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Space was at a premium in the Comptoni underwater settlement of Deliverance. Whereas on Earth a submarine pen would be a large spacious structure for a submarine to emerge into, free of the risk of bumping into other vessels, in Deliverance submarines had a very different function. Underneath Comptoni settlements were a series of large one-way tunnels for submarines to travel through as though they were underground trains. They emerged in tiny rooms that looked remarkably like subway stations. Indeed, passenger submarines that ferried Comptonians from one settlement to another ran frequent routes. The submarine carrying our heroes emerged in one such station pen.
Relieved to get out of the cramped conditions of the submarine the group soon observed that Comptoni settlements were not much spacious. The under water city was full of people sitting and sleeping in the corridors. The overcrowding was deplorable and the faces of the people they passed were long pale and sullen.
“Why is this place so over crowded?” asked Kimberley, “the last time I was here it wasn’t like this.” Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Nine”
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Submarines on Earth are almost exclusively for research if they are small, while if they are large they are almost exclusively for warfare. On Proxima Minor the situation is quite different. When the Ferrens and the Comptoni decided they were not going to leave the surface of the planet, but rather dig in to resist the flooding coming their way, for the first time commercial sized freight submarines had a market. Thus the submarine our four adventurers are currently travelling on is not like any submarine found on Earth. It has a small crew quarters, a humble sized engine, and a massive cargo bay. Like all submarines though it is incredibly cramped for the crew. The room our four adventurers were staying in was tiny but incredibly had four bunk beds crammed into it. There was much curiosity about the latest person to join the adventure. Fiona was an Aeron who had heroically prevented an attempt on Kimberley’s life by one of her guildsmen. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Eight”
Space fall is now most of the way towards completion, and I’ve been thinking about what my next writing project might be. I have a few contenders. Presently, I’m fascinated in Anglo-Saxon England and what life was like during this period, especially for the 90-95% outside the aristocracy and clergy. Life was very difficult back in this era and famines were a constant source of threat to people’s survival. There is a tendency to dismiss Europeans as being primitive farmers and barbarians before the renaissance, but I figure common sense discounts this idea. Europe as a continent, especially in the north, has this annual catastrophe called “winter” and in order to survive this the inhabitants of these lands had to adapt to winter conditions in ways people in other parts of the world didn’t need to. For example, in jungle regions there is fruit all year round, while in Europe fruit is only available in the warmer months. Europeans had to develop technologies and strategies for coping with winters that exist nowhere else in the world except perhaps Japan, Korea, and Manchuria.
Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Future Projects”
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Back in the sky city of Pearl, the Aeron chief guild master Kaylim was interrogating the Kiron guild master Sybil.
“What do you know of Kimberley’s plan?”
Sybil sighed heavily, “I know as much about that as you do: she intends to seal the rift.”
“What about those two freemen who helped her to escape?”
“I know nothing about them.”
“I have a witness who says that you cleared them both for entry into the parliament, and also brought them into the parliament chamber,” Kaylim raised his voice, “Why did you let them in if you didn’t know anything about them?”
“Because I hoped they would protect Kimberley when the time came, and they did.”
“You fool! I’m going to have to kill them now, as well as Kimberley. You have three deaths on your conscience now.”
“My conscience? You don’t need to kill any of them. That is your choice and your responsibility.” Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Seven”
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The triplane started moving slowly at first, then as the engine drank in the open throttle it started picking up speed. At the end of the tunnel the soft yellow light of the sky got bigger, faster and faster. The landing gear hovered off the ground, landing gear that included pontoons for sea landings. Alfred had to make quick adjustments to avoid hitting the roof as the plan started to lift.
“Where in the asteroid belt did he learn to fly a triplane?” Cried an astonished Kimberley.
Harold laughed, “Red Baron 2037,” he answered simply.
The plane zipped out of the launching tube and into a sky filled with hot air balloons. Alfred yawed, pitched, and banked to avoid colliding with them. He was sloppy at first but within minutes started to show confidence in his handling of the aircraft. From the gloftoons children could be seen pointing at them and making excited ‘o’ shapes with their mouths. The city of Pearl was shrinking away much faster than it is appeared to them when travelling there earlier that morning.
“Ok, now we’re escaped, where do we need to get to, Kimberley?” Asked Alfred.
“We need to reach a Vegani settlement, they live on the ocean surface. So fly down and look for one, preferably with a floating runway! They have some big trading ships that can accommodate an aircraft like this one.” Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Six”
Ok, yesterday was a big day of writing for me. I wrote over 5,000 words in total on various writing projects. I was determined to get part 5 of Space Fall out at all costs. Eventually I finished part 5 and it came out at ~4,250 words. I actually wanted it to be longer, somewhere in the 6,000 word range. However, it was getting close to midnight and I decided to compromise on the mental plan I had for the outline of my book. I had planned for it to be 10 parts at 1,500 words each, yet I’m now at part 6 and it’s already 11,000 words! This phenomenon happens to me often when I am writing, often enough that I’ve started to give it a name: narrative creep. It’s when a story that’s simple enough in the planning stages takes on a life of its own and starts growing, possibly exponentially. While other writer’s complain of writer’s block, my biggest concern is never knowing where to stop. I generally just want to keep adding to a story until it’s oversized and bloated. I don’t know if anyone else has this experience? Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Narrative Creep”
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When the Kirons opened the spatial rift they chose to open it six kilometres above the surface of Proxima Minor. They were fearful of it being too close to any place inhabited, but also they wanted to flood a specific area with water for the test. The Oblique Plateau was a vast shallow depression on the surface of Proxima Minor with no settlements on it as yet, and thus it was perfect for creating a new sea using the water from Proxima Major. That was the plan at least. When the spatial rift generator was activated a perfect circle with a diameter of several hundred metres across appeared in the sky and immediately the largest waterfall in history started to gush forth from seemingly nowhere. The water fell six kilometres in a straight, almost clear, tube downwards and pummelled the Proximian ground with seismic force.
Since the spatial rift was a tear in the fabric of space, it had no substance. Looking at it sideways it was so perfectly flat that it simply could not be seen. It was not like looking at a piece of paper from the side at eye level, one can still see the paper no matter how thin: One could not see the spatial rift looking at it side one, it was perfectly two dimensional. There was merely a solid pillar of water pouring down below, and above a clear yellow Proximian sky. The other side of the rift was a perfectly reflective surface, like a mirror. However, while a mirror reflects visible light, this surface reflected all wavelengths of light, and with perfect efficiency. With an ordinary mirror one can fire a laser at it and melt a hole through it. With the upper surface of the spatial rift one could fire a laser at it and the laser would bounce off without any loss of heat in the process. In fact, one could drop a bouncing ball and, if it were not for the atmosphere, the ball would never stop bouncing on the surface of the rift as there was no matter there for the energy of the ball to transfer to each time it bounced. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Five”
If you’re worried about missing out on part 5 of Spacefall, you may relax, I am working on it, and will probably put it up tomorrow. I’m just taking a bit of a break today because the last two parts were 2,000 words each and part 5 is looking like it will be in the 3,000 word range.
Space fall is based on an idea I had one day while reading up about exo planets that astronomers have found in recent years. I was particularly surprised to learn that water is a relatively abundant substance in the universe that is typically present during the formation of a new star system, but unless a planet has a strong electromagnetic field, like the Earth does, the water eventually gets blown off the surface of the planet and into space. Water is so abundant that some exo planets have oceans on them possibly hundreds of kilometres deep. Yet many planets are like Mars or the moon lack a strong electromagnetic field to prevent the water that used to be there from being stripped away by the sun’s radiation. Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Space Fall”
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The capsule was winched high into the sky and at one point Alfred decided to poke his head out of the hatch to see what was happening. The ocean was already a long way down and all he could see was a big dark silhouette against the yellow sky. He pulled his head in and felt sufficiently sea sick now to have regretted his curiosity. When Harold asked what he saw he said simply it was big and shaped a little like a pentagon.
The object hovering in the sky was in fact a rather sophisticated innovation in hot air balloon technology. Instead of just one balloon it had five balloons holding up a large basket shaped like a pentagon. It had five balloons because if it had only three or four then the lost of just one balloon to an accident would lead to a catastrophe as the basket holding the thirty odd inhabitants would spill over pouring them and all their belongings into the ocean below. However, with five balloons the basket would remain sufficiently stable for the damaged balloon to be repaired. This was essential, even without accidents, because the balloon craft could seldom land now the planet was flooded and often most maintenance had to performed in flight. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Four”
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The capsule screamed through the atmosphere tearing a perfectly straight orange gash into the Proximian sky. When the capsule had slowed down sufficiently from the re-entry a series of parachutes ejected from it and each one slowed the capsule down progressively; until the last and biggest parachute opened which brought the capsule safely onto the surface of the infinite Proximian ocean. There it bobbed gently on a perfectly blue ocean and a perfectly yellow sky.
Inside the capsule the three passengers were exhausted with the excitement of the dramatic re-entry experience. The strange woman was the first to release herself from her harness and she sank to the baggage laden floor with a soft ‘wee’ sound. Harold and Alfred decided they had better get themselves free and instead of gently falling to the floor with a fluid motion the pair flopped down like jelly dropped on concrete. Groans of pain soon filled the cramped space inside the capsule. The woman was the first to get up and she immediately opened the hatch. Fresh, and surprisingly unsalty, sea air flooded the cabin. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Three”