Friday, July 12, 2013

Möbius Ship

Gajananvihari Pilot, the hero of Evening's Empires was born on a spaceship and spends most of his life aboard it; he escapes when it is hijacked, and his efforts to get it back form the spine of the novel's narrative. Because it's at the centre of the story, I wanted to make his ship distinctive, so gave it a (literal) twist.
It was a ring ship, Pabuji’s Gift, a broad ribbon caught in a circle five hundred metres across, with a twist that turned it into the single continuous surface of a Möbius strip. The ship’s motor hung from a web of tethers and spars at the centre of the ring; its hull was studded with the cubes and domes that contained workshops, utility bays, power units...
I drew inspiration (novelist's jargon for 'pretty much lifted the idea') from Californian artist Tim Hawkinson's extraordinary Möbius Ship, which I stumbled across in the wilds of the internet while I was planning the novel:
'...a painstakingly detailed model ship that twists in upon itself, presenting the viewer with a thought-provoking visual conundrum. The title is a witty play on Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick, which famously relates the tale of a ship captain’s all-consuming obsession with an elusive white whale.'

At least, I though that was the entirety of my inspiration. But a couple of weeks ago, while I was looking for spaceship art on the covers of paperbacks on my double-stacked bookshelves, I found an image of a twisted town by artist John Berkey which may very well be an ancestor of Gajananvihari Pilot's ring ship:


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