Tag Archives: Elder Blood Saga

Science Fiction Technology

(Image from CERN (modified): Here)

Hello again folks,

I’ve been writing a lot lately, and a fair bit of that has been on some pretty serious topics. As such I want to take a step back for a moment, and write what I will consider a “just for fun.” post.

It should come as no surprise to anyone here that I am big time sci-fi buff, as well as a science fiction writer. Shameless plug; have you had the chance to check out my books? They are available on Amazon for Kindle as well as print for $2.99 – $11.99. You can also get them for $10 (includes shipping) from my Etsy Shop, and have them SIGNED!

Now that the plug is out of the way, today I want talk about some of the technology that inspired a lot of the ideas I use in my books.

Fusion Power

As my books take place in the the 24th century, the primary source of power for most cities, colonies, and starships is fusion power. For those that are unfamilar, fusion is a kind of nuclear reaction that fuses together smaller atoms into larger ones; and releases a crap-load of energy in the process. As the Wikipedia article on fusion power points out, it is the process that fuels stars;

The fusion reaction normally takes place in a plasma of deuterium and tritium (hydrogen isotopes) heated to millions of degrees. In stars, gravity contains these fuels. Outside of a star, the most researched way to confine the plasma at these temperatures is to use magnetic fields. The major challenge in realising fusion power is to engineer a system that can confine the plasma long enough at high enough temperature and density.”

There is a few important points I want to highlight here, because they will be important as we go forward. The first is the fact that nuclear fusion takes place in a plasma, which is the fourth state of matter. Plasma is basically a highly ionized gas, and is found in nature as things like lightning, and stars. Neon lights are also plasma-based.

The other important part here is that, aside from gravity, plasmas can be shaped and contained by electromagnetic fields. This is the property that has allowed countless numbers of fusion experiments to take place on Earth.

Because some of these fusions reactors look really awesome, I wanted to just post a few of them here as examples;

NSTX Reactor, a tokamak style reactor;

(Image from Wikipedia)

Wendelstein7 Reactor, under construction;

(Image from Wikipedia)

I hope you can why some of these experiments inspired me. They look like something straight out of a science fiction movie! When I imagined the power reactors on my ships and planets, I pictured things like the NSTX reactor.

But you might be wondering to yourself, why fusion? Not only is it a staple of science fiction, it gives a rather efficient means of creating energy on a starship. All of my ships and cities require electrical power, and fusion represents one of the best way to do that.

Can you imagine the power of small star to power a city or a ship? I can, and that’s why I went with fusion. Plus, many of my ships I also imagined would have supplementary solar panels and others means to create power as well. Let’s talk about that for a moment.

Power Plant Design

Alright, so we established that fusion reactors are at the heart of my ships and colonies. These systems create all the power and energy my ships and cities need to thrive. But let’s take a closer look at how they do that.

Like our own Sun, a fusion reactor would create two very important resources; light and heat. The heat is probably the most notable of the two. But how do we turn a sustainable fusion reaction into electrical power? The answer is in steam turbines, just like nuclear (fission) power plants use on Earth.

(Image from Here)

I want you to look at the image above, and imagine that this is a fusion reactor instead of the fission one pictured. The reactor core would be pretty similar in function, and still create quite a bit of heat. The rest of the cooling and electrical system would work pretty much the same way. The heat would be ran through a coolant, which would create steam, which would turn the turbine in order to make electrical power.

But instead of the electricity going into a city, it would be fed back into the ship. That electricity would be distributed via an inner ship electrical network, and probably also stored in some kind of battery system.

Another important aspect of the function would be the cooling system, which could also be hooked into the water circulation systems. That way, you could have things like on board plumbing, and hot water too. I imagined these systems would be a lot like what we see on modern ocean cargo ships.

(A system for liquid natural gas.)

Hall Thruster

Alright, with power systems out of the way, I want to talk a bit about what inspired my designs for propulsion in my books. The short answer is the technology behind both the Hall Thruster, and the technology used at the Large Hadron Collider at Cern. We will start with the Hall Thruster.

(Image from NASA)

So, you saw the picture of the thruster above, but you might be wondering how exactly a Hall Thruster works? For that we turn to Wikipedia;

In spacecraft propulsion, a Hall-effect thruster (HET) is a type of ion thruster in which the propellant is accelerated by an electric field. Hall-effect thrusters trap electrons in a magnetic field and then use the electrons to ionize propellant, efficiently accelerate the ions to produce thrust… “ 

In short, Hall Thrusters function by accelerating an ionized propellant as exhaust to create thrust. Most of these ionized propellants are in the forms of plasmas, often from noble gases such as Xenon. You see, I said that fusion plasma thing would be important.

In addition to creating power for ships in my books, the fusion reactor is also the source for ready-made plasma. This plasma, being heavily ionized, is then accelerated through a futuristic version of a Hall Thruster in order to create thrust.

However, it must be said that current Hall Thrusters are relatively weak in thrust department. There has been a lot of improvements over the years. For example, the recent work into the X3 thruster has produced the highest thrust level to date.

All that said. I had to imagine something more advanced (about 3 centuries), and a little bit bigger. That is where the inspiration from the Large Hadron Collider comes in.

CERN

(Image from CERN, found here)

The Large Hadron Collider is the largest particle accelerator in the world, and is found at the European research complex at CERN. The accelerator itself is huge, at 27 kilometers in length. It is “big science” in every sense of the word, and has cost billions of dollars from sources across the globe.

The purpose of the LHC is to accelerator particles to nearly the speed of light, and smash them together. It’s designed to probe the deepest mysterious of our universe, and is a sheer monster of scientific discovery and engineering. It should come as no surprise that it inspired the propulsion systems in my universe. Hey, if you want to power everything from small fighters to huge interstellar battleships; you have to go big.

While their function is not exactly the same, both the Hall Thruster and the LHC use electromagnetic fields to accelerate either ionized plasma, or elementary particles. As such, assuming three centuries worth of innovation and plenty of writer liberties; the LHC and the Hall Thruster provide the inspiration for my propulsion systems.

In addition to requiring a lot of electrical power (courtesy of the fusion reactor), those systems would also be funneling extremely heated plasmas. That means all my engine systems have extensive coolant and heat dissipation methods. These are on full display in my fifth book; Of Origins and Endings.

Do you want to know what other technologies inspire my fiction? Feel free to ask!

Thanks for reading!

Sources/References;

https://www.space.com/38444-mars-thruster-design-breaks-records.html

https://home.cern/topics/large-hadron-collider

https://home.cern/about/engineering/pulling-together-superconducting-electromagnets

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokamak

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_power

https://phys.org/news/2017-01-fusion-power-limitless-energy.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hall-effect_thruster

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New Book Release! Of Origins and Endings! Free Book Raffle!

Hello there folks!

It’s been a little bit since I had a post here, but now you know why! My fifth book is now out and available! $11.99 for paperback and $2.99 for Kindle!

You can find it on Amazon here!

In addition, I am running a raffle for a free signed copy of one of my books. You can find the details over at my shop’s Facebook page, which you can find here!

Here is a short rundown on how to enter the raffle;

  1. Like my business Facebook page, The White Wolf.
  2. Share the post concerning the raffle. (It is pinned to the top of the page!)
  3.  Comment a number in the comments of that post.

On Friday June 2nd, I will be rolling two ten-sided dice to determine a number, 1 through 100. I won’t even know the number before that point! The winner of the free book will be the one that guesses the closest number in the comments! If two (or more) people are equally close, I will send out more than one free signed copy!

 Synopsis;

“All the crumbs have led to this point. There is only one path ahead. Niel and his companions have returned to civilized space, only to find that things have changed a great deal since they left. They know their destination, but it is getting there that is going to be the hard part. The last few questions still have yet to be answered… What is Ina’s role in all of this, the strange little remainder of a long dead civilization? Who is The Lady, the high-powered AI that has been riding around in Niel’s head? What is her purpose in all of this, and what will her last memories reveal about her? Ultimately, the questions are of the origins and future of humanity itself. Where have they come from, and what will be their fate in the days to come?”


Updates 3/30/17

Hello there folks!

So, I haven’t had the time to post a proper blog here recently, as I powered through my most recent manuscript. It has finally come to an end at 81,000 words! Woohoo! I feel really accomplished!

It was a really fun story to write. It gave me the opportunity to play with a fair number of spiritual concepts in a nice and safe fictional setting. I also got to do a fair bit of world building for the late 21st century, so that was a lot of fun too. The whole book was designed around a cyberpunk/cybershaman world. Playing with spiritual concepts in a high-tech world, that is also fun.

Sounds a lot like life? Right.

So that manuscript is out of the way, so I hope I can find some time to get back on a regular posting schedule here. I missed you folks, and I certainly have some ideas I want to explore.

On the topic of blog posts, I have got my first one up over at Paganbloggers.com! You can check that out here. The first one is only an introduction piece, so it might be old news to some of you here. All the same, keep an eye on that. I will be doing original content over there, and will likely be diving deeper than I have here on some of my regular topics.

Also, I am working away on finishing up the fifth and last book for the Elder Blood Saga. It even has a title; Of Origins and Endings.  Have you seen the concept art yet?

That is just a taste! I am really excited about this series coming to an end. Not that I want to see it end, but I am excited that I am finishing up my first full series. Nearly half a million words all told.

I have also started a shamanic intensive. I am only a couple of lessons in, and my mind is already running. I am hoping I may be able to write about some of that here.

Thanks for reading!


Kindle Discounts!

Hello there folks,

I am working away at getting some more content up here that doesn’t involve marketing. Research takes time and effort, it is a labor of love. It really is. I have new pieces come for both my “Walking with the Ancestors” and “Walking with the Spirits” series. Those are forthcoming, but I have not had the time to work on them lately. A lot of project. More is coming, I promise.

But in the mean time, have you looked at my books on Kindle lately? Every single one of them is now only $2.99!

That’s right, EVERY SINGLE ONE!

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Book 1

Book 2

Book 3

Book 4

Also, there are print versions available for each books as well. That information can be found on the links above, and also on my Publications page.

As always, thanks for reading! I hope to have new stuff for you all soon!

 


New Release! Of Fury and Machines!

It has been over a year since I have released a new book, as I have been working on updating the old ones. But here it is folks!

 

Fury_and_Machines_Small

Synopsis:

“The journey is not over… Niel now suffers from chronic headaches, bleeding, and blackouts. Whatever was transferred into his head on Skog is killing him. Slowly. Now, Niel and his companions must travel to Forandre, a world of fire and illegal genetic experimentation. On this world, Niel will have to face new challenges in order to unlock the secrets that are trapped in his mind.”

This is the third book in my Elder Blood Saga, and I am really happy how it turned out! It is available on Amazon for $11.99 for the paperback, or $4.99 for the Kindle!

Go check it out, maybe even buy it, yeah? If you are feeling really ambitious, you might even enjoy it enough to leave a review. Because, we author’s thrive on this thing called feedback…

You can find it here!


Of Ice and Darkness, a Self Review

Overall 3.5 (maybe 4) out of 5.

I wanted to sit down and discuss my most recent release for a little bit. As far as purely technical points are concerned, the new cover simply dwarfs the last one by comparison. It is beautiful, and there is little more to say on that matter. Also, I went through the actual formatting of the book a couple more times, so overall I would say the appearance and overall aesthetic of the book has notably increased.

From a narrative point of view, I think that for this book the overall narrative quality has increased as well. While “Of Shadow and Steel” began life as a bunch of smaller narratives, this book steps away from that structure quite a bit. While it still retains a little of that feel, overall the narrative is more seamless and a lot better structured. It flows together a lot better, and this, I think, makes the book that much easier to read.

In this book I continue to build on the ideas from the first book, and there is definitely threads that tie the two books together, which make perfect sense considering it is the second book in a series. If there wasn’t anything tying the two books together, I don’t think they could really be considered a series. As such, I feel a many of the ideas and themes from the first book gained a lot more depth and are generally more well rounded.

This applies to the characters as well. One of my problems with the first book is that all the characters seemed a little flat, as did many of the ideas and themes. There was just a lot left unsaid and unexplored in my opinion. While Of Ice and Darkness introduces a whole new set of characters, I personally feel they are much more human, and a lot less flat. The new set of character just feel a lot more complex, and a lot more alive to me.

It should come as no surprise that a lot of the themes in my book circle around things like animism, ecology, and the environment. There is an element of all these things in everything I write, because these are things that are of great interest to me. For any regular readers of this blog, that is probably the biggest “duh!” statement. Still, all these things creep into my books, along with thoughts about society, humanity, and where we are going as a species. Also, there are questions and explorations of technology, which will become even more central in later books. I have never really considered myself a “hard” science fiction writer, and I am sure a big part of that comes from my background in a social science. Don’t get me wrong, I love science! I think it is an amazing and wonderful way of understanding the world. At the same time, I like to write about things a little less scientific, things like beliefs and folklore, mythology and religion. I do at least attempt to keep my novels scientifically grounded, but there comes a point where you have to take liberties, or have to explore beyond the realms known by science. That’s why it’s called science fiction folks, and what kind of writer would I be if I didn’t take liberties with reality every now and again?

It is often said that practice makes perfect, and I really think Of Ice and Darkness shows that to be true. I have come a long way as a writer, and I have had more time to develop the characters as well as the central narrative and themes, and this is really reflected in Of Ice and Darkness.

In addition, I have come to understand more about my own “process” of writing. I often describe my writing style as “organic.” When I first set off to write the Elder Blood Sage, which is going to be 5 books before I am done, I didn’t really have a master plan. I didn’t plan out the narrative, hell I didn’t even have an outline. I started out with just a character name. I didn’t even have a sketch of that character. I knew nothing about them, but eventually all of this would be revealed to me. In many ways as a writer, I am also a reader, and a reporter in a way. The story unfolds its own way, and I am discovering my creation as I write it.

Well, as I keep writing the character develops, and then the plot starts to develop, and then the whole of the literary worlds start to form. A character runs into a problem, or runs into a concept. Then I have to flesh out that concept, and tie it back into the story. As I keep writing, more ideas spawn more characters, which bring in more things to write about.

The entire story starts to take shape like a giant tree, with one part branching off and growing into something greater. Some of the branches are outside the “core” of the story, so they extend beyond the scope of the narrative. Other branches grow away for a while, and suddenly reappear and are knotted back into the “core” of the story, only to branch away at a later time. Like Celtic Knotwork, a great tapestry, or some huge web, the story forms into a complexity that becomes something greater than any of its parts.

And it all started from something very small, just the “seed” of a story. A character, and the smallest hint of something greater. With 4 books currently written for the Elder Blood Saga, I can tell you that that little seed has turned into a forest. I have one last book to write, and I am really hoping I can bring the fruits of my creation back together to see where this all ends.

Or if it all ends. I cannot really say what form it will take.

If you are at all interested in Of Ice and Darkness, it is available for sale on Amazon, and can be found under the “publications” tab.

Thanks for reading!