Sunday, October 8, 2017

Learning to Second Draft

So, I’m about to start the 15th chapter of Pursuit in Time on the second draft. I have to say, I’m learning a lot. You see I didn’t really think much of the second draft. In my mind it was just editing. There’s a reason behind that thinking. Yes, it’s because I’m so self absorbed, you might say, that I thought my first draft was perfect, that is, until I read it. Oh, the frailty of the mind, or is it the power to fool ourselves? It is a curse or a blessing? I say to you, where it comes to creating, it’s a blessing. You have to have a magnanimous personality, at least on the inside, to make a magnanimous creation.

Did I digress? No, I suppose not. Back to the second draft then, shall we? So, in the process of chipping away at my ignorance, the process of the second draft started to show me that the first draft was like the foundation, the framing, the plumbing, and the electrical work of a house. In contrast, the second draft was like the insulation and siding, the drywall, the carpeting, the paint, and the roofing which completes the house. I suppose the beta readers and editor rewrites are the punch lists.

This is my first novel, as I've said before. When it's ready to be published, I plan to publish the second edition of Mels Shorts at the same time. That way, you readers may read both together.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

August Update


This summer, I have been focusing still on Pursuit In Time. I finished the first draft and went onto the second. I was very happy to get to my word count goal of just over 82000 words. I figure that’s not bad for a first first draft of a science fiction novel.

Of course, Pursuit in Time is not just a science fiction novel. It has elements of Judeo Christian mythology. It also deals with race on a basic level. Then, of course, there is sexuality. You didn’t think I was going to leave that out, did you?

What is Pursuit in Time about? Well it basically deals with the issue of Mel which was introduced in Mel’s Shorts. The book introduced new characters and revisits old ones. It will also tie in all the short stories of Mel’s Shorts one way or another.

Another project I have been working on is an interactive fiction  work called Max’s Adventure. Max is a character that is introduced in Pursuit in Time. Max’s Adventure is an interactive novel game developed in Twine. You get to play Max, and you start off not knowing anything and having to discover where you are, what you are, what your predicament is, and how to solve all the puzzles to save the day.

Unlike Pursuit in Time, Max’s Adventure is a YA work. Besides situational and social puzzles, there are math type puzzles built into the game. So, it should be a lot of fun.

Why am I making an interactive fiction game? Well, my background is in software development in the business world. VB if you must know. Sometimes I get an itch to code. Finding a productive way to scratch that itch is important to me. Otherwise, I’m just coding nonsense for myself. I think Twine is a good platform both from a writer’s standpoint and a coder’s standpoint. It is also a great platform from a user/reader standpoint since it runs on all browsers, including those on smartphones.

So, Pursuit in Time and Max’s Adventure are in the works.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Future Humans

Imagine what humans will be doing in 100 years from now. You might think that 100 years is a long ways off, but it wasn’t that long ago.

If you think of how things were in 1917, World War I was being fought in Europe. In that war, tanks and airplanes were used as weapons for the first time. It was also the last major war to use trench warfare. Chemicals were also used as a weapon in that war.


It was a time of changes. Monarchs feared losing their power to republics, and nobility feared losing money and land to industrialists. The phone became an indispensable technology as well as the motorized vehicle, cars and trucks. The horse and carriage were being used less and less. Highrises were being built thanks to steel, and women marched for the right to vote. Cameras captured daily life instead of painters. Motion pictures were under development. Electricity replaced whale oil burning lamps. Family farms still covered the prairies, but they started to get their own electricity to add to their growing technology that included steam tractors. It was also the era of the industrial tycoons.

All of these things are clearly the basis of our United States today. So, the world if today is the basis of the world of 100 years from now.


In that world, I imagined humans venturing out beyond Earth into the exploration of the inner solar system because of our commercial space efforts today. I'm talking human explorers, not robotic just systems. I'm also talking about a colony on Mars, albeit embryonic. And I'm talking about mining. Asteroid, moon, and planetary mining and ore processing taking place routinely. In all these situations, humans and machines work very hard together doing dirty work. Such work I showed in the story Letters to Olivia in Mels Shorts, set in 2110, where young people are recruited to do hard labor on a processing ore space station near the Asteroid Belt. What made these young people take a job like this? Well it's quite simple, there was a lack of jobs on Earth. It's a classic situation that repeats itself throughout history, bad conditions at home make people move away forever to a new promise land. What's the promised land for Olivia and her fellow crewmates? Ah, that's something I'm keeping under my hat for now.

Cheers.

EC Holm

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Villareal

Rogue planets are curious astronomical anomalies. They occur after some peculiar orbital and/or gravitational circumstances between the planet and its sun which results with them being flung out into space ever to wander the darkness.


In Mels Shorts, I take you to a town of purple people called Villareal. That town is on a rogue planet called Taiera. When civilization started on the planet, it was happily orbiting its sun, but a neutron star passed by that particular solar system and disrupted the equilibrium. The planet got flung off out of its solar orbit and into interstellar space.


The governments of Taiera were able to get in contact with advanced alien civilisations with whom had limited contact before. Those aliens came to the planet's aid and setup heating technology so that the people wouldn't freeze. They also provided fusion reactors and geothermal technology for power. What they didn't provide was light.


Trade agreements were made. The planet had to get into the mushroom and fungus production business. Exporting mushrooms and fungus as a raw material brought what they needed to feed their livestock and themselves. They also gained wealth they never had before. Yet they maintained their cultural identity and way of life.


The natural fauna and flora mostly died off, but there was a large conservation effort to take as many species as possible off world, and either store them, by various methods, or keep them in conservation parks on other planets.


The planet's population survived certain death with the help of the aliens and their trade agreements. Sometimes, you just can't go it alone in this universe.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dimensions

Mel’s Shorts and the novel I’m currently writing, Pursuit in Time, mentions dimensions and dimensional creatures. Now, I'm no theoretical physicist, but I am aware of M theory and that it mentions 11 dimensions. How was I supposed to use that in a novel? That many dimensions seemed too big. Especially when you consider that the limits of one dimension are from minus infinity to plus infinity on any scale.

So, I did what all pragmatist do, I made assumptions. “Heresy!” you might say. OK, fine. You try to create a world without assumptions then. Good luck to you, my friend.

So here is how my assumptions went. Since we live in 3 dimensions and use a 4th for movement, that's time, I felt confident enough to create 3 realms: the Physical, the Ethereal, and the Eternal. Then I divided the dimensions into each. “You numskull. There's 11 dimension, not 12. So, the dimensions don't divide evenly,” you might say. OK, I cheated. There, are you happy now? I made the Ethereal and the Eternal share one dimension, time. Now this time is not the same time dimension that the Physical realm has. In fact it works on a different scale. This allows the Ethereals to pick and choose what time they can enter a Physical Realm.

“This is beginning to sound confusing. I need a visual aid,” you might say. OK, I will capitulate with Venn diagrams.

This first one depicts the basic relationship of the three 3 realms. Of course the rectangle, as in all Venn diagrams, represents everything that is. In this case, the rectangle represents everything in our multiverse.
Simple Realm Relationship
That was very simplistic and has little use for a story-line. In the next diagram, I used the number 5 to represent multiplicity or infinity. The diagram quickly gets crowded, as you can see.

Comples Realm Relationship


You can immediately see that there are many Eternal Realms that don't communicate with each other. Within each Eternal Realm, there are many Ethereal Realms which also each contain many Physical Realms.


"So what does all this mumbo jumbo all mean?" you might ask.  A Physical Realm represents something like our universe. If you take time to think about it, you will see how enormous this construct is and how endless the story telling possibilities are.

If you consider M theory and this little brainstorming exercise, you might come to the conclusion that theological texts are insufficient to describe what's really out there. That's understanding that theological texts go way beyond anything described by observed science whether you are a believer or think that such things are mere fantasy. We have yet to conceive the limits of this reality.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ships

SpaceX has unveiled its large spaceship to carry 100 people to Mars. That's quite an engineering feat to pull off with our current technology. They are doing it and outsmarting the smartest smartypants of this most-smarts-than-anyone-has-seen planet, NASA. *Phew*

UES Encounter
I, of course, just dream up of a spaceship and plant it in your mind, like the UES Encounter for instance. It appears in the novel I'm writing, Pursuit in Time. I don't think I'm spoiling anything by talking about the ship.

If you take our current tech, and think about how much advancement we will have in say 70 years, you might geek out and think of really cool stuff. Unfortunately, most things will be quite the same. There will be advancement in materials, and some other technology, but we humans tend to only advance areas we are interested in and leave alone those we are not. So if we apply some conservatism, we might get a more realistic picture.

So, UES Encounter was an international project set to launch around 2113. It was a response to SETI successfully making contact with aliens via radio waves years earlier. Thus communications started with an alien race. A language was learned through these communications and technology was shared. Then an agreement was made to meet.

The meeting place was in a neutral area in outer space. The meeting also seemed to be a test for humans because it was 2 light years from Earth. That's right. It was half way to Alpha Centauri.

Nobody had ever left the Solar System. They had only gone as far as the asteroid belt. That was for mining. It was unprecedented to send a crew into interstellar space. The only data they had on it was from the Voyagers and other unmanned probes.

As news spread on Earth about aliens, groups and factions protested. They said they didn't want aliens on Earth. Others claimed aliens had already been to Earth. There was a lot of social turmoil. The mission went ahead on schedule.

The Encounter itself had a modular design, but it wasn’t like any ship that humans had ever made before. Some of its systems were ideas from alien knowledge. It needed to push speed limits to close to the speed of light. To that end, it needed very large plasma ion engines with a hybrid reactor powering it.

Fusion reactors had finally come online. The hybrid reactor was a combo of fission and fusion by using an extraordinary isotope called cyclematter. Using the cyclematter, the two reactors were able to feed off of each other’s waste. Thus creating an immense amount of energy in a short time. It was perfect for a space ship application.

The ship needed to accelerate at around 30 Gs to reach its speed and distance goals. Of course that type of acceleration would not be good on the crew. So an inertia damper system which dubbed as an artificial gravity system was devised. This system was also the first of its kind since Earth ships had no need of such devices. It relied entirely on magnetism. A strong magnetic field kept everything headed in the right direction, even bio matter. Before you ask, the electronics were shielded from the magnetism. This system also had a subsystem that shielded the crew from radiation.

For long range communication with Earth, the ship relied on a unique system that used quantum entanglement. This allowed instant communication with Earth no matter where the ship was in space.

Other than that, most systems on the Encounter were pretty much based on the ones we have today: water recycling, air filtration, carbon dioxide management, EVA equipment, tough outer skin as a physical shield,

The ship was designed for one trip and one trip only, but it would log the longest distance ever in human history. Of course, that’s assuming all goes well.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Liking Longevity

My brother died at 51 of cancer. His perspective was acceptance, but there was sadness. My mother in law is 92, and she is wondering why she is still living. If you talk to a teenager, they think anyone over 30 is ancient. If you talk to a person in their middle age, you will, most probably, hear a distaste to the idea of living a long life. Somewhere along the line, we have foster a notion that loving a long life is not desirable. Maybe that has something to do with Rock Culture. I don’t know. I don’t share this distaste.

Medical science has been pushing life expectancy over the length of the 20th century. Some medics believe it's probable that people will live to 120. So it seems most people who have jumped the hurdles of being murdered in a bloodbath, dying frivolously in a car crash, get taken abruptly by cancer, or are broken by heart disease, are not prepared for the years ahead of them. Once they get there, they don't know what to do, They tend to live like they always have.

In my opinion, there is no secret to happiness. Just make sure your basic needs are met, and have some constructive fun. Destructive fun should be done in the realm of fiction such as games, shows, and books.

Ah yes, the dark side. Let's delve into that beast a bit, shall we? When we’re at an ‘old age’, it's because we have avoided the physical fulfilment of our dark side. Sure, that's a good thing, ‘cause we are not all light. The dark needs to be fed. We all want to be an Evil Queen, a Darth Vader, or even my character, Mel, once in awhile. Sometimes we fancy the tragic types like a Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll, or a Scarlett O'Hara. I can hear Vincent Price laughing in the background somewhere. The wonders of storytelling allow us to experience these unethical behaviors without the risk of being judged.

We live at the height of the information age. We have audio, video, and text at our literal fingertips. through our phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops, we can access songs, movies, TV show series, e-books, and more.

I would guide your attention to the e-book. Now, e-books have been steadily gaining ground on regular books through the years. I don't think regular books will go away, but I do think that e-book are here to stay. They have their own place in our lives. My point is as we grow older, the advantages of e-book reading become more and more apparent. Tablet technology will only grow in sophistication and application. Wherever you have a tablet, you have an e-book.

Movies are hard to make, so there are only a few of them every year. Same with TV series. But novels are another story. Please, don't pardon the pun. There are a lot of novels out there. Too many, perhaps, to keep up. So I think reading is an ideal pastime for the advanced years. The mind never grows old; it’s forever young.

If you are not a reader, there is no reason you can't become one. Just find a type a book you like and and start. There are plenty of venues online to discuss you book. It's fun.

I don't plan on waiting around for the Grim Reaper to come for me. I plan to give him a chase. Let's see if I can make it to that 120 finish line. I still have a hurdle or two of my own to jump.