Tag Archives: dark matter and dark energy

A Space Launch

It’s a space launch! Wahoo!  Past the Event Horizon is finally published! Kennedy declared that man should land on the moon and ten years later, we made it. While it hasn’t been ten years launching Past the Event Horizon, or maybe it has, a book about traveling through space has all kinds of challenges and is really fun to write.

One challenge is gravity. Low gravity is hard on the human body. Take your characters away from Earth’s gravity and you encounter all sorts of problems. Bones decalcify, blood flow changes, digestion stymies. Currently, the answer is to provide centripetal force, or gravity induced by spinning parts of the ship. When this stops and zero gravity occurs, the human body and all things around it float and provide amusing experiences.

In one episode, on his way to a crisis, Captain Braden encounters a floating sock. Sex in zero gravity is different also. Body parts float, and there is always the action, reaction law. Push at someone and you’re likely to be rebounding off of walls or furniture. So, the crew snickers about tethering each other on certain occasions.

Providing edible food in space is a challenge. On my ship the Seeker, we have the farm, which uses wide spectrum light to grow plant food and duckweed and water hyacinths to filter water. The diet is soy based supplemented by animal proteins and grown vegetables. Miniature goats and chickens are present. In an extended voyage, keeping the menu interesting would be difficult. However, as Captain Braden says in the story, “People will eat anything if they’re hungry enough.” And it is the wide variety of foods that humans can eat that has helped us survive. We’re flexible eaters, but keeping the crew healthy and fed is a real challenge.

Enclosing twelve people in a small space with no egress strains the human psyche. Currently around the world, a number of experiments have been run to assess what people will do in such an environment. Check out David LeVine’s blog at Mars journal: http://www.bentopress.com/mars/My editor, and not a few in my writing group, protested the antics of several of the crew on board my ship.

Then, I attended a panel at Orycon on enclosed space habitats and learned of some of the extreme behaviors human beings resort to when enclosed with each other for prolonged periods of time. One of the panelists quoted an experiment in an enclosed habitat that had to be discontinued due to violence and serious death threats. On board the Seeker, a lot of the crew make bets to keep themselves amused. Never did I mention what the payoff for these bets was. I thought I would just let the readers imagine that part. Emotions often get high, people jockey for power, and there is an attempted rape by a frustrated male. Yes, I had a mixed crew. As I wrote, “The crew was mixed military and civilian, mixed male and female, mixed nationalities and temperaments. In total, a handful of headaches thanks to the thoughtful selections of Mission Control. And lately, everyone was getting cranky with everyone else.”

I had to think about how to power the ship both inside and out. I decided to walk on the wild side of science and, once the ship is in deep space, it uses a dark matter propulsion matrix that powers the ship along. Sucking up dark matter and spitting out bits provides propulsion in frictionless space. Because once you get going, there’s little to slow you down. I have a magnetic field surround the ship to protect it from random space debris and radiation, much like the magnetic field around Earth protects it. While I was in the neighborhood of wild science, I put in a stargate. The wild ride through the stargate provided some fun reading.


“Some kind of beam has locked onto us and is pulling us toward that energy mass’s center,” Bashar shouted.

Braden activated his emergency comm to Adam and commanded, “Reverse engines. Increase reverse thrusters, NOW!”

From the engine pod, Adam’s voice could be heard yelling, “I can’t! I can’t! I’m trying. We’re picking up speed. Nothing’s responding. It’s got some kind of grip on us.”

Braden stared at various digital readouts that began to flicker wildly, recording huge leaps of increasing speed. Red lights started to flash all over Navcom. He saw Bashar’s hands fluttering over helm’s board, as chunks of rock grew larger and closer in the overhead monitor. Soon, the overhead screen showed bright flashes as bits and pieces of rocks hit the magnetic field and disintegrated into bursts of light. A fanfare of fireworks circled all around the outside of the ship. A violent jolt to the left smashed Braden against something hard. He blinked and put a hand to the side of his head. Pulling it away, he saw blood coating his palm.

Sweat poured down Bashar’s face as he jabbed at the control board. Blinking red lights flashed collision alert warnings. Another sharp jerk, this time to the right, caused Bashar’s fingers to slide over his board. He shook one hand to his side to bring back feeling, while the other gripped a control lever even more tightly.

TAKE HOLD…ALL PERSONNEL SECURE FOR TURBULANCE…TAKE HOLD. The ship’s computer blared out warning.

“We are experiencing severe turbulence. Everyone get in and stay secured,” announced Braden through the comm. Bashar’s hands started to shake uncontrollably from the strain of holding the ship’s course. Bashar bit his lip and bright blood swelled at the corner of his mouth.

Icabar glanced over worriedly.

A path began clearing again. The ship gave a quick jerk to the right to avoid a large asteroid that tumbled by outside.

The computer started flickering and printing error messages.

Frag, no! They couldn’t lose the computers at a time like this!

Braden stared across the gaping void and a visible hole began to iris open at its center.

They were going to be swallowed alive!”

And so they enter the stargate into a new universe where they discover ALIENS!

Yes, the whole purpose of the mission is to find the aliens that created the probe that crash-landed on Alysia. And find them, they do. And that is just the beginning of what they discover.

What the aliens look like, what they do and how they change the entire crew and what amazing things Braden and his crew  find out in deep space, well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Thanks to all who helped birth this one. I appreciate you all. Now go forth and spread the word. Or grab one and enjoy the read.

Available as both paperback and online through Amazon.


Filed under alien life forms, Aliens in Science Fiction, Classic science fiction, Cutting Edge Science ideas, first contact, Indie Science Fiction Authors, science fiction, Science Fiction book review, science fiction science, science fiction series, Science fiction world building, space ship, space travel, Uncategorized

Science Fiction Time Travel

Because I’m writing Science fiction, I’m always on the lookout for cutting edge technology or new, interesting science discoveries.IMG_0174

Right now, I’m working on a space travel adventure, Past the Event Horizon, and am keenly aware of all the difficulties traveling in space entails. It’s dangerous out there in the void.

So when I ran across an intriguing article entitled, “Using the Quantum Vacuum as a Propellant” in the Spacetimes magazine…

I went Wahoo!

http://www.astronautical.org/sites/default/files/spacetimes/spacetimes_48-6.pdf.”  It’s the Internet, so of course, it’s all true.

But just think if we could do that…

The article begins: “Imagine if it were possible to utilize the very vacuum of space as a source of propellant. If a spacecraft needed only to provide power, and not carry propellant, what would be the possibilities? A spacecraft equipped with such a propulsion system would have a Specific Impulse (ISP) that is many orders of magnitude higher than current propulsion technology. The limiting design parameter would then be the power density of the local power source. Mission planners could design reference missions to include multiple orbits and inclinations – the latter typically requiring the higher delta-v. A mission could incorporate multiple destinations. Perhaps most importantly for space exploration, transit times could be drastically reduced.”

It states that scaling to power levels specific to human flight will enable one year transit time to Jupiter.

That’s quite a time saver.

Okay, I don’t pretend to understand the math or the science that follows in the article, but what a neat idea for using in a starship story. Not only are transit times impossible in space, the nearest gas station is a bit far if you run out of fuel. What if you could use the vacuum of space to keep you going. Or say, dark matter? Hmmm.

Just a thought.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I wanted to also highlight some self-publishing authors, in addition to the well known ones that always appear on the lists publishers make. I got a lot of authors who touted their own book and wanted a mention.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had to do the same, but I’m looking for an e-book that you as a reader have read and think it should be mentioned because it is just that good. Authors tend to have a bias about their own work. I certainly do. Ask me, they’re great!

The big traditional publishing houses have well worn tracks of marketing and long established connections in the industry, but the new Indie author is totally confused about how to get his book noticed.

I know because I’m one.

So here’s an Indie review for a book you might just like.

The Kronos Interference by Edward Miller and J.B. Manas

Time travel has always intrigued me. It’s what I write about. It asks: What if you could go back in time? What would you do?

That is one of the questions Jacob Newman faces when he is called in on a top secret mission to an alien ship deep in the ocean and he discovers a globe that allows him to time travel.

Jacob is a high level scientist who comes with a difficult past. When he suspects the alien globe will take him back in time, he knows what he wants to do. He wants to save millions from dying…by killing Hitler…

Oh no, another holocaust story, and haven’t we had enough of those?

But wait, let me read a little further because the writing is good. No grammar, spelling or awkward phrases to throw me out of the story. The sentences flow and disappear into a developing plot.

And the main character feels real. He leaves his wife dying with cancer to answer the call of a national emergency, but not without angst. “Be back soon, honey. Got to change the world.”

He carries a picture of his beautiful grandmother, Anna, who died at Dacha. He wants her tortured life to be different. Did I mention that he was Jewish? Well, yes.

So I’ll read on a little more because the plot is now getting complicated and compelling. Mystery is piling upon mystery as Jacob travels to 1944 and World War II to kill Hitler, and I’m worried for him.

At my house, dinner needs to be served, laundry needs to be done, but I’ll just finish one more chapter…maybe two. Oh dear, there’s an interesting twist to the story. Aliens in time? The action is getting more exciting amidst some serious questions concerning humanity’s morality.

What? Pizza delivered an hour ago and when did it go dark outside? Laundry can be done tomorrow because right now I need to figure out what’s going on in this story, and I might as well finish this chapter, or maybe the next.

Starting with an attractive cover, professional formatting and compelling writing, I found that I couldn’t put this time travel mystery/thriller down. The story has a good balance between thrilling action and interesting character development, while posing very real philosophical questions on the advisability of tweaking time for whatever reason.

The ending draws out a bit, but then there are quite a number of ends to tie up in a delightfully complicated plot involving time travel, aliens, murder and, oh yes, Hitler, who makes a cameo appearance.

If you like time travel, I recommend this one. You won’t be able to put it down.

What’s your favorite science fiction novel? Leave a comment or e-mail me.


Filed under alien life forms, Alternate Universe Stories, Alternate Universes, Cutting Edge Science ideas, ebook science fiction, first contact, Indie authors, Indie Science Fiction Authors, science fiction, Science Fiction book review, Science Fiction Mystery, time travel, WWII

Distrust this Particular Read

I am a big fan of William Gibson. Starting with Neuromancer on through Pattern Recognition, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Spook Country, Zero History and others. So it was with excitement and ignorance that I settled in with Distrust that Particular Flavor, his newest offer ….and should have–distrusted, that is. It’s a series of bits and pieces of speeches and essays from different times in his life. For that, an occasional insight into the thoughts of a famous iconic writer, but not the edgy, cyber punk story that I was looking forward to.

I feel bad…seeing that we’re twitter buddies and all…but I was very disappointed as I wanted a cyber chunky story.

On the other hand, looking for a good read, I picked up Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Ghost Ship and was enthralled. I have mentioned their Liadan series universe before and this is the most recent Theo Waitley adventure. Read Fledgling, Mouse and Dragon, Saltation before you read this one, and then enjoy.

Miller and Lee provide rich character portrayals along with interesting science. This time they introduce Independent Artificial Intelligence in a starship. AI is a recent theme I have been reading about and unlike in The Ashes of Candesce, this AI isn’t the enemy, but is a ship that haunts space waiting for its captain to take charge.

Theo Waitley is a newly graduated starship pilot who takes her first courier job from “Uncle.” Her university scholar father, who seemed normal during most of her childhood, disappears suddenly. Finding him, Theo discovers a whole family line that is being hunted and killed by Central Administration. Theo gets put on their list. Also hunting her is an aware A1starship that has decided she is it’s captain because of a key given to her by a dying ex lover.

Great adventure and a fun read. 4 stars****

In the interesting science posts category, I found this new discovery:


A proposal to use the quantum vacuum as a propellant. If it can be done, there’s no lack of vacuum in space, and hence might solve the propulsion problem for star travel. Science fiction writers are always looking for valid science to enable their characters to traverse space. Otherwise, we make up something and the science is squishy. You do realize the warp drive is a fictional creation by the writers of Star Trek, and not real?

Here’s one more question:

If you believe in the big bang, where in a micro billionth of a second the universe went from nothing to filling the universe…what does that say about the speed limit of light? Maybe light didn’t exist then. I just think of the word bang and I see exploding light. So the big bang happened in the dark?

p.s. Just watched “Universe: Top ten greatest explosions.”  The comment concerning the “Big Bang” and traveling past light speed was that the universe itself can expand faster than the speed of light, but no particle traveling in the universe can go faster than the speed of light. Squish, squish, huh?

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Filed under artificial intelligence, artificial nature, award winning scifi, Candesce, Cyberpunk, Cyberspace, hard science, science fiction, science fiction series, Science fiction world building, Space opera, space ship, space travel

Bending Science

Science fiction: an oxymoron. Is it science or is it fiction–because science is the process of discovering and proving the truth of something and fiction is writing something that is not true.

But science fiction is a bit of both.

So when I write science fiction I try to study what is new in science and incorporate it into my novels, sometimes with a bit of bending of the truth so as to extend the imagination and make an interesting story. That is the fiction part.

Let me explain. Dark matter and dark energy. These are exciting new concepts that are still being proven. We are not exactly sure what properties they hold, but we hypothesize that they exist and some scientists claim to have found dark matter.  So, in Cosmic Entanglement they are mentioned and in the next book after that, they are an accepted part of space.

For years, Stephen Hawkings suggested the existence of black holes, but only recently have we actually proven that they exist…and in the heart of our own Milky Way Galaxy. Now we have found black holes at the center of most galaxies and some are suggesting that they are the power engine that drives galaxies. So, there had to be a wormhole or a black hole in one of my books.

Stephen Hawkings said that there are particle and anti particle pairs that are created near the event horizon. When this spontaneous creation occurs, as it does everywhere in space, the particle and antiparticle travels in opposite directions. If one member of the pair travels into the event horizon, the other will fly away from the black hole. (The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil). I used this idea and bent it a bit…okay, a whole lot. But who’s to say, it might not occur? No one has been to a black hole. But I sent my ship near a vortex and used the idea to save my crew.

Speech recognition and computer implants: So for years they talked about speech recognition, but the human voice is a tricky thing. Now we have Siri and it feels like we are living in an imagined future. Science reality is catching up to science fiction. So, in one of my stories, the main character talks to his computer almost as if he considers it a live person.

As my stories go farther into the future of Alysia, I have to imagine what the science might be like in that future. One concept is the implanted A1 that has been made popular by authors such as John Scalzi, Richard Morgan, and yeah, Star Trek. The cyborg human. A neat idea that I use in another forthcoming novel. Taking the current science of prothesis and brain implants and bending it even more.

But the idea of implanting computers or mechanical devices is already a science reality. One of my former employers has Parkinson’s disease and underwent an operation that implanted a mechanical device to alleviate the shaking that racked his body. My own sister has an electronic device implanted in her brain, after having a tumor removed that left her deaf in one ear. You would never know now that she had a hearing problem.

So, what about the Not Yet Science of Alysia’s far future?  I incorporated the idea of nanotechnology that made humans disease resistance and extended their life. I also had a main character live over a hundred years. In our reality, Cro Magnon Era man lived to be 18 years old. Ancient Egypt 28 years. 1400 Europe 30 years. 1900 United State 48 years, and 2002 United States 78 years. Now we are inching toward 80 years of expected life. Arwoyn Telluria in Caught in Time lives to be over a hundred.

Also, Caught In Time has as a main character a clone variant that travels back in time. Neither time travel nor human cloning has yet been done…but we have cloned mammals. That amazes me. And manned exploration. Well, many a scifi author has done the manned exploration idea, but you got to have some of space travel in your science fiction. Still, I tried to study some of the advances being made as we prepare to travel to Mars in the not so distant future and I put them on board my ship. Some of the ideas I gave a bit of a bend to enable survivable travel.

The book coming out soon, soon, soon is Cosmic Entanglement. I am awaiting a proof copy right now. It is about an alien probe that crash lands on Alysia. I started it before our Mar Rovers landed, er bounced, on the red planet and now we have several probes out in deep space photographing and exploring what is out there. What might another species think and do if there was a chance encounter with one of our probes?

So these are some of the not yet sciences that by bending and extending current science reality, science fiction writers may imagine into science fact.

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Filed under downloaded personalities, gene modification, genetic manipulation, hard science, modifying humans, science fiction, science fiction series