Monday, May 11, 2015

Moving Forward...

Greetings, Rocketfans!  I'm back after a delicious vacation to get the A to Z Blog Challenge out of my system.  It was a fun month of mapping, to be sure, but an exhausting one.

Still, I learned a lot.  For one thing, I made most of those maps, each 200 combat miniature squares apiece, in a matter of hours.  This has given me the confidence that I could tackle major mapping challenges and meet them without working twelve-hour days and driving myself crazy.  I mean that literally; for all you new people, I got into this racket because a coma in 2009 left me with persistent neurological and psychological problems that make working for someone - or even being around someone - else a challenge for them and me both.  Back in 2011 and 2012 I was putting out new books of starships every month - until the self-imposed strain made further progress impossible for awhile.

Uh, I mean, bunker!
I have nothing relevant to show.  Here is a Killer Space Kitten.

Anyway, the point is, I feel better about making new products with that month of solid blogging under my belt.

In other news, I will be finishing up the Building a Space Navy series during the next few, and then that will probably be the end of my work on the Conjunction universe.  Several commenters have pointed out to me... repeatedly... that natural gas from Titan is too expensive to move with realistic or plausible tech, and without that central tenant, the whole thing kind of falls apart.   But all that aside, Conjunction is an excellent frame for the needs of an interplanetary space force, so we'll see her through to the end.

After that (or during), we will be starting a new series with a new setting idea, and explore new stuff.

As far as less-than-rock-hard-SF stuff goes, we have a couple of things in the works, a freighter I discussed in March will be ready for sale this month, and the Star Morphs project is moving forward with a slew of NPCs to populate all those maps, and random tables to guide their use.  This first Star Morphs project will be for the Open D6 system, since that's my jam, but if there is enough demand, versions for D20 Future, Traveller, and Starships & Spacemen/ White Star will be considered.  That should keep me busy for awhile...

And what about my faithful Patreons, you may wonder?  For one thing, the $5.00 group gets all that swag at no additional cost.  Since the Star Morph books will certainly cost more than five dollars upon publication, that's a good deal.  My $1.00 Patreons will still get to look at the random tables and NPC stats in advance of publication and offer input, and when any new star morph maps are made, they will be available to my Patreons a month in advance of my regular guests.

In addition to all of that, I am looking forward to writing more nano-fic and universe building.  I've read a lot of good stuff lately, from the addictive Alister Young (of course) and also by my good friend Rob Garitta who will, if he's smart, talk to Goblinoid Games about writing the first Starships & Spacemen story anthology.  I'm inspired by my peers to keep putting fingers on keys in an attempt to make something that sounds as cool as it does in my head.  The results will follow here.

Anyway, we will see one of the remaining Conjunction comics posted on Wednesday and an installment of Building a Space Navy sometime this week.  Patreons can expect some NPCs to examine and entertain, if so inclined.  Enjoy!


  1. If Titan's natural gas isn't worth moving around, what about Saturn's He3? Moon He3 is probably too thinly present to be worth exploiting, and Jupiter has a far stronger gravity at atmospheric level, so Saturn would probably be the best source.
    Then, apart from what the freighters look like, the situation is pretty much inchanged...

  2. A valid point...but there is no need for He3 right now, as there are no fusion reactors and progress on them is inhibited by the oil dependent infrastructure. I was hoping that establishing a Titan pipline would provide future He3 infrastructure during the transition from fossil fuels to fusion, but alas.

    ...I'm still not 100% convinced that the cost of replacing the oil-using infrastructure 0f the entire industrialized world is less than shipping cruse from Titan...

  3. I would expect us to have the use of He3 before exploiting Saturn becomes possible - but then again, I would have expected us to have He3 at some point in the last *fifty* years.
    Similarly, I would expect us to start replacing our oil infrastructure before exploiting Titan becomes possible (and it seems people like Elon Musk have decided to make it their personal crusade), if only because of the lack of fossil oil reserves. But then again, maybe it will turn out to be cheaper to synthesize it from organic material (cereal biofuel, algae bioreactors...) and/or some large new uses are discovered, for example in composite materials - let's say that most of everything is made by 3d-printers and the best materials are hydrocarbon-based.
    So I guess it can be argued both ways, depending on what future you want to tell.

    But in any cases, if shipping bulk hydrocarbon from Titan (and in a lesser extent He3 from Saturn) is interesting, it has to be enormous quantities at a negligible price. I guess it means space elevators on Titan, to begin with, and maybe on Earth as well (though there is always good old aerobraking). And the travel itself is probably very slow.
    Could Aldrin Cyclers be used for Earth-Saturn travel?

    Honestly, while I'm often the first to nitpick on the impossibility of stuff in all but the softest SF, Titan Hydrocarbon is such a fun concept I'm ready to let a lot slide just to have it at least remotely believable.
    The only thing that could make it better would be if it was coal, but that would be pushing it too far :)

    And the concept you have here with this Great Conjunction, whatever what they are actually shipping from the Saturn system, is pretty singular and interesting as well.


Questions, comments, criticisms? All non-Trolls welcome!