My new novel is published on Amazon; see the links widget on the upper-right of this page. It’s available in both Kindle and paperback format. I ordered some paperback copies of Love and Other Metals and was pleased with the quality.
A quick word about “New America”, the space colony in which part of Human Enough takes place. It’s loosely based on the “Island One” concept by Gerard O’Neill, as described in his book The High Frontier. (Dr. O’Neill was a big thinker and Princeton professor; his concepts made a big splash back in the 1970’s when his book was first published.)
New America features a very large (~2 KM diameter) habitation ring that could, according to O’Neill, house up to 10,000 people. In his book, he envisions its construction from Earth-based materials, which would be incredibly expensive. However, it seems obvious that using materials from the Moon would greatly reduce the cost. Building such a mega-structure would be a huge effort, but perhaps once we really establish a beachhead on the Moon it might not seem so outlandish. In the words of rocket pioneer Robert Goddard, “It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.”
The National Aerospace Plane (NASP) was cutting-edge in its day. It started as a research project of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. President Ronald Reagan announced the project to the public during his 1986 State of the Union address, calling it the “Orient Express.” Its engine was to be of a revolutionary scramjet design. This engine uses hydrogen as fuel, and unlike more common ramjet designs, scramjet internal combustion takes place at supersonic speeds. The NASP was expected to reach speeds up to Mach 20. The project was ultimately terminated due to budget cuts and the prototype X-30 never flew. But the plane lives on as a workable approach to a Single Stage To Orbit (SSTO) airplane, i.e. a plane that could take off from an ordinary runway and reach low earth orbit. A later development of the concept was the X-43: a small, unmanned vehicle that used a scramjet. During flight tests the X-43 reached a top speed of Mach 9.65 at 110,000 feet altitude in 2004. It looked very much like the NASP.
The earthship featured in Chapters 1 and 2 is based on the NASP. Its engines would be capable of multiple modes of operation: from turbojet on the runway, to scramjet at high speeds, and finally to rocket power in the upper atmosphere and the vacuum beyond. The earthship would surely expend all its fuel to reach orbit, but there’s a parallel idea of orbiting fuel depots. These floating gas stations would include a set of cryogenic tanks holding liquid hydrogen and oxygen. Once in low earth orbit, the earthship would attach to a depot, fuel up, and continue with a trans-lunar injection burn to travel to the Moon.
Love and Other Metals is now available as an on-demand paperback on Amazon at this link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1520920962. I’ve also posted the second chapter of Human Enough. Have a look.
Hello Again! I’ve been taking time off from blogging to learn and to write. I used excerpts from my new novel for submissions to a writing workshop at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, https://lighthousewriters.org. I am so lucky to be in a town that has so much accessible talent. I learned a whole bunch and I hope my writing is that much better. I’m going to call the new book Human Enough.
Chapter 1 is posted. I’ll be posting the new chapters under the menu “Human Enough” which you will see on the upper right of the main web page. Just go to the “Human Enough” menu and pull down to get to the new stuff.
This book is a sequel to Love and Other Metals. Human Enough takes place in the same fictional universe as Love and Other Metals, with Straker Yuuta as the protagonist. He’s a couple years older and wiser. During the book, some dreams come true for him, and others turn sour. What’s the first chapter about? Well, I’ll give you a randomly chosen sentence: “AAAHH WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!” So give it a look and let me know how Chapter 1 strikes you.
With this chapter, the book is complete. Thanks if you have been reading along, and if you have any ideas about how the story can be improved, please leave a comment. I am tossing around ideas for a second book within the same fictional universe, since I’ve come to enjoy the characters from this book so much. In a few weeks I’ll take down the posted chapters, except for a small sampling, and point people towards the Kindle book instead. Then I think the blog will be stagnant for a while as I work on the next book. Cheers! KPR
Katya and Louis are the only ones left functioning as the asteroid is coming apart, and the Command Module is taking a beating from all the flying rock and debris. They’re basically bolted to the asteroid, so if the pyrotechnics don’t blow on command, they’ll be stuck there. Plus, Straker learns something new about his father.
In this chapter, Straker finds out what he’s really fighting for. And this time, the monster he’s fighting is real and really big. He hasn’t got a chance…except, of course, this is a novel and anything can happen.
Straker, Katya, and Louis prepare to leave the asteroid, but before they can, Straker has to disable the laser on the Kestrel or else they’ll get blown to bits. In the process, Straker has to evade the crew of the other ship, and winds up confronting the one that scares him the most.
I’m a little late with this post; I’ve been on the road. On the plus side, I’ve acquired some spacey help with my writing: see the picture. His name is Nova, and he is a very sweet cat. Temporary but very welcome.
In Chapter 20, Straker arrives back at the Allgood command module to rescue the remaining crew when he is attacked by a second drone. It turns out, however, that Straker isn’t as helpless against this machine as he was before. He makes it back into the ship and then…ah, but you’ll have to read it for yourself!
In real-world news, the Perseids, the most widely observed and dependable of the annual meteor displays, will peak during the overnight hours of Thursday, Aug. 11 into the morning of Friday, Aug. 12. Due to the gravitation influence of Jupiter, this year’s show is supposed to be especially awesome. When the little particles hit our atmosphere, they put on a brilliant but harmless light show. Of course, not all particles are as small and insubstantial as these. Some of them are big and made of iron and can do bad things to us; see my banner graphic of Meteor Crater in Arizona. Best time to view is 1 – 4:20 AM EDT, which would be 11PM to 2:20AM MDT. I’ll be watching, how about you?
With the crew of the Allgood held prisoner, Straker has refreshed his oxygen and is headed back to rescue them. He is attacked by crewmen from the other ship, but Straker gets help from a new ally.
By the way, I’ve been screwing around with the lyrics that Straker and Sophia write in the book, put it to music, and made a video. See the youtube link in the “links” widget on the right (if you’re viewing on a desktop/laptop). The song is called “Straker’s Lament” until I come up with something snappier. Cheers, kpr