Skip to main content


Showing posts from February, 2014

Realm Makers-- A Story Idea Engine

When I created my blog, I wanted it to be distinctly different from most author blogs. That's partially because I find stories more interesting than how stories are made, ideas more interesting than the people who think them up. It's perhaps an unusual bias, one that might imply that I don't like or am not interested in people. But that's not true at all. I actually do enjoy the company of my fellow human beings, especially those that share with me an interest in speculative fiction storytelling as a Christian--or with a Christian twist--or from a Christian point of view. In August of 2013 I attended the first Realm Makers conference, the first conference devoted specifically to Christian writers of speculative fiction. I had fun making new friends and meeting in person for the first time people I'd only known online, but more to the point, my conversations and interactions with fellow authors inspired and honed a number of the story ideas I'm so keenly

The Kaiser's Interplanetary Cold War

As per a Facebook discussion I've had with some friends, I'm imaging a story setting in which Germany won WWI and from that time worked to build a German Empire that expanded off planet Earth. This would touch off a cold war of sorts in space. Germany very nearly did win the First World War, not only in 1914 when their initial invasion of France nearly succeeded (brought to a halt by the First Battle of the Marne by reserve French forces advancing unexpectedly, many ferried by taxicab drivers from Paris who volunteered for the task), but also in 1918, after the defeat of Russia led to Germans shipping more troops west to fight the nearly-successful Spring Offensive of 1918. It so happens that the key battle that defeated that massive German offensive was the Second Battle of the Marne, in which US troops played a key role (the US Third Infantry Division that held their ground there is still to this day called, "The Rock of the Marne").  In my story, the Zimm

Realms of Exile from Siberia to Planet Zero

A realm of exile, a remote desolate place, where hardy adventurers find themselves struggling to survive has been a much-used setting in science fiction. Often, the exile is of a personal nature, such as Obi Wan Kenobi's voluntary exile to Tatooine. Or in a similar fashion, Arrakis serves as an exile of sorts for Duke Leto Atreides and his family in the sci fi classic, Dune. But not all exiles are solitary or are reserved for the select few. Like the Russian Empire using exile to Siberia as a way to get rid of "undesirables," sending millions of people there over the centuries (while at the same time developing that miserably cold and remote stretch of northern Asia), some science fiction stories have featured whole societies founded by citizens fleeing to planets of exile, sometimes sent by deliberate acts of an empire or other government wanting to get rid of them. A classic example is Ursula K. Le Guin's  Planet of Exile , and other similar stories (e.g.  Saga

Living Clouds in Sci Fi and Fantasy Atmospheres

Imagine a world in which clouds are composed of round transparent membranes pasted together, living bubbles, that float in the air. Here's how it would work: In a story universe I'm working on ( Colony Zero ) I've contemplated what it would take for an animal to breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. Clearly there would need to be an input of energy from the outside, since this chemical reaction requires more energy to process than it releases. But plants do this all the time with photosynthesis. What if there was a creature who likewise had a chemical reaction requiring outside energy input (like photosynthesis) that split water into hydrogen and oxygen? Returning to the little round bubble body concept I mentioned, imagine the creature I'm describing filled it's inner sack with the hydrogen it produces. (It probably would also need to absorb CO2 and convert it to oxygen to get building material for its body, not to mention energy, but that's a bit be

Dolphin Rocket Jockies and Interstellar Navigators

I was just contemplating the idea of sports played in microgravity or low gravity by human beings. But I think humans would have trouble with 3D sports. Our mindset is very often linear. Or planar--two practical dimensions, width and depth, that's how we think. It seems to me that most humans would get confused in playing a truly three dimensional game. While its true that there are humans who pilot aircraft in the three dimensions of the atmosphere and other humans dive in the ocean, managing to do well enough in liquid three dimensions to get by, my sense is true mastery of three dimensional movement is something human beings are not especially good at. Even aircraft combat tactics tend to find planes to fight in from what I've read on the topic (though this is in part because airplanes don't move in all directions with equal ease). So what if in the future humans finally discover how to communicate well with dolphins and enlist dolphins as fighter pilots in combat sp