Now that I’ve burned through most of my abandoned childhood projects, I can talk about some that still lurk in my idea box. Beyond Boundaries – which is a title that’s ultimately meaningless, but hey, I was 11 – was my first hard science fiction idea. I’m not sure what spawned it, but it was written in a similar tradition to Edgar Rice Burroughs or Robert Heinlein. As far as “humans leave Earth and populate Titan or Mars with unrealistic comfort” stories go. Also, I really loved Deep Impact and Independence Day. Oh, and the television series Earth 2.
In Beyond Boundaries, the world literally slows to a stop. An asteroid hits our moon, breaking it into three large pieces that mess up Earth’s rotation on its axis (again. I WAS 11. The science wasn’t exactly sound!) After the asteroid catastrophe, NASA realizes it has about 4 years to build arks for humanity, and to find us a new home, before the Earth stops turning. There’s a fair amount of literature about why this would be a very bad thing, although impossible.
Luckily, my tween protagonist Andromeda had a NASA scientist for a dad. And Andromeda’s dad would do anything to get her safely off the planet. The story opens with a tsunami during Andromeda’s trip to the beach, which she and her friends barely manage to escape. The tsunami is one of the first signs that Earth’s time as a habitable planet is waning. Elsewhere in the world, earthquakes and radio communication suffer. I only wrote the first three chapters before abandoning it (as I usually did back then), but I intended for the first book to be a natural disaster/coming of age YA tale. Then, the second book would explain how Andromeda gets settled into her intrasteller home, including an encounter with an alien race, etc.
This is all stuff you’ve probably seen before. But despite the clichés, this story was unusually well-written for my young age. Perhaps overwritten, but the opening lines still impress me to this day. It doesn’t hold a candle to what I can do now, but I appreciate the “level up” this story symbolizes in my writing career. It was one of my first stories that 1) wasn’t a self-insert like The Flying Chameleon Clan or The Shanin Adventures, and 2) wasn’t completely derivative like The Chronicler or Agent Adrenaline. It was cliché when you look at the broader world of science fiction, but I can’t say “this is basically just X-Men or Star Wars with me in it.”
And I still keep the idea in my back pocket. It will be a very long time before I take it into serious consideration, but who knows? Maybe the idea isn’t so preposterous. There have certainly been more preposterous dystopias, utopias, and apocalyptic scenarios presented in YA.