Monday, January 18, 2010

Potpourri CXV

Nick Skytland posted this link, and I rather liked it. It's about communicating your passion--why you do what you do--and how you communicate that to others. It works for space advocates or anyone else, I believe. I passed it along to the amazing Dr. OZMG. I'll be interested to see what she makes of it.

And from the damned-if-we-do-damned-if-we-don't files, the Down Under Defense Expert (DUDE) forwards this story from the UK Telegraph reporting that France is accusing the U.S. of "occupying" Haiti as part of our efforts to feed and stabilize the country. Gad.
Otherwise, this evening I'm trying to sort out my morning notes for the novel I've been writing at 0545 most mornings. I skipped this weekend because I needed a break. I figure as long as I devote time to getting work done, I can safely say I'm writing.

I don't know if it's smart or giving it away or whatever to talk about what I'm writing about, but it's a new era, and the internet has done strange things to the act of constructing communication products. We'll see how I do. I'm not going to give away plot details, but I will share what sorts of things I'm investigating and what progress I'm making. Someone else could take the same elements and create something completely different. That's why multiple people can make money writing the same type of fiction.

I'm looking at a story of the near future (25-50 years from now), focused primarily on the planet Mars, though other locations could be brought into the mix as well. I can draw upon the knowledge I've gained writing public papers, presentations, and pronouncements for Ares, but also extrapolate from the action going on in the private sector. I like to have at least a fiction writer's knowledge of what I'm talking about, so I've got some research to do on a variety of topics, even if it's just for that "telling detail" that lets SF fans know that I've done my homework. These topics include:
  • Mars chemistry/dust
  • Lunar chemistry/dust
  • Mars geography
  • Astronaut psychology
  • Mars exploration and landing vehicles, as well as outpost habitats and other structures
  • Spacesuits
  • Space physiology
  • Web 2.0/3.0
  • Mission control operations

So those are just some of the topics I've got to be smart on, never mind all the other little fiddly bits that will flesh out my characters and my "world." There are other things I want to investigate over the course of this story:

  • Changing/overcoming the typical NASA model of crew makeup from the "two engineers and two scientists in a tin can."
  • I'm interested in electronic media and how it affects how people socialize. I've noticed behaviors and changes in myself that have come about only through electronic media, and others that have been improved or made worse through text/data alone. How would such media affect astronauts 45 million miles from home?
  • In addition to the concepts I mentioned in my first entry, I am curious about the philosophical, cultural, and even spiritual aspects of human beings living on other worlds. How would the world's leading civilizations react to its citizens being "out there?" I'm actually writing about Americans, but I can at least touch on some of the international aspects of things.

I know, it's a lot to cover. I might end up doing this as a series of short stories. Fun to experiment, anyway.

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