SKYLIGHTS: the inspiration

marte40_03Take a look at these two pictures.  Those are actual photographs from the surface of Mars of some curious features, dubbed the “seven sisters” or the “skylights.”

They are real.  They were discovered in 2007.  Six of the seven are so deep that we cannot see what is inside them at all.  The top picture was taken by a much higher-resolution camera, and ought to be clickable, and you will note that the inside of the skylight is black as hell.  There’s no light coming out of it at all, meaning two things: one, the inside is wider than the pit itself, and two, it’s so deep that no meaningful amount of light is bouncing in and then bouncing back out again so that we can see it.

sevensisters_stripThese features were discovered in 2007.  I found out about them through Warren Ellis, who posted them to his website, or maybe to his mailing list, and spent a moment musing that it would be a really cool story if someone wrote about what was inside of them.

Yeah, that’s a great idea, I thought, and waited for Warren to write it.  After all, science fiction is his thing, or one of them at least, and he’s one of my favorite writers.  Surely he’d come up with something really cool.

And I kept waiting.

And I kept waiting.

And he didn’t write the story.  And then my story for NaNoWriMo in 2008 fell apart at the last minute and the first chapter of Skylights just kind of wrote itself.

The skylights are real, guys.  The thing that I hide in them in Skylights is probably not real, but the inspiration for the story itself?  They’re still sitting there, out on Mars, so deep and so dark that no instrument we have– including the cameras we have orbiting the planet— can see inside them.

And I think that’s amazing.

And I hope you’ll like the book I wrote about what’s hiding in there.

SKYLIGHTS is available at Amazon here for $4.99.  Read the prologue in its entirety here.

Published by

Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

4 thoughts on “SKYLIGHTS: the inspiration

  1. Thanks for the like on Red Strings. I am now intrigued by your writing. Skylights is now on my Amazon Wish List, which means I will most definitely think about buying at some point in the future. Mind if I write a review on it for Red Strings once I actually read it?


    1. You can absolutely write a review of it! I mean, I’d prefer that you LIKE it if you’re going to review it, but so long as you’re honest we’re all good. (If you want to dip your toes in before you spend money, my novella THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES is free on Smashwords and the iBookstore right now. $2.99 at Amazon because they don’t like free if you’re not in Kindle Select.)


  2. I clicked on the random button in your ‘hello this is me’ post and ended up on this one.
    I am intrigued… Will read the prologue later today, as it’s time to pick up kids from school now. And then they expect us to take them places to do things…


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