Top 5 Things that Inspired Redsight - SciFiNow

Top 5 Things that Inspired Redsight

From Dune to Killing Eve, author Meredith Mooring counts down her top 5 inspirations behind the creation of Redsight, an all new fantasy space novel.

Redsight by Meredith Mooring

My space fantasy novel Redsight follows a blind priestess in a religious order as she falls in love with her galactic enemy. Redsight features tactile magic, star eating, entombed goddesses, and black holes that consume worlds. I drew from many influences to create the story.


  1. Re-examining Dune’s Bene Gesserit


Like many science fiction readers, I first encountered the genre through Dune and became fascinated with Lady Jessica and the Bene Gesserit. I’ve re-read the novel since childhood, and as an adult I questioned why eugenics was tied to the worldbuilding. When I wrote Redsight, I chose to re-examine this concept when I created the Order of Vermicula, a group of blind witches who navigate space ships with tactile magic.


The Order of Vermicula is matriarchal, controlling, and wielded for political ambition. But there are three different matriarchal groups in Redsight, and they all compete for power and influence on a galactic scale. I thought it would be more interesting to consider what the Bene Gesserit would look like after a millennium of infighting and divided motivations.


  1. Working with a Guide Dog


I’m a blind author and I wanted to incorporate how I interact with the world in Redsight. I’ve worked with a guide dog for over ten years, and when I walk with her, I get so much information through holding the leather harness handle that I would never be aware of. I can feel my guide dog pay more attention and stand up taller when she sees a bird or an animal in the street. Or when my dog sees someone we know, she’ll pull us towards them. I can feel a difference in the dog’s posture when we’re in a busy, distracting environment versus a calming one.


This means I’m getting most information about my surroundings by touch. I used this concept to come up with “tactus,” the tactile magic the blind witches use in Redsight. Characters can physically feel where energy is and manipulate it into different forms. I had to spend many hours of practice learning how to work with my dog, so I made the characters in Redsight spend years learning to work with tactus as a skill rather than a magic ability they’re born with.


  1. The Biblical Story of Eve


The witches in Redsight created time and space many, many years ago, meaning women are central to the creation myth at the heart of the novel. The story of Eve in the garden of Eden has always been interesting to me, because Eve is as responsible for shaping reality as God is. Instead of forming Eve as a unique creation, God made her from Adam’s rib. How did an afterthought to Adam’s existence change reality?


I grew up with the story of the Garden of Eden, and I wanted to know more from Eve’s perspective. How did she feel about her role in the universe God created? Why was she punished for showing agency over her own life? Like Eve, the three ancient goddesses in Redsight are the first women in the universe and the origin of humans. Despite the futuristic setting and planetary travel, Redsight is a creation myth. The Redseers in the novel have their own version of the serpent in Eve’s garden and their own version of the tree of knowledge.


  1. The Genre Mash-Up in Gideon the Ninth


I picked up Tamsyn Muir’s novel because I love unusual story structure, and I stayed for the unique combination of space, magic, religion, and locked room mystery. I can’t remember exactly when I read the Locked Tomb series, but the reading experience was such a breath of fresh air because it’s unafraid to experiment with genre and structure.


Redsight combines science fiction with fantasy, queer romance, body horror, and galactic mysteries. It made the novel hard to categorize. Is this a witch book, or a space opera, or a feminist horror? I think genre works best when it’s unafraid to cross boundaries and borrow elements from other types of stories.


As a reader, I loved how complex the necromancy was in Gideon the Ninth, and how it drew from fantasy origins while still having biological explanations. When I came up with the concept for Redsight, I wanted to pull from similar directions for the magic system. The Redseers use magic, but it’s explained by physics, biology, and astronomy.


  1. The Sapphic Romance in Killing Eve


When I first started drafting Redsight, I was very into the BBC show Killing Eve featuring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer. Their relationship was so different from any other sapphic couple I’d seen on television. For the initial seasons, there was debate about whether the characters were queer, was there a non-romantic explanation for government agent Eve’s obsession with Villanelle, the serial killer she’s meant to catch. I always saw their relationship as romantic, and it pushed me to write something with similar themes.


The romantic couple in Redsight includes Korinna, a blind priestess raised with one set of beliefs, and Aster, an amoral fugitive who encourages Korinna to reconsider the world she thinks she knows. Their opposing backgrounds force the characters to learn and grow from each other, and to discover aspects of themselves they didn’t know they possessed. When sapphic couples appear in media, so much time gets devoted to the legitimacy of the relationship in a heteronormative world, and I wanted to completely bypass that with a queernorm setting. This puts the focus on the human relationship between both women instead of the societal barriers to queerness.


My favorite scenes from Killing Eve show the conflicting emotions both characters feel towards each other, including desire, repulsion, love, and fear. I wanted to capture that array of complex feelings with Korinna and Aster.


Redsight is OUT NOW in hardcover and on digital from Solaris Books. Order here