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Real World Inspiration Behind Azura Ghost

Real World Inspiration Behind Azura Ghost

Azura Ghost by Essa Hansen

Let Essa Hansen give you a whistle-stop tour of the real world inspirations behind Azura Ghost.

Rare blue rock salt, Sicily

Crystals and Minerals

Minerals are fascinating structures at all scales; how they grow, break, and interact with electricity and light, with a great diversity of shapes and colours. I’ve drawn on crystalline properties for much of the technology in The Graven, including the Azura’s spine, the liquid-crystalline “Glasliq” starship, and the other-dimensional “lightseep obsidian” matter used in alien architecture.

Cymatics and Vibrational Physics

Cymatics and Vibrational Physics

I am fascinated by the fluidity and musicality of form, the relationship between energy and matter, between vibration and elements—liquid, flame, particles, and so forth. These phenomena inspired my scalar gravity technology, the look of universe border “rinds,” and the nature of the Azura’s sentience.

Weird Creatures

The Earth is teeming with bizarre animals and adaptations that often seem alien, especially in the deep sea where we find ethereal-looking forms: bioluminescence, changing chromatophore skin, thread-thin filaments, and diaphanous webs. Animal designs have inspired the starships and weapons in my series as much as the alien species themselves.

Bubbles, Oil, and Foam Structure

Bubbles, Oil, and Foam Structure

My bubble multiverse is structured as conjoined and nested universes of various size, separated by energy membranes, all directly inspired by macro photography of bubbles. This also informed the Azura’s own bubble universe and how it interacts with the surrounding physics, especially as the series progresses and her powers of space expand.

Iceberg floating in greenland fjord at night with green northern lights stock photo

Natural Scenery and Phenomena

From the auroral nature of the Azura’s universe, the vast landscapes in the multiverse and the weird life that inhabits it, to the interplay of stability in change and change in stability…I am endlessly inspired by the features of Earth’s natural world at every scale: the Northern Lights, lightning storms, nacreous clouds, bioluminescence at the beach, eclipses, glaciers, magma, blue sulphur fire, plankton swirls, and sunsets illustrating time.

Basswood Stem c.s. under microscope

Macro Photography

Transposing the tiny form ideas in macro photography into a large scale can create a wonderful sense of a thing that is believable yet otherworldly, which is a great feeling to try to evoke in science fiction. The insides of crystals often look like entire worlds, miniscule creatures appear alien, and the microscopic surface of a leaf may resemble an exotic landscape.


Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen

Nophek Gloss and Azura Ghost are available now!