Monthly Archives: January 2013

Mars on Iceland, v2.0

Thanks to a cheap promotional airfare and some friends willing to go on a weekend trip to the Arctic north, in the winter, on a lark, I now know what Iceland looks like in the dark.

Something like this…

Midnight at the Mars Colony

…which reminded me of the agricultural bubbles at the Green in In the Shadow of Ares.

In fact, they’re a set of agricultural greenhouses in the town of Hveragerði, and despite their size are each about a tenth as wide and about 1/15th as long as their fictional counterparts.

CLARIFICATION: No, we did not actually go to Iceland on a lark. We used an airplane.


Life Imitates Art (Sorta): Disaster at Xichang

Hmm…without knowing any of the details of this accident (though I do recall it happening), we had planned a similar incident for the prologue of the third book in the series: Disaster at Xichang

The rocket began to rise, and the American engineers in the satellite test room ran out the door. “I got out, turned and ran around the building to my best viewing spot, in time to see the mountain lit from behind, hear the startling rumble and see the rocket emerge,” the diary reads. “But instead of rising vertically for nine seconds and several thousand feet [before starting to arc toward the east] I saw it traveling horizontally, accelerating as it progressed down the valley, only a few hundred feet off the ground. ‘Wrong way!’ I yelled, and for the next few seconds I was frozen in my tracks.”

On the roof, Campbell and others were just as perplexed. “All of a sudden, we looked down the valley and saw this huge cruise missile flying by. Our first reaction was This is really interesting. And our next reaction was Holy shit, we need to get off the roof.

After flying for 22 seconds in the direction of the hotel and residential complex, the 426-ton vehicle crashed into a hillside, most of its propellant still on board. The overstressed payload section with the satellite inside had broken off and plunged to the ground moments earlier.

We were imagining a Chinese version of the Nedelin Disaster, but it looks like they’ve already had one. Looks like we’ll have to imagine something…bigger

Happy New Year

Did you get a Kindle or other e-reader-capable widget or gadget or whoosiwhatsit for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus? Boy, do I have the perfect book for you!

A 2012 Prometheus Award finalist, now only $2.99! What a steal.

And yes, we continue to work on the sequel. One of the downsides to changing jobs in December (along with the holidays, travel, etc.) is that the ensuing chaos disrupted the good progress we had been making. Another two weeks and things should be getting back to normal.

We do now have a working title for it: Ghosts of Tharsis. I’m not entirely happy with this title yet given the resemblance to the title of the bad John Carpenter movie Ghosts of Mars, but it suits the storyline very well (no, there are no literal ghosts in the book; it’s used in this case as a metaphor for secrets similar to but less passive than “skeletons in the closet” — these secrets want out).