An impromptu road trip across one of the four moons of the Ansimh planetary system provides the time for a group of friends from a working class city to discuss their culture and the embargo that has shaped their lives since before they were born. Meandering with the rhythm of the road, weaving pleasantly through the mundane and bizarre events of the past and present in equal measure, fueled by the delirium of illegally-obtained hyperconcentrated espresso, Zoonbats is a one-of-a-kind urban fantasy sci-fi road trip experience, written and illustrated by Giles O'Dell.
A Kuranai drummer, he previously worked at a liquor store in the Fishscale District. Then one night he had a vision, inspired by the mysterious melodies played by a transient trombonist named Myra Fine. The vision inspired him to say farewell to his friends Toast and Bloom, and head to the northern lands searching for information on the disappearance of his childhood musical mentor.
Originally from Minsha, she and her mother moved to Shinma when she was a teenager. She's a graffiti artist and writer who pays the bills by working at the Belladonna Theatre in the Fishscale District. People say the theater is haunted, but Bloom doesn’t believe in anything supernatural. She’s a pretty pragmatic person, but she’s also known for skipping town at a moment’s notice to go check out the graffiti in other cities and to write her own.
Employed as a dishwasher and line cook on the graveyard shift at a 24-hour restaurant. Soon after an incident that left a potted flower permanently stuck on his head, Toast took up the hobby of building robots. Recently, he completed his most ambitious one, the giraffe-robot Inaara. However, just as he powered her up, she bolted out of his workshop for no apparent reason. Now he and his girlfriend Bloom are trying to catch up with her and find out why…
Zoonbats takes place in the planetary system of Ansimh, which has four moons: Shinma, Minsha, Imsahn, and Nhasim.
The main characters are from the city of Haquel, state of Disan, on the continent-country of Sil, on the moon Shinma. (Although, as the story begins, Wayne Molly is traveling in the Northern lands, heading south from Ikuma along the coast in the state of Ruma.)
Silnai culture places a strong emphasis on the oral tradition. Life is generally regarded as a story to be told and retold, and through the practices of storytelling and active listening, the Silnai derive meaning and enjoyment from life. There is a common belief in spirits, ghosts and transdimensional beings, most of whom are known as residents of various regions, although there are many people who haven’t personally encountered them. On the other hand, some of these beings are said to live among the people and pass as mortal folks. There are a number of hybrid human-animal species, whose origins are so far in the distant past that, like Niana’s, they are unclear. An immense blank period of history exists, and even its cause is generally unknown.
The third moon in the Ansimh planetary system, Shinma's orbit around Ansimh results in days of varying length. The shortest days are about 23 hours, while the longest are just over 27 hours, with an average length of about 24 hours and 90 minutes (on a base-100 clock). Approximately every ten days, there are two days in a row of similar length (about 24-25 hours). The resulting pattern of “short days” and “long days” when observed in a chart, appears to be an overlapping pair of sine waves. (Minsha, on the other hand, having a smaller, faster orbit, has a series of short and long days that chart more like a “braid” of three sine waves.)
The apparent size of the other three moons can vary dramatically, even within a single day. The same is true of the sun, to a somewhat lesser extent due to its distance, but temperatures can vary noticeably. This temperature variation occurs particularly on days when Shinma's orbital path causes the sun to cross the sky at changing speeds – for example, the sun might be “small” in the morning, rising quickly, but then “slow down” and become “large” in the afternoon – a variety of combinations of these factors can occur.
The phases of the other moons and the planet visibly change during the course of each day. The apparent motion of Ansimh across the sky is consistent. But occasionally the orbital paths of the moons coincide in ways that cause the moons to appear to slow dramatically, almost achieving a retrograde appearance. The other moons also periodically “change size” as their orbital speeds bring them closer together or further apart.
The ecliptic plane of the planetary system not uniformly “flat,” with each moon having an orbit that is tilted by up to 3 degrees. The combination of all of these slightly tilted orbits can result in some dramatic motions across the sky of Shinma. Ansimh eclipses the sun regularly, and at times crosses the night sky lit by the sun, causing the Shinman night to be bathed in twilight. Shinma's orbit is not synchronous, and Ansimh can be seen very slowly rotating throughout its course across the sky, by about 118 degrees from rising to setting.
Of course, when Ansimh eclipses the sun it is always a total eclipse, with the atmosphere and cloud cover backlit by sunlight. The other moons eclipse the sun much more rarely, and depending on their positions, each one could potentially be any type of eclipse – total, annular, partial or hybrid. There are also extremely rare occasions when multiple moons converge to eclipse each other as well as the sun. With such spectacular displays in the skies of each moon and the planet, astronomy is a thriving field of study. There are also many systems of astrology with unique cultural variations from planet to moon to moon.