely facts, figures and even conjecture makes the development and exploration of Rädën a most enjoyable escapade. Many times, I don't even know what to expect until I've done research and worked out some of the details, and then when I have, I usually end up saying to myself, "Isn't that interesting?"
In the past, when inventing alien worlds, I had carefully selected known stars in our charted constellations. Most sci-fi writers and artists do. It's been standard practice for decades. Rigil Kentaurus (Alpha Centauri) used to be a favourite star system of mine but it has been used up by so many. Also, as time marched on, and astronomy and its associated sciences whittled away at the potential for LAWKI, especially intelligent life, being supported on a world of good ol' A Cen--never mind evolving there, it became quite clear to me that I had to abandon that relatively nearby stellar neighbour and transplant my adventures to a place where life may have a better chance of surviving. Can you imagine my excitement in 1999 upon hearing about the discovery of a solar system of three extrasolar "super-gas giants" around the star Upsilon Andromedae?
Rädën is a moon. I can remember, as far back as the 1970's, hearing fragments of arguments between scientists as to why it is or isn't possible for life to evolve on a moon. The scientific theories and laboratories that showed lunar LAWKI as unlikely overwhelmed the models that suggested possibilities. In the new millennium, we now know that new laboratories performed in the still infantile field of exobiology (aka: astrobiology and xenobiology) have somewhat increased the potential for lunar life existing in the universe. Working theories about the Jovian moon Europa, the finding of extrasolar giants orbiting terrestrial-like stars in habitable zones, and the mere fact that we are still discovering new natural phenomena have even forced people to re-evaluate Frank Drake's famous equation, which is the fundamental premise of the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) program, as likely to be highly limited, and, therefore, so likely is the current search (that has changed now as SETI continues to develop new systems that will enable them to target stars that are nearer and more like our own sun in better ways). All things being possible, Rädën is a moon teaming with organic life in extreme environments.
Orbiting the now well known exoplanet U And c (Upsilon Andromedae c), Rädën is a humid world that would take humans considerable effort to adapt to if we were to truly go there. My model shows that its poles are the coolest regions at all times, able to dip well below the -40°C (-40°F) level at the highest alpine elevations, and when U And c is at the aphelion to its host star. From latitudes of approximately 70° north and -70° south the heat and humidity increase dramatically. The atmosphere endures a tremendous greenhouse effect that although is mild in comparison to that of Venus, is absolutely exceeding of anything so far ever recorded on the earth. The Rädën sky is almost completely covered in a thick veil of storm clouds. Clear daytime and nighttime skies are usually seen only at the polar regions. Clear skies are sporadic at the equator, and only when U And c is at its perihelion. This is to say nothing of the almost perpetual warm global monsoons that, if it weren't for interesting natural feedback mechanisms, would have washed this world's arable topsoils away long ago, and starved and suffocated all land-based life into extinction.
Being the satellite of a gas giant that orbits so close to its host star means that Rädën is inevitably exposed to certainly lethal solar and cosmic radiation. Fortunately, Rädën is an unusually large moon; bigger than the earth in fact, so it is quite able to generate its own magnetic field, with extra protection from that of its host planet, that is strong enough to shield sufficient quantities of harmful radiation from its nearby sun and permit the development of life. Still, as radiation is the ruling catalyst in mutation, the evolving lunar flora and fauna inevitably take on fascinating forms. From the wild to the sentient, not much on this extrasolar moon looks, moves or even behaves like anything on Earth. Rädën, as if it were a real place, is a world that is as unique as ours, and best suited for its inhabitants.
It is not a utopia. Like us, the indigenous have many conflicts which inspire the occasional rise of righteous individuals who lay much on the line in order to restore decency to strained societies.
The sentient natives generally refer to themselves as Gïpans, a word from Kwïlin, the most dominant language spoken on their world. They exist in many races and ethnicities but they are all hermaphrodites. Most are also highly empathic.
Gïpans are always approximately 3, 000 terrestrial years behind us technologically, no matter if we are in our 1st century BC, the 21st century AD or the 61st century AD. Their age in the universe suggests that they should be more advanced than they are but their development has been slowed, possibly due to the extremities of Rädën's global environment, the limitations in accessing natural resources, and even their inherent difficulties to successfully reproduce.
In the past, I made great effort to ensure that the intelligent aliens that I invented were not the bipedal locomotive beings that we've become so used to seeing in sci-fi films and UFO reports. This time, I have taken that usual artistic liberty of ensuring that the Gïpan species is humanoid. There really isn't much to their outward appearance that distinguishes them from us but there are still a number of internal biological differences. In reality, the chances of us actually meeting a species that is physiologically so much like ourselves are slim to none. Scientists understandably scoff at the old science fiction concept of the “little green men” and consider it not odd that members of an extraterrestrial species could be discovered as green-skinned, but odd that they would be men. I've made certain that the Gïpans are humanoid because it's easier to convey their emotions and behaviours, and make them a more sympathetic species.
A sort of science journal, Rädën Illustrated is a detailed treatise on the moon's celestial and geologic history, the evolution of its lunar life forms, the current state of its bioshophere, nations, governments, politics, religions, languages, cultures and wildlife. It is the umbrella name of the various series of science fiction art that are based on that treatise. Other sci-fi series are concerned with Gïpans moving into their future, and our interaction with them after first contact in the terrestrial year 6515AD (the Rädën year 2788AD).
T'Kökwïkövalë (The Sacred History) is the canon of the most dominant religion practised on Rädën. Like the Bible and the Koran, it is used by human and Gïpan archaeologists, historians and theologians to help piece together the ancient pasts of Rädën's early civilizations. The written text is accompanied with a sci-fi anthropological analysis, from a human perspective, but the related art series falls into the fantasy category. Other Rädën-based fantasy art stem from epic tales told by Gïpan folklorists, mythologists and writers about Rädën's medieval and ancient pasts.
Not all of my sci-fi and fantasy art is Rädën-based but those that are will show you the detailed history of a fictional world that could mirror something in reality that our species has yet to discover.
To Rädën Science Fiction Art Gallery
To Rädën Fantasy Art Gallery