I asked Jen about her ideas and how Glin was created. And here are her answers:
My idea for the planet Glin came from a combination of things. I wanted a very rainy place similar to Ireland, because I love rain, and I wanted something unusual. I was fascinated with the concept of there being one continent and the rest of the world is the “Great Ocean,” as Duin calls it in the book. This is a little bit like Pangaea, when all of the continents on Earth were connected into one super-continent, about 300 million years ago.
The aliens who live on Glin — who refer to themselves as “the” Glin — are based on dolphins. Sort of a “What if humans evolved from dolphins and not primates?” Dolphins have counter-shading (dark on one side, light on the other), which is for camouflage in the water. That’s where I got the idea for the Glin coloring, and also their lack of hair, lack of ears, and big, gray eyes. The Glin are also based a little bit on hunter-gatherer neolithic humans of about 40,000 years ago.
Water is not only a part of their world and their religion, it is the basis of their language. In inventing the names and words, I went with onomatopoeic sounds — things that sound like what they are. Or, in the case of Glinnish, what things sound like when water hits them. Glinnish is a language of drips, drops, splashes, rain falling, water rushing. Like the “pitat” plant, which is a plant with big waxy leaves that go “pitat” when rain hits them. Or Duin’s name — pronounced a bit like “doo-IN” — is based on the sound of a water drip hitting a pool.
Most of the story takes place in a human colony on Asteria, which is a made-up world I put in the real location of Alpha Centauri. Alpha Centauri is called a binary star system because it has two suns, but there’s also a third star, a red dwarf, nearby. That third star is what gave me the idea for Tikat, the dying planet populated by insect-like creatures. I’ve always heard that cockroaches can live anywhere and will populate the Earth after a nuclear holocaust.
Thanks for the opportunity to share a little bit about the universe of Stellarnet Rebel. For more info about the book, you can check out these websites.