Hello, friends and fans!
Given my previous articles “50 Secrets, Insights & Behind The Scenes Nuggets In ‘Underground Movement’, ‘Xanadu’ & ‘The Last Hurrah’“, “60+ Secrets, Insights & Behind The Scenes Nuggets In The Galaxii Series“, “60 Secrets, Insights & Behind The Scenes Nuggets In Panic! Horror In Space” and “40+ Secrets, Insights & Behind The Scenes Nuggets In Space Sucks!“, I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of similar insights into “Mirror, Mirror” now available on Amazon!
- “Mirror, Mirror” was originally two separate but closely related novellas called “Duck Blind” and “The Next Room”.
- The premise for “Duck Blind” was originally based on a scheme a friend and I worked on together back in the 2010’s, brain-storming about creating a large space ship simulator just like the one in the story. Of course it never progressed beyond that, and so I wrote a story based on the idea instead.
- The title “Duck Blind” was prompted by the idea of aliens spying on humans unobserved, hence the implication of a duck blind used by hunters stalking ducks.
- The title of “The Next Room” was inspired by the poem “Death Is Nothing At All” by Henry Scott-Hollland. It also evokes the idea of people in different dimensions simply bordering each other like they are in different rooms. Since it also is used in reference to a funeral while the character mourns the death of his friend, it also implies the finality of death.
- I found it gratifying to know that the idea of the space ship simulator hotel wasn’t a “pipe dream” since Disney created a Star Wars based space ship simulator hotel almost exactly like that in the 2020’s! So you might say that this story was quite prophetic!
- I felt compelled to write “The Next Room” right after finishing “Duck Blind” because it suddenly occurred to me how amazing it would be if I could tell the other half of the story – in other words, what happened to Andy from his perspective after Charlie had taken his place in his reality.
- “Duck Blind” was written first (Dec 2019), followed by “The Next Room” (Jan 2020).
- “Duck Blind” and “The Next Room” were both originally published as separate titles with mirrored covers on 1 Feb, 2020 – my birthday.
- Brandon Mullins who was the CEO of Moon Books Publishing, asked me to put both novellas into one book – which made more sense really, especially where both stories run so close to a central point that they contrast against each other! They are, after all, really one larger story. Thus it was that “Mirror, Mirror” was born.
- “Mirror, Mirror” was first published in August 2020.
- “Duck Blind” and “The Next Room” became “Mirror, Mirror” and the separate titles were discontinued in August 2020.
- A short new piece was written to precede the story, entitled “In The Beginning”, which sets the scene for both stories. It introduces the main characters; the interdimensional aliens Frangelasti Anjulaxna Zorbin and his wife, Listrucia Maladansii Zorbin – Listy for short – and the two separate instances of Charlie/Andy from different dimensions co-existing at the same time.
- “Mirror, Mirror” is a story of opposites, of two conflicting simultaneous versions of reality coming into contact and interacting with each other.
- The book is still divided into two stories: “Duck Blind” and “The Next Room”. Each of these stories centers around a set of characters existing in separate dimensions or realities, who often closely mirror each other as being similar, but more often as complete opposites – specifically around two men: Charlie and Andy, who outwardly appear to be exactly the same as each other, but their different realities have made them both into totally unique individuals. That said, the story also explores what they have in common with each other.
- Both Charlie and Andy have one major thing in common with each other – being that both of them are utterly miserable with their lives as they are, and long for something to change.
- Charlie is straight. Andy isn’t.
- This is a story in which almost everybody gets exactly what they wanted.
- “Mirror, Mirror” delivers not one, not two, but three different happy endings. Charlie’s, Andy’s – and the Zorbin’s.
- In “Duck Blind”, Charlie Branson is unhappy because he spends all his time portraying himself as a playboy and ladies man living it up as a pretend starship captain – and wishing it could all just be real. In contrast, “The Next Room” shows how a man called Andy Niksn – who looks uncannily like Charlie – is unhappy as well, but for very different reasons. Here it’s 2773 and Andy really is the captain of an interstellar cruise liner called Freedom! He’s in an uncomfortable relationship with one of his colleagues – one that Charlie always had the hots for – and to make matters worse, his best friend has been killed in an accident, leaving him in a deeply miserable state.
- The Zorbins are traveling inter-dimensional beings who can exist in any dimensions they choose to, unlike the rest of us. Fortunately for Charlie and Andy, they take pity on both Charlie and Andy. One morning, both wake up in opposite realities… Charlie in Andy’s world of 2773, and Andy in Charlie’s reality. The story explores how they cope and fight to understand what has happened, and how to relate to the people the encounter there, who seem strange and yet so very familiar – especially those who happened to be dead in one reality and alive in the other.
- The premise of “Mirror, Mirror“, basically, is to revisit the old story of “The Prince and the Pauper” but digging deeper with a bigger shovel.
- Both “Duck Blind” and “The Next Room” together tell both sides of the same story from the perspective of a different set of the same group of characters in different dimensions and times.
- You can read “Duck Blind” or “The Next Room” in any particular order, and the overall story would still be the same and make perfect sense.
- “Mirror, Mirror” is a story of opposites and similarities. It was quite a challenge to complete, and one I’m immensely proud of!
The story received the following five star award/review on Reader’s Favorite by Scott Cahan in 2022:
“Mirror, Mirror by Christina Engela is a science fiction fantasy that would have fitted perfectly into the old TV show The Twilight Zone if it were still around today. It’s the story of two men in two different dimensions, who are unknowingly swapped. One is Charlie, an actor, playing the role of the captain of a commercial space liner. The supposed starship that he is on is only a simulator, built to give paying customers the experience of flying around out in space. The man Charlie gets swapped with is named Andy, and he is a real captain of a real spaceship that transports tourists around the solar system. Andy and Charlie retain their memories and minds as they each wake up in the body of the other man in a strange new reality. In essence, the book is two stories in one as we watch both men struggle to make sense of what has happened to them.
Mirror, Mirror is clever, quirky, intelligent, and frankly a lot of fun to read. The author purposely allowed the two stories to mirror each other with almost identical story arcs for both men, and the technique works extremely well. Seeing the men go through similar traumatic experiences and handle them in their own unique way is very entertaining. This is less of a science fiction story and more of a study of life choices and how they can affect a person over time. The author, Christina Engela, has a whimsical way of telling her story that makes an otherwise out-of-this-world plot feel very relatable and human. I highly recommend Mirror, Mirror to anyone who likes a well-told “what if” story with lots of heart. FIVE STARS.” – Reviewed by Scott Cahan for Readers’ Favorite, January 31, 2022.
Well, that’s that – quite a long list of things you probably never knew about Mirror, Mirror. You can find it on Amazon as an eBook and paperback.
I truly hope you enjoy reading it!