Reading (& writing) spacy

Spacegeek bookshelf

Here are a few of the books that I consult for the Long Dark/Cold story universe that I’ve written in since NaNoWriMo 2007, and which I’m writing in again this NaNovember (along with a few that have to do with a different long-term project, Mistress of Woodland — MoW for short). (This photo was cropped from this one, which shows the shelf above too.)

Most of these books are about various aspects of space exploration, with a heavy emphasis this bookshelf on Mars, the first home of one of my most important Long Dark characters, Esti Gusev. A few of these books (e.g., We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy and How to Make Collaboration Work) have been instrumental in helping me to further develop the type of governance followed by my fictional Consensus of the Outer System. And then on top of We the People are the three Crossed Genres publications where two of my Long Dark/Cold stories have been published (one of them twice).

Needless to say,

  1. I have lots more books.
  2. I haven’t read all of even the books shown here.
  3. I’m not reading any of them now, because I’m writing instead.

But maybe, once NaNo’s over, it’ll be time to make a plan about not just reading, but also notetaking, on the stuff important to me for this story universe. What a wide range of stuff it is, too — space tethers and “artificial” gravity through use of centrifugal force, controlled ecological life support systems (CELSS), gravitational physiology, types of propulsion for sublight interstellar ships, how to terraform a planet….  It’s not all just space stuff, either. Two of the important locales for the Long Dark material are Consensus embassies on Mars and on Earth, so I’ve even got books (mostly on Kindle for iPhone/iPod) on the U.S. foreign service and the different kinds of personnel who keep our diplomacy running.

But again, I’m not reading now — I’m writing. The stuff up above is just to illustrate what a complete geek I am. Someone last night at the NaNoWriMo kickoff asked me if the science fiction I’m writing is hard science fiction.  Well, no, not really. Hard science fiction is defined by Wikipedia as

a category of science fiction characterized by an emphasis on scientific or technical detail, or on scientific accuracy, or on both.

— whereas for me, the scientific accuracy issue has more with verisimilitude — building a realistic and (as best I can) “scientific” story universe in which to ground and stage the human stories I’m trying to tell.  Most “science fiction,” especially the stuff in movies & on TV, could be more accurately terms “science fantasy” because so much of it plays fast & loose with science fact.  Not that I have anything against science fantasy — I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, after all — but it’s not what I’m trying, here, to write.

Granted that howsoever geeky I get (to which there’s a limit: I’m not a scientist), I’ll still be making some leaps into “fantasy.”  The more I read, actually, the less certain I am that we’ll be able to completely solve the problems it would be necessary for us to solve for long-term human survival and sustainability in outer space. And the more I appreciate the free and abundant gifts that our biosphere of Earth provides us — gifts we are squandering.

Okay, to that other point again: I’m not reading right now, I’m writing. Last night, from the stroke of midnight to about 2:30 AM, I wrote about 1672 words — just over the 1667 words per day I need to keep up if I want to be on schedule to write all 50K by the end of the month.  I’ll be writing more tonight, though.  Getting ahead of the game, that’s my plan.

So far so good.

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