I am absolutely determined to publish my next book in the On Mars series by the end of the month, so my creative
New cover is nearly done
brain cells and writing time have been dedicated to the project. If you’re a regular reader you know my other postings have suffered – hope you’ll forgive me, but I’m obsessed.
I’m playing with a blurb for the book. Would this catch your interest? Is “dangers lurk” too much of a cliché?
Maybe Mars’ largest city isn’t all fun.
Welcome to the third book of the On Mars series, a hundred years in your future. Bliss wants the fun and excitement of life in the colony’s biggest city – a village by Earther standards but a city on Mars – and is happy to take the first intern job she finds, even if it takes her out on the planet’s hostile surface. But dangers lurk inside the colony, and even cargo arriving from Earth – the first shipment in generations – may bring disaster. Join her to discover if humans can survive on a hostile planet and make it a home.
All my books, including the On Mars series, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Catch up now.
Pillars of Creation, a famous stellar nursery
Plants store solar energy
In hydrated aldehydes,
Organics formed so cleverly.
Add nitrogen or phosphorus
For an acidic amide,
Defining protein molecules,
Solvents, enzymes, muscles, hide.
So why do interstellar clouds
Contain organic molecules,
Ubiquitous in dusty space
Where life can hardly be the rule?
There is compelling evidence,
Despite cold in extremity,
That cosmic rays are driving
An out-of-balance chemistry.
Unborn stars and planets,
Laced with heavy elements
Are interstellar nurseries
For compounds biorelevant.
By Kate Rauner
Thanks to http://www.pnas.org/content/113/28/7727 and A study of interstellar aldehydes and enols as tracers of a cosmic ray-driven nonequilibrium synthesis of complex organic molecules
After working through several versions with problems like, the page numbers are missing, Rhyme and Reason Three is available now in a digital edition at Amazon and other major on-line book-sellers. The paperback edition is on Amazon and Create Space.
No matter how many notes I take, I learn something new with each book I publish – darn it. So I’ve also updated the formatting for Rhyme and Reason and Rhyme and Reason Two.
Now’s the time to collect all three.
My poetry is inspired by the real, objective world we all share and by Richard Feynman – one of the most important physicists of the 20th Century and certainly the most interesting. He wrote that
Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars – mere globs of gas atoms. I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination – stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light. A vast pattern – of which I am a part… It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it. Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?”
Spheres of methane and ammonia make me rhyme, and so does earthbound science. Rhyme and Reason Three includes the popular Desert Watermelon. Here’s an excerpt:
Ruby slabs of watermelon
Decorate my table,
While in the wild deserts
Its ancestral stock is stable.
Civilization could collapse,
There could be Armageddon.
But in five thousand years,
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You’ve heard that space is expanding,
You’ve heard that science is sure
That galaxies fly from galaxies
For as long as time will endure.
But if space-time is expanding,
Just what’s it expanding into?
What’s beyond the edge of
The universe that we view?
Just more and more that we’ll never see,
Each frame of reference is valid.
Each star at the center of everything
Regardless of how much is added.
So I might be forgiven for saying
That I stand in a special place,
That I am the center of everything,
Of energy, matter, and space.
By Kate Rauner
Thanks to space.com for the question, and for giving me an excuse to believe I’m more important that you are! My poem reminds me of Dr Suess’s Yertle the Turtle 😀
Visit my blog for a poem every-other-post (about) or try one of my collections. Rhyming poems for fun, inspired by science.
Binti is an unexpected scifi novella – highly successful in Amazon’s Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Read subcategory – 4 1/2 stars with lots of reviews. Complaints center on the story being too short and readers wanting more!
Author Okorafor offers a tale of human contact with a strange (not anthropomorphic – hurray!) alien species, but centers on a real life human society that will seem alien to most Anglo readers. That culture is beautifully evoked and Okorafor is not afraid to interrupt action with beguiling descriptions.
While there is one violent episode, the story is about Binti’s enigmatic relationship with her own culture – honoring her heritage while moving far beyond to attend an interstellar university. The story abandons some of the “common wisdom” rules of fiction that dictate action and denigrate characters telling the reader anything – which proves rules are meant to be broken by talented authors.
MILD SPOILER ALERT
She encounters thoughtful alien adversaries and prevails through her own growth and sacrifice rather than bang-up violence. Her mathematical abilities, which are magical, make her uniquely suited to encounter this alien race. Her bravery and intelligence endear her to readers – and perhaps open our eyes to the customs of our own kin here on Earth today.
Binti shares her journey to a strange place. Thoughtful readers will enjoy this short (55 page) novella with a scifi flare. Scifi fans of the more common shoot-em-ups will find the story short enough to hold their interest in a setting with a different feel. Give this novella a try.
A few of the many potato varieties
Who knew there’s an International Potato Center? There is – in Peru. They’re teaming with NASA to grow potatoes in soil taken from the Atacama Desert. Peru has 4,000 varieties of potatoes to choose from.
[Like Mars, Atacama soil has] extremely low levels of microorganisms and organic material as well as high levels of oxidizing chemical elements. For these reasons, the soils in Atacama have been used as analogous to Mars in research scenarios.
They’ll freeze the potatoes they grow and try to revive them. Is it possible The Martian could have revived his frozen potatoes? That would have made life on Mars a lot more comfortable.
Eventually, NASA wants to grow potatoes in zero gravity, in an enclosed atmosphere inside a CubeSat in space. Then, someday, in an enclosed greenhouse on Mars.
Growing potatoes for Mars will teach us about feeding people on Earth, too.
We see the science, educational, and humanitarian goals as being intertwined. In the process of working together toward establishing a community on Mars, our students will also be establishing a community on Earth.
Science fiction has settled on the potato for Mars colonists. I’d like to see NASA confirm that guess.
Eat like a Martian – at least, like a scifi Martian:
practice for Mars on Earth
Banana beer from Born on Mars
And Liz, in Glory on Mars, tries to make bhang, though she doesn’t have all the ingredients.
Thanks to scientificamerican.com, Eureka Alert eurekalert.org, and other outlets.
Spirit Rover views rocks on Mars
There could be solar flares
on the journey there,
Don’t forget crash landings
could happen, to be fair.
Water’s on the surface
but in a frozen brine.
Assume that you can boil out
enough to drink in time.
The atmosphere is toxic
but there is more to heed.
It’s less than one percent
of the pressure that you need.
Besides the lack of atmosphere,
no magnetic force surrounds,
So cosmic radiation
will force you underground.
Orange dust will be the bane
of your solar collectors,
Of moving parts and human lungs,
And of your airlock doors.
If your heating system fails
you will likely freeze,
And if you find your thumb’s not green,
Starvation adds to these.
You better hope you like your fellows
and avoid some fights.
It would be a shame to kill
each other in the night.
Your life’s a tough routine,
Your dangers aren’t a thrill.
Mars is unrelenting.
With its slow motion kill.
You’ve missed the deadline to apply to NASA’s astronaut program for Mars! But, maybe that’s okay. cnet.com/au/news
Join science fiction Mars colonists in my On Mars series. Colonists find all the dangers as they explore and build a home on Mars.