Kenneth G. Bennett’s Guest Post
HOW A NASA SCIENTIST’S THEORY INSPIRED A PARANORMAL THRILLER
THE GAIA WARS is fiction, but it was inspired—at least in part—by The Gaia Hypothesis. This hypothesis, proposed by NASA scientist James Lovelock, states that the Earth—the entire Earth—is a living thing. A vast, “super-organism.”
I read an article about Lovelock’s theory a few years back and thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever heard.
The Earth is alive. Think about it. If Lovelock’s correct, the Earth isn’t simply a chunk of interstellar rock hosting a collection of random ecosystems; it’s a cohesive entity. An organism. A being. I daydreamed about this idea, mulled it over; wondered how it might be incorporated into a novel. And in my imagination, I took the theory to the next level: What if the Earth is not simply alive, I asked, but also sentient?
I did some reading, and discovered that a lot of so-called primitive cultures believed this very thing. Understood it in their bones. Our ancestors were in tune with the planet in ways that we’ve forgotten. They could feel her heartbeat. Interpret her rhythms. They created Earth Goddesses to worship and celebrate.
Gaia (pron. guy-uh) is one of the principal deities of the Greek Pantheon. Other cultures used other names: the Tibetan people called the deity Chomolungma—Goddess Mother of the World. The Sumerians knew her as Ninhursaga. To Mesoamerican peoples she was Tlazolteotl.
A fictitious Pacific Northwest culture called the Denelai is at the center of THE GAIA WARS. As readers learn, the ancient Denelai people believed in the Earth goddess so profoundly that she would sometimes appear to them in human form.
At the start of the novel, troubled 13-year-old Warren Wilkes unearths a treasure deep in the Cascade Mountains while fleeing the law, learns about the Denelai and Gaia’s periodic visits, and finds that on one such occasion in 1550 AD, the tribe was attacked and the Earth Goddess wounded. The Indians were slaughtered and Gaia lost her memory and vanished into the wild.
As Warren soon discovers, Gaia is still alive and still trapped in human form. What’s more, the beast that attacked the Indian village 500 years earlier is on it’s way back with an army bred specifically to capture Gaia, unlock her secrets, and seize control of the planet. Warren must fight or see his whole world destroyed.
Readers seem to like the idea of a paranormal thriller with a thinking, feeling Earth at its heart. The feedback has been tremendous. Humbling. Yesterday (November 24, Thanksgiving Day) THE GAIA WARS rose to #17 on Amazon’s list of Top 100 Best Sellers in Children’s Action & Adventure. The Second Book of The Gaia Wars, BATTLE FOR CASCADIA, (just released) is also doing well. A huge thank you to all the wonderful readers giving these books a try!