Jun 152014

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.

Shalbatana Solstice cover image.Both stories deal with people trying to make a life on a lonely planet, and make the world their own. No zombies, no aliens – unless you count the characters from Earth who don’t plan to stay on Mars. People provide drama enough for a story, even a sci-fi story. Mars supplies the mystery.

Both stories have also  been a long time coming, the novel much longer than the audio work. I have to say up front that while writing is a lonely effort, it takes a whole bunch of people to publish, such as knowledgable people to read the drafts, then read the rewrites. And when I decided to do the short story as an audio drama, I had to bring in a director, cast, studio engineer, and for this story, musicians and singers.

No, Shalbatana Solstice is not a musical, though music plays a key role for the context and the plot. The story takes place during a festival at a remote science station on the ridge of Shalbatana Valles, and what’s a festival without music? Yet this festival is by invite only, and little is known about what goes on during the night of the solstice outside the close-knit scientists, researchers, staff, and for this night, one skeptical pilot who attend. Some who are there are awestruck by events they witness. Others can’t leave Mars fast enough, haunted as they are by the events they witness during Null Time, those 40 minutes after midnight and before the Martian day when anything can happen.

Lunar Dust, Martian Sands takes place some years later. The pilot of the first story, Ed, has gone from flying suborbital shuttles on Mars to being captain of an interplanetary tug, the Cydonia Zach. The mystery he finds himself embroiled in this time is less cosmic but far more dangerous. The future of the settlement on Mars may be at stake, but, first things first, so is his life.

Both stories were fun to write, and an adventure of their own to publish. Whether both or either will succeed remains a mystery, at least for now.

Casting Call for Sci-Fi Audio Drama

 Posted by at 9:58 am on September 25, 2013  Writing sci-fi  No Responses »
Sep 252013
Casting Call for Sci-Fi Audio Drama

I have faced many delays with this project, but now that I have the funding, I’m moving ahead with the production of a short sci-fi audio drama, Shalbatana Solstice. I hope to record before the end of the year. If scheduling works out, sometime in October. Shalbatana is a short story prequel to my novel, Lunar more »

Hiring Asteroid Miners

 Posted by at 12:17 pm on May 5, 2013  Moon exploration  No Responses »
May 052013
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 »

Aug 262012
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 »

Aug 172012
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 »

Aug 012012
Crowdfunding novel and audio drama

This has been a long time coming, but finally I’ve launched a Kickstarterr funding campaign to publish my novel, Lunar Dust, Martian Sands, and its audio short-story prequel, Shalbatana Solstice. I’ve been leading up to this for a while. In fact, for the novel, it’s been years. I believe now the timing is right, both more »

Commercial dreams of space

 Posted by at 10:27 am on May 14, 2012  Space news  No Responses »
May 142012
Commercial dreams of space

There is a new space race. It’s hard to tell who the leaders are as this new race is in its early stages. The entrants are still jockeying for position and getting used to the track. But the rest of this decade could be the beginning of an exciting time off Earth. Some politicians and more »

Tripping fantastic in hard sci-fi

 Posted by at 11:48 am on March 24, 2012  Writing sci-fi  2 Responses »
Mar 242012
Tripping fantastic in hard sci-fi

Hard sci-fi has a reputation for being almost exclusively about science and tech, with people only thrown in for context. I don’t buy it, and I don’t buy stories which take that approach. Unfortunately it’s a reputation reinforced by some authors who do embrace that idea and fill their stories with techno-overdrive. These authors meticulously more »

Mar 042012
Playboy and LEGO in space

Two views of leisure in space came across the Martian Sands news feeds a couple of weeks back. One, reported on Space.com and a number of other news organizations, was the illustrated fantasy vision from Playboy and Virgin Galactic of the ultimate pleasure palace, or in this case wheel-shaped space station, going around the world more »

Feb 192012
Philosophy of Physics: A Nobel Laureate's glimpse into the future

(First in a series of interviews speculating on life 100 years from now.) A faint trail of beeps from the sky in the mid-20th century saved Anthony Leggett from a career in classical philosophy. Those beeps led him instead to a Nobel Prize in physics in the first decade of the 21st century, awarded to more »