Enceladus What Tell Ya Us? #NASA #poetry #poem #saturn

Enceladus in Saturn’s E-ring

Wrenched by Saturn’s gravity,
By tides within its core,
And radioactive isotopes
Releasing heat galore.

Oceans are revealed,
by geysers
Blasting through the cold.
Cryovolcanism
jets from the southern pole.

A water ocean circulates
Beneath an icy shell
That blocks the solar photons.
Here living things could dwell.

Consider near-bacteria,
Imagine pseudo-fish.
Chemosynthesis
Supporting life like this.

What may have surfed its boiling plumes?
What from the depths might rise?
Earth may have
solar system kin,
On Saturn’s rings, they ride.

I re-worked this poem for a poetry open mic today in Silver City, my wonderful, small, rural, artsy New Mexico town.

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How to Explore a Planet? You Need to be Airborne! #poem #poetry #NASA #MAR2020 #drone

NASA concept - helicopter on Mars

NASA concept of a helicopter on Mars

Small
Autonomous
Rotorcraft,
About to leave for Mars.
No, it cannot fly through space.
It hitchhikes for the ride.
Once its rover host
Touches down
And backs off quite a ways,
Will relay orders from the Earth,
To test it makes the grade.
Can solar cells keep it charged,
And keep it warm at night?
Can it rise three meters high
On a ninety second flight?
Then we’ll have a helicopter
On another world.
As thrilling
A capability
As any that I’ve heard.

Kate Rauner

It may seem like a small step, but Mars’ atmosphere is like flying 100,000 ft above Earth’s surface, about three times the height of commercial airplanes. Many outlets cover this element of the Mars 2020 mission, including Reuters

Meet ST Sanchez, Author of Fantasy and Children’s Books #author #fantasy #interview #reading

The Portal Keeper coverA few weeks ago I reviewed a fantasy story that I enjoyed, and that you could share with  kids too: The Portal Keeper. I’ve messaged with the author, S. T. Sanchez, from my neighboring state of Texas. Today I’ll share our exchange. Scroll down for an excerpt from her novel 🙂

Welcome Sarah. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Dallas, Texas. I love Texas. The weather is crazy, but the people are friendly. I graduated from the University of North Texas with a BA in Spanish. Mexico is my second home. My husband is from Mexico, and I have family down there. I love the culture, the people, and of course the food. I have three wonderful children and I love hiking and spending time outdoors when I am not writing.

Fantasy is my preferred genre to write in. There are no limits in fantasy beyond my own imagination.

author S. T. SanchezWhat got you into writing?

I was never a huge reader when I was younger. I guess I just didn’t find anything that really grabbed my attention. It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I really started to love reading. I would go through series after series.

I never thought of myself as a writer. Term papers were hard to stretch out to the ten or twenty pages required. The thought of writing a book didn’t really enter my mind.

My first book began on a whim. I just wanted to see how long I could write for. This resulted in a completely juvenile story that will never see the light of day. It did teach me that I had the capability to write. I just needed practice and a better storyline.

What did you learn from writing your first book?

Just to preserver. Keep working at it. Don’t be afraid of rewrites. Take your time and don’t rush into publication.

Which do you prefer: print books or ebooks?

I probably read about 50/50. Ebooks have their advantage but I still enjoy having a physical book in my hand occasionally.

Tell us a little bit about your main characters

Ajax is just about to turn fourteen. He is a dutiful child who is taking on a responsibility that was never meant

Is this a stand-alone novel or part of a series?

The Portal Keeper is book 1 in the series.

Currently, what are you working on?

I just finished up the second book in my YA Vampire trilogy. Nightwalker was just released in May. I am also working on the sequel to The Portal Keeper, I don’t have a title yet.

Do you have people read your drafts before you publish? How do you select beta readers?

Definitely. I am still looking for more. Some authors don’t want too many eyes on their work. I am the opposite. The more eyes the better. It is hard to find good beta readers who will point out your flaws. But I have a few really good ones.

What was your biggest challenge when writing? Did you have any writer’s block? If so, how did you work your way through it?

I find working on several projects helps keep my mind flowing. I try to keep the number to three projects. I have found that if I get stuck I can jump to another project and then when I come back to it, I usually don’t have a problem finishing it.

What was your writing process like?

I need background noise. Whether it’s the tv or good music. Then I usually

What are your hobbies aside from writing, if any?

I enjoy hiking, not that there are many places to do that in Texas, but I recently got to hike some of the parks in Utah. There is some gorgeous scenery. I also enjoy baking, which probably doesn’t help my chocolate addiction.

Please treat us to an excerpt from The Portal Keeper

The Portal Keeper coverIt was dark all around him as he struggled to catch his breath. He couldn’t make out his hand in front of his face and had no idea which direction to swim in. Suddenly he was roughly pulled out of the water and tossed onto a hard surface. He coughed a few more times and tried to sit up. The floor rocked beneath him, and Ajax realized he was on a ship of some sort.

“Well, what have we got ourselves here?” a grizzly voice asked. “Spots, shine a little light over here, will you?”

Something buzzed by Ajax’s ear and then a small but exceptionally bright light shined in his face.

He put up his hand, attempting to shield the beam from his eyes.

“It’s a man,” someone called out.

Someone prodded him with a stick.

“Hey!” Ajax exclaimed, swatting it away.

“What were you doing out in the middle of Death Lake at this hour?”

Death Lake, that sounds promising, Ajax thought to himself.

“I’m looking for my friend,” Ajax answered. “Have you seen anyone else? Did anyone else fall?”

“Shut him up,” another voice called. “Get him down below.”

Something covered Ajax’s face and then he was grabbed forcefully and carried to another location. He felt as if he were going down stairs. He was flung unceremoniously into a chair, and the hood was yanked off his head. He rubbed the back of his arm, where he had been gripped too tightly. It was dark in this new place too.

Slowly a lamp was lit, giving a little light to the area.

A rhinoceros stood at the head of a table, wearing a pair of striped trousers and suspenders without a shirt. He leaned forward. “How did you come here?”

Ajax scooted back in his chair, looking around the table. He must have really experienced a lot in the past week because the talking rhinoceros didn’t amaze him as much as he felt it should.

From The Portal Keeper

Breathtaking Insight or Idle Speculation? Are we inside The Matrix? #poem #poetry #science #computer #game

Bela Lugosi

Bella Lugosi makes a fine Mad Scientist – who maybe created our simulation in the first original universe – if there was one

Extraordinary evidence
Makes extraordinary claims.
Extraordinary people
Will sometimes do the same.

A big enough memory
In a big enough machine
Perhaps could simulate
The universe I’ve seen.

Ancient Greek philosophers
Knew nothing of our chips and RAM,
Yet said that if I cannot see,
I cannot know
that
I am.

Until someone can falsify,
Propose a test to tell,
The question is philosophy,
A summer dream’s intel.
A slice of heaven, pinch of hell,
Rhapsodizing as I tell
How to ride a bit-byte swell
From deep inside my techno-well.
Logging off.

Kate Rauner

Thanks to skeptoid, one of my favorite sites. They don’t usually venture into philosophy, but when they do, it’s fun.

Behind the Scenes of a Mars Colony, Treachery Threatens Survival #sciencefiction #Mars #military #space #scifi #story #reading #review #bookreview

We Are Mars coverCheryl Lawson’s Mars colony was established 52 years ago in story-time, which is decades into our real-life future. Placing a colony underground and genetically-modifying the humans born there made survival possible. Now, vital systems are becoming hard to maintain, they are heavily dependent on Earth, and the g-mod program is vital to ongoing support.

As the story opens, someone is drilling deep into a Martian glacier. He’s up to no good, and colonists are too worried about their spiraling maintenance problems, and (like most real people) too involved in their own relationship games to realize.

A breathtaking discovery and a dangerous system failure combine to create a race against time and a desperate fight to stay alive. Just when it seems the colony will survive, things go wildly-wrong again.

Mistakes are made, allegiances shift and lives hang in the balance. No one can be trusted as allies become enemies and the true nature of life on Mars is revealed – One wrong move, and it will be your last.

A wonderful read with a surprising relationship twist near the end. This is a fine addition to the Mars genre of scifi. I especially liked how real Mars and the colony felt. Lawson’s descriptions are fun: for example, ejecta from a crater is “a frozen splash in a bowl of tomato soup.” I also liked getting inside the characters. Each one has a generous introduction.

I scored a pre-release copy – We Are Mars is due out May 15th. So mark your calendars or better yet, pre-order today so you don’t miss out. The book is subtitled “Part One” so it ends with the hook for the next book, a hint of what’s coming.

It’s Not That I Can’t, I Don’t Need To – memory in modern times #poetry #poem #memory #moderntimes

Hearing is not listening,
Seeing’s not perceiving.
To watch is not to memorize
The data you’re receiving.

Why remember if you can
Google what you need?
A password’s all you must retain,
What’s needed to succeed.

Kate Rauner

Thanks to theatlantic.com for why I can’t remember anything. This has been happening to me ever since my first calendar watch made it impossible to recall the date. I feel so much better now – I think.

Science Studies Poetry – compare this to what you like in a poem #poem #poetry #science

What makes a poem pleasing to its readers? It’s about time science took another crack at this question.

Researchers from New York University and the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics… found that vividness was the best predictor of aesthetic appeal. smithsonian

Sad or scary poems lacking vivid imagery scored worst. Perhaps the next step is to see if similar traits make a song or story pleasing.