In my fiction, I’ve been fascinated by the liminality of ports. They are where the everyday intersects with the extraordinary, the start and end point for thousands of journeys, and portals connecting this place with every other place.
Being a SF writer, I have a particular fondness for space ports. The idea that you can run away from life as a colonist, get to the port, and then have the whole universe open up before you…
In this sense, as in Star Wars, the space port is a bridge between the main character’s old life and the adventure awaiting them. Between who they were and who they are going to be.
Perhaps it’s because I grew up in the port city of Bristol, which historically served as a jumping-off point for merchants, pirates, explorers and (despicably) slavers. Standing on the quay in the late afternoon, you can imagine the ships slipping their moorings and heading for the gorge, and beyond it the Severn Estuary and the Atlantic Ocean, and it feels as if you’re standing on the edge of the world.
The same applies to beaches. They are an ever-changing no-man’s land between the eroding coastline and furious sea. A place where we can stand and contemplate our relationship to the vast elemental forces of the Earth, and maybe yearn for a way to touch that distant horizon.