Tag Archives: SF

The Teeming Shore

The drunk guy brandished a bottle that had once contained something imported and alcoholic. He looked more confused than belligerent, but he was big enough to potentially be a problem, and anyhow patrons had complained that he was bothering them.

Eric went the one way, and the two bouncers went the other. “Okay dude,” he said, quietly. “Let’s cut that stuff out, shall we?”

The guy muttered something, and waved the bottle back and forth a few times like a club.
“What are you going to do about it?”

“That is such a cliche,” Eric said. “Is that what you want to be? The guy in the movies that everyone is hoping will be kay-oh’ed? Come on. Quit hassling people. Just cut it out. Go for a walk and sober up or something.” Continue reading

Contents Under Pressure

There’s a lot of background research that goes into writing this sort of thing. I received a lot of assistance from people on both Facebook and moonmars.com. In particular I’d like to thank Michel Segeren, Eric Shear, Patrick Ritchie and Richard Trombly pushing me to make it all make sense. The problems that are left are my fault entirely.

You can find a Mars calendar calculator here.

Mars Date 66.04.03 (March 3, 2078) – Jaganathan “Jag” Rangan

Jag and his team were putting the backup pump back together when his phone rang. He glanced down. Shit. Brandon knew they were busy at the desalination plant. He wouldn’t just call.

“Sorry Jag. Bad news.” Brandon Ackerley was the project manager in charge of maintenance of the colony’s water subsystems. “We have a major leak on the pipe.”

The pipe referred to the vast water pipe that carried fluids from Mars’ southern polar icecap to the colony. The cold brine was partially filtered at the pole, but still contained corrosive salts, and leaks, although rare, weren’t unknown.

“Do you know where?” Jag asked.

“We lost pressure too quickly to get a tight fix. Somewhere out by klick 750. Both pipes are out.” Distances on the pipe were measured in kilometers, starting at the colony.

Jag took two breaths before responding.

“We could be out there for a week hunting for that, you know?” Continue reading

The stories of the Mars Colony Administrators Handbook

A while ago I wrote a series of articles about the challenges involved in building a colony on Mars. You can find the first post here if you haven’t read them

I’ve been thinking since then about what the lives of the colonists would actually be like. The articles had a few short sections that play “what if”, but they’re intended to be essays, not fiction.

I’ve started writing some short fiction to try and tell the stories of those colonists. The idea isn’t to write “big” high-concept SF along the lines of Kim Stanley Robinson’s trilogy, but rather to tell small, personal stories about people living in a high-probability version of what the Mars colony could really be like.

I’ll post them here when they’re good and ready, but first I could really use the help of a few people to bounce ideas off of, and to kick my rear end when my writing sucks (probably most of the time). If you’re up for some free (light) editorial labor, in exchange for reading early drafts, please get in touch.

Bulk Hauler

We were discussing the advantages of small payload to LEO rockets on the Lifeboat Foundation’s Facebook page. It doesn’t look like anyone has ever attempted to build a rocket specifically for launching tiny (i.e. 1kg) payloads to orbit. With new off-the-shelf nanosat platforms reaching the market, a cheap launch platform could have a real market among universities – or even wealthy space enthusiasts. I wrote the following short story as a way of illustrating the potential for tiny payloads to go a long way.

Another dump truck backed up to the pit and offloaded a reeking pile of partially rotten vegetables. The yard took up several acres of prime farmland. Two ancient quonset huts stood by half a dozen miniature gantries, where partially completed rockets stood. The place was surrounded by a rather bucolic-looking log fence.

“Okay, run that by me again,” said the reporter. “You’re lifting two pounds at a time, and you’re building a deep space mission? From here?” Continue reading