Science Fiction Trending Back to Hard Science

Still from the movie "The Martian" showing Mark Watney on the surface.

NPR broadcast a report Dec. 13 on the recent rise in “hard” science fiction stories, taking special note of the book and film The Martian “that taps into an intriguing trend toward realism.” The Martian may be a signal that Hollywood finally took notice of the appetite for stories set in a scientifically plausible future, but it was Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy in the 1990s that helped lead the trend in literature. (More)

 

The first stage of Space X's Falcon 9 rocket successfully lands at Cape Canaveral.

Rocket Scientists follow Science Fiction’s Lead

Last week’s powered landing of Space X’s Falcon 9 first stage was a step backward in time to when SF writers knew how spaceships should land, even if it’s taking decades for rocket engineers to catch up. (More)

 

Author’s page for novel, audio drama

LDMSfrontcoverthumbnailRead excerpts and hear clips of Tom Chmielewski’s novel Lunar Dust, Martian Sands and his audio drama Shalbatana Solstice on the Martian Sands Bookstore page. Purchase from this page or access this site’s Amazon storefront for a full range of science fiction titles. (More)

Finding Creative Paths to the Stars

Finding Creative Paths to the Stars

From Epic World-Ship Journeys to Spamming Our Galactic Neighbors In Science Fiction, there are three ways to reach the stars: fly fast, fly slow, or fly tricky, or so an old saying goes. In science, mostly there are the same three ways, but none of the options can be reached through a creative, technobabble paragraph. Some more »

Who’s in that Martian Water?

Who’s in that Martian Water?

NASA’s announcement last week of clinching evidence that liquid water exists on Mars may doom any chance of building a colony on the Red Planet. It’s not the liquid water that hides in Martian sublayers and at times  escapes to the surface or near surface of the planet that’s the problem. It’s what may be in more »

Living in California, Working on Mars

Living in California, Working on Mars

It’s not everyday I get to talk with someone who works on Mars. So when I scored an assignment for The Atlantic magazine’s website (Jet Lag is Worse on Mars) on how Martian explorers will adjust to a longer Martian day, my first call was to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I was able to get more »

Why Build a Scientifically Accurate World with a Soulless Society?

Why Build a Scientifically Accurate World with a Soulless Society?

Why are there a number of how-to books on building worlds in Science Fiction, but none, at least that I know of, about shaping the societies that inhabit them? Thankfully, there are authors who include the societal element of the story they’re writing, be the societies alien or human. But there were a couple of more »

A long road to dual release of sci-fi drama, novel

A long road to dual release of sci-fi drama, novel

Just finished recording and editing the science fiction audio drama Shalbatana Solstice, a prequel I wrote for my novel Lunar Dust, Martian Sands. I plan to release both in July. Both stories deal with people trying to make a life on a lonely planet, and make the world their own. No zombies, no aliens – more »

Chinese Worm the Latest Turn in Cyber-War

Chinese Worm the Latest Turn in Cyber-War

The plot is chilling. A cyber-mercenary gang known as “Icefog” operating out of China unleashes its insidious worm “Dagger Three” to infiltrate computers of foreign governments and their defense contractors, steal vital secrets, then leaves in an electronic mist before anyone is the wiser. Sounds like a job for James Bond, though maybe he’s too more »

One-Way to Mars: Is it the only way?

One-Way to Mars: Is it the only way?

No, but maybe sending colonists first is the better way If you want to go to Mars, you only have a few days left to apply. But if you want a round trip ticket, you’re going to have to wait a while longer. The plan of the Mars One Foundation to send would-be colonists to more »

Hiring Asteroid Miners

Hiring Asteroid Miners

Astrogeologists still have to wait to leave Earth Recently, I received an email from Planetary Resources with the subject line, “Now hiring asteroid miners.” About time, it seemed to me. The e-mail said the company was looking for college students for co-op positions, and I thought of forwarding it to my niece studying geology at more »

Reflections from a July morning on a Florida beach, 1969

Reflections from a July morning on a Florida beach, 1969

We didn’t sleep much that night on the beach, my brother, my cousin and I – and several thousand other people. We kept staring across Indian River at that gleaming needle of white on the Atlantic shoreline of the Kennedy Space Center, a rocket bathed in the brilliant glare of searchlights that surrounded the launch more »

If we find life on Mars, is Mars off limits?

If we find life on Mars, is Mars off limits?

When Curiosity shakes off all the dust from landing and completes all its system checks, it will begin its one-year trek (by the Martian calendar) up Mount Sharp, with one of its aims to discover if Mars was ever habitable for primitive life. What if it was? Wow! Great, what a find! What if the more »