I have posted Chapter 1 of my work-in-progress, Dust. I hope to post a couple of chapters per week going forward. If you have time, check it out and post a critique under this blog post–there’ll be one blog post for each chapter. Be honest!
By the way, I just finished the book *A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, one of my favorite authors. The scope of the book is amazing, and it’s full of interesting facts.
Here’s one: “as a rule…our tolerance for elements [of the periodic table] is directly proportionate to their abundance in the Earth’s crust…a big part of the reason that Earth seems so miraculously accommodating is that we evolved to suit its conditions.” In other words, our bodies are exactly matched to this planet. That has an impact on how people might colonize other planets; will we need to bring along trace amounts of things like cobalt and manganese in ensure our long-term health if we don’t find them on our new host planet, or will we engineer ourselves to not need these things anymore?
Another thing: 99.99 % of all species that have ever existed on Earth are extinct. Extinction is part of the cycle of life on Earth and has been since life began. Here’s one of my favorite extinct species: Opabinia, which existed during the so-called Cambrian Explosion (542 million years ago). It had five eyes and a nozzle-like snout with claws on the end, and a mouth under the head facing backwards. See the picture, grabbed off Wikipedia. The point is, if Opabinia is an Earth creature, then how weird will extraterrestrial creatures be, if and when we finally encounter them? Not likely to be green-skinned bikini models. Dang.