but aren’t we all?  😉

Extreme Sci Fi bundle runs out in a few days. After that, you’ll never have the chance to get this collection of writers together in one place again. (Well, maybe Kris and Dean and Kevin J, but they play in a much bigger league than I normally get to.  Hopefully, all this work will impress them enough I get to do this again.)

Fairchild, my novel in the bundle, was something I had wanted to try for a while. Hard Science Fiction with a real sciencie bent to to it. I have no idea how those people travel between the stars. It’s not relevant to this story. Maybe later I’ll figure it out. What I wanted to cover was a place where this girl is using physics and math and motion in her everyday life, intentionally solving problems without resorting to the sorts of hand-waving, techno-babble that always drives me crazy in (bad) SF.

I get Chekov’s Gun. If you are going to use it in Act 3, it damned well better be on the mantle in Act 1, and discussed by the characters. Too often, I feel that SF forgets to set up the toy that’s going to save the day later. It just becomes a McGuffin to be pulled out of their…pocket at the last moment, that just happens to save the day.

Deux ex Machina, if you will.

For Dani, the suit is her way to sticking it to the man. Of sticking out. Everyone else either wears a normal flight suit with everything built in, or relies on the ejection seat to have everything packed correctly in an emergency.

She sees the suit as an extension of her own self. And counts on it and her own training to get her through any situation. It doesn’t help that she’s a little crazy, but that’s why she has Eleanor to keep her on the beam.

She can play these games, this Extreme Science Fiction Athlete, because she isn’t normal (and boring). She can fly by free-gliding on winds and thermals. It is part of who she is. She can jump down an inclined cylinder of air and play a racing game of pistons (a sport she will invent when she gets back). She can pretend to be the mutant offspring of an anglerfish and a shark and scare the hell out of Chike.

The tech exists, and isn’t that much beyond what we can do today, so I have no doubt that it will be available on one of these days for you to order when you get home.

At the same time, I didn’t want to get too wrapped up in the tech and extreme, and lose sight of the people at the heart of the story. Because this one is about people.

Every story I write is generally baked into a much larger universe before I commit words. That is my planning technique, personally. World-building on a grand scale, with lots of notes and prep. I grew up reading comic books, so I tend to write stories that are part of a much longer, much larger thread. I’m not going to spoil the surprise and drop any useful details, but I already have a second and possibly third novel in mind for her. (We’ll see after I finish the next Jessica Keller novel.)

The other thing I wanted to do was do science fiction scientists. And not the exotic kind you see on television, where they have access to all data ever recorded at their fingertips, and the bleedingest edge of technology handy. Or turn into modern tomb raiding thieves.

Real science.

The boring stuff, where you go out in the field, in the rain and cold and hot, to put out sensors, or look at rocks, or measure weather patterns. Slow, laborious grunt work that the PhD’s will pawn off on the grad students, who will in turn make the freshmen do the actual labor.

You don’t ever make a grand discovery in a 42 minute episode, especially if you have to fight off monsters, murders, or plague along the way. You spend years in the field, publishing tons of obscure and arcane studies of no interest to anyone outside your field (and your tenure board).

Excitement is when something goes wrong, and the characters have to fall back on their plans to fix it. It gets more fun when we consider the aliens in Fairchild’s universe: the Elder Race.

Total mystery, to even prove that they existed in the first place, except by extrapolation of probability physics. Proving, as it were, that the dog didn’t bark.

Spoiler alert: They aren’t going to just land one day and introduce themselves. I’m not sure what happened to them, but it was slow, rather than fast, and deliberate, rather than accidental. Like good stewards of the universe, they took the time to leave nature better than they found it.

So now, you have to add xeno-archaeology to the mix of hard science one must pursue. Digging in the soil for artificially-made artifacts, and not just weirdly-shaped rocks. The adventure happens around the characters, because of them, if you will.

So like I said, you only have a few days left until the bundle goes away forever and you’re back to paying full price for everything.

On a vaguely related note, there is about a week left to pre-order Goddess of War before it goes live on Oct 11. This is the fourth Jessica Keller novel. I’m about a quarter into book five now: Flight of the Blackbird, and busily plotting out books 6 & 7. TBD

And, I’ve been off-line for a long weekend, but I got a small greenhouse built. Now I don’t have to bring the citrus inside for the winter, with all the bugs that come along. Got a Meyer Lemon, Bear Lime, and two blood orange trees in pots. Now they have a lovely, little 8′ x 4′ home with plexiglass walls on two sides and roof, and it gets warm in there. Plus, I ran a gutter across the front, and plumbed it to irrigation drip lines to individually feed each pot.

Hopefully, I can largely ignore them all winter and they won’t die on me. When Global Warming gets far enough along, I plan to plant them with south-facing sun and let them just survive, but I have to build a much larger, permanent structure, in-ground green house to do that.

Copious spare time. We’ll get there.

As always, I look forward to your comments, thoughts, ideas, and dirty jokes.

shade and sweet water


West of the Mountains, WA