Space is Overwhelming but Neat

 

I am currently reading “Persepolis Rising” and I have been hit with two thoughts. I wonder how much the authors have ever thought of them. If you follow my blog, you know I am constantly thinking and coming up with creative ideas, some in the form of stories and artwork, some in the form of unique analysis of other’s work.

The first idea stems from the series as a whole. Early on in the series, there were a lot of references to crossing into different territories like Mars’ space. However, how do you denote territory in a multi-planet/moon society?  Much of our concepts of boundaries come from our life here on earth where we think in two dimensions and relatively fixed features.  As we move out into the solar system with its vast expanses of space, we will need to seriously update our ideas of borders.  If we stuck to the old mindset for borders, then the orbit of Mars’ would define their space within a certain range nearer and further from the sun.  Earth’s boundaries would be similarly defined and would be totally encompassed by Mars’ borders.  In addition, certain distances above and below the planets orbit need to be claimed as well.  The problem for Mars is that their territory would be inconceivably large to administer.  Even Earth’s much smaller territory would be a challenge.

Now on the other hand, you chose to make the territory boundaries connected to the physical planet, then you have to deal with orbital mechanics.  There will be times in a planets orbit where the physical boundary space defined for their territory would have no bearing at all on the trade of a competing planet with respect to the same trading partners.  For example, if Mars was on the opposite side of the sun from Earth and Ganymede then their sovereignty would come into play between these two points.  How do you enforce tariffs?  What I am saying is that some of the concepts for territories mentioned in the Expanse series may be incorrect or at the very least need much more definition than I noted in the stories.  The only factor that I have left out that may come into play yet is orbital mechanics in space flight, but that does not fully negate my argument.   Just something to think about as you read the series.

The second thought I had pertains to the appearance of the sphere on board “The Heart of the Tempest” toward the end of  “Persepolis Rising”.  Their was much emphasis placed on the fact that as the ship moved, the sphere stayed exactly where it was relative to the inside of the ship.  My earth bound thinking said “wow, how could the aliens manage to keep the effect in should precise control from presumably a great distance”?  I was thinking of it as aiming some physical manifestation onto a ship in rough seas and managing to keep it precisely placed from all the walls, floor, and ceiling.  I felt it was nothing like doing the same on dry land.

Then I thought again.  The challenge of aiming and placing a manifestation on or in a planet would be the same if you step back to the scale of a solar system and beyond.  A planet is really nothing more than a giant spaceship.  Again, I was seeing that I needed to change my frame of reference when thinking about the implications brought about by the authors.  This is what science fiction does best.  It makes you think beyond the normal realms of life into the vast unknown.  Let me know what you think.

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Where’s the Dramamine?

I am a big fan of Science Fiction, if you have not guessed it, and one of the big story hooks is the “big dumb object”.  This is used to cover the various stories that use a large mysterious object, be it an asteroid or giant ship, as the focus of the tale.  As for me, I have read many stories that have contained large mysterious objects that were still very good reads, since each author brings their own quirks to the story line.  One of the creations that falsl into this trope is the Dyson sphere.

A Dyson sphere is an enormous hollow sphere that encases a star where people are living on the inner surface that faces the star.  The living space is just ridiculous compared to a normal planet.  Star Trek the Next Generation did a credible take on the idea in the episode “Relics”.  Another BDO in past and present science fiction is the idea  of a ring world.  First introduced and written about by Larry Niven then utilized in the Halo franchise of video games.

What got me to thinking, and the reason for this post, is a flaw in the idea of a Dyson sphere.  One of the reasons given for creating a Dyson sphere is the large living surface on the inside of the sphere around the star.  The flaw that I have recently perceived is that there is no way, other than the writing gimmick of artificial gravity, to create a uniform gravity effect over the entire inner surface.  If you do not resort to a gimmick, then you are left trying to simulate gravity through centrifugal force by spinning the sphere.  That is how Niven’s Ringworld creates its illusion of gravity.  The Ringworld spins around its sun like a hula hoop.

The problem with trying this approach with a Dyson sphere is that wherever you place the axis of spin, you are going to have a greater centrifugal force around the equator of spin and less at the poles created by the axis.  There is no way to spin the sphere such that no axis is created or does not result in the creation of an equator or poles, which would effectively turn the sphere into a ring as far as comfortable living space goes.  This is my thought anyway, let me know what you think.

Expanding my View of the Expanse

I finished “Babylon’s Ashes” by James S. A. Corey last night and have had a thought about the structure of the series.  The Expanse series has been set to end in three more books for a total of nine, which are collectively the Expanse Series.  To my mind though, I am seeing a structure of a trilogy of trilogy.  The first three books (Leviathan Wakes, Caliban’s War, Abaddon’s Gate) deal primarily with the chaos created by testing and using the proto-molecule, eventually finding out the true purpose of the alien material.

The current three books (Cibola Burn, Nemesis Games, Babylon’s Ashes) that I just finished deal with the true fall out of the century old injustices that have created the sociopolitical environment at the beginning of the series.  The two major powers have gotten distracted by the crisis created when the proto-molecule was released on a large scale, leaving themselves open for attack by forces previously held in check.  In addition, during their quest to understand and fight the crisis, they blindly stomped across the solar system without a care for the third party, the most wounded, Belters.  Their arrogance will cost them greatly by  the end of the second trilogy.

I have not read Persepolis Rising but my thought and hope is that the last three books will fulfill the plot line raised in the first three books.  Early on, the writers outlined an alien race of supreme intelligence that found itself battling an unknown enemy wiping out entire solar systems.  By opening the gateways created by the proto-molecule, humans have reopened the galaxy to whatever destroyed the makers of the proto-molecule.  The final three books (Persepolis Rising, Tiamat’s Wrath, Unnamed book),or final trilogy in my mind, should finish this over-arcing plot and bring the series to a conclusion.  Let me know what you think.

A Wonderful Surprise came with my Purchase

Cassie & Tonk Children’s Book

 

Extra Item with Order

 

I have been wanting to post about this for several weeks now but life has just been getting in the way.  I sent out for the above book I found out about at devianart.com under the artist under the tag name chasingartwork.  I decided it was time to try supporting an artist as I would like to some day be supported so sent away for the book about two months ago.

I was beginning to worry about the order when it was a week or two beyond when it should have arrived and was about to send a message when it finally showed up.  It could not have come at a better time.  I had a particularly rough work day and came home late.  Well, it wasn’t long before I was ripping the package open and enjoying my purchase.  But the joy was not over yet because, just inside the cover, there was the poster of their interpretation of Aku, one of my favorite characters in Samurai Jack.  Signed no less.  I seriously love the color scheme of the poster as well as the artwork.  If you get a chance, I recommend checking out their deviantart page.

How do I Love Thee…

How do you know that you have a good book in your hands?  Well, for me it is when I look up to see that I am 200 pages in when I could have sworn I only started reading a minute ago and it is now dark outside.  You also have this angry feeling because you have to put the book down to go to bed and go to work tomorrow.  That is where I was this weekend when I started reading “Nemesis Games” by James S. A. Correy.

My 2017 Reading List

Here is the final round-up of the books I have read this year.   I think I may have missed a few and my reading habit of late is next to nothing or else I would have more to report.  Luckily, many do have reviews on my Librarything page.

 

The Iron Tactician                               Alastair Reynolds                               Free Arc

Caliban’s War                                     James S. A. Corey                               New

Shadows of Self                                 Brandon Sanderson                            New

Nemesis                                               Louise Cooper                                     New

Dragon’s Bane                                    Barbara Hambley                                Reread

Dragon’s Shadow                               Barbara Hambley                                Reread

Knight of the Demon Queen              Barbara Hambley                                Reread

Dragon Star                                         Barbara Hambley                                Reread

The Bands of Mourning                      Brandon Sanderson                            New

Abaddon’s Gate                                 James S. A. Corey                               New

At the Speed of Light                         Simon Morden                                    Free Arc

The Immortals War                             Leah Cutter                                         Free Arc

The Way of Kings                               Brandon Sanderson                            Free E-book from Tor.com

2 DEE                                                 Robin Wyatt Dunn                             Free Arc

Cibola Burn                                         James S. A. Corey                               New

Haunted Futures                                 Salome Jones                                       Free Arc

Compostela (Tesseracts 20)                Spider Robinson                                 Free Arc

The Heart of What Was Lost              Tad Williams                                       New

As You Wish                                      Carry Elwes                                        New

The Bone Hunters                               Steven Erikson                                    New

Bad Rock Beat Down                                    Michael Prelee                         Free Arc

Tooth and Talon                                  Alex Hernandez                                  Free Arc-Current Read

Positivity From an Unexpected Source (from my Patreon page)

Most of my adult life I have been considered to be a negative person.  If you look at a lot of my earlier posts you may find it easy to go along with this point of view; even I have believed it.  However, if you take time to read enough of the short stories I have posted on my Patreon page, you will find a surprising reality.  Many of my stories have up beat endings.

Some spoilers ahead, “Dragon Dreams”, while full of battle and strife, is essentially a dream come true for Jason Conners.  He becomes a creature that can turn his creativity into a reality through dreams.  What writer/artist would not love that.  The story “Cast the First Stone” deals with the end of Nazi Germany in a very brutal and graphic way with the death of Hitler, yet it holds out hope for us all with the potential for redemption.

My artwork almost always focuses of the beauty of life.  “Quiet Strength – Silent Vulnerability” deals with the potential man has to destroy the majestic tiger.  However, the image is very beautiful and vibrant and the symbolism used expresses my love for space, the stars, the planets, and big cats.  “Rodeo” deals with suicide and Hell, but the story that accompanies this painting ultimately is about hope and salvation.  So while even I sometimes believe that I am a negative person, my stories and artwork paint a different picture.