Tag: Richard Penn

Spacetug Copenhagen (Steps to Space #1)

Posted April 7, 2015

My thoughts:

Another book quite unlike anything I’ve read before. Spacetug Copenhagen, in my opinion, is a better starting point if you intend to read Richard Penn’s series’ of hard science fiction books. Spacetug Copenhagen has a great premise, is an addictive read and is a gentle introduction into how real science and engineering can be incorporated into fiction.

As stated in the synopsis, there is a luxurious hotel on the outskirts of the atmosphere, providing wealthy guests with the ultimate holiday destination. The story takes place just fifteen years in the future, and wastes no time getting started. Main characters are introduced early on, key concepts and motives are explained through narration and character interaction, and by the end  of the first chapter the reader is heading through the stratosphere and into space.

The wealthy Peters family look suited to a trip up to the orbiting hotel, while Marius and Abbey – two Danish engineers – look completely out of place in their attire, and it doesn’t take the reader long to find out why.

I can’t really say anymore about the story without giving the details away, except to say that I finished this book feeling very positive about just how close to colonisation in space we are. What made this book for me was the descriptions of ‘how’ things could be done, especially when you consider one of Penn’s inspirations is the Copenhagen Suborbitals, an independent engineering collective running their own space program. Throw in an interesting array of characters, a little bit of politics, and lose yourself to the 64 pages on offer, just don’t expect to take a break – it really is a fascinating read.


Blogging A-Z: C is for…Colonisation

Posted April 3, 2015

Colonisation

There’s something about colonisation that fascinates me. I’m not sure what is exactly, but I just cannot get enough of it. I love seeing different writers perspective on what it means to survive within the confines of a colony, and I’m not all that fussed about the location either, be it underground, on land or in space.

Underground

colonyimage

colonyunderThese images are courtesy of a real estate article on Doomsday bunkers. According to the article, which was posted in April 2012, four of these apartments had been sold, allowing the purchasers to flee to a safe haven if a catastrophic event were to occur. It certainly looks appealing from where I’m sitting, but I can’t help but wonder what the ‘reality’ would be like after a few years – or decades – of being cooped up in such a confined space.

 

 


Space

asteroid belt

Dark-Colony-Cover1-253x380-174x280

The series I am currently reading is about as far away from Forge’s colony as I can get.  It’s in space, or to be more precise, the Terpsichore asteroid in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Richard Penn’s Asteroid Police combines adventure and mystery with hard (factual) science fiction. In the first book in this series – The Dark Colony – we are introduced to Lisa, a young policewoman charged with the role of ensuring order is maintained, and it is, until she has the misfortune to make a rather unpleasant discovery.

As yet I am only part way through reading this book, but I’m finding the science in this book quite fascinating. Penn has clearly researched his subject matter well, and there is a good balance between story telling and factual information.

spacetug-copenhagenAnother book of interest from Penn is Spacetug Copenhagen, book one of the Steps to Space series.  I don’t know about anyone else, but as a child, I always imagined we would be living on other planets by now (I have an overactive imagination).

This book uses present day engineering and science to show just how close we are to that vision. It’s set just fifteen years in the future, has a luxurious hotel in orbit, and judging by the series title, will feature the birth of a space colony.

As with The Dark Colony, it’s a fascinating (and addictive) read, especially when the source of inspiration is cited as an amateur space program.

The Copenhagen Suborbitals are a non-profit, amateur based space endeavor, funded entirely by private sponsors and donors. They build suborbital space vehicles – designed to pave the way for manned space flight on a micro size spacecraft, and on a micro size budget (Copenhagen Suborbitals)


My thoughts on colonisation

Despite the distance, and very different placement of the two forms of colony, there are several elements common in both books:-

Limited Resources (and the need to use what is available)

Regulations and order

Restricted living conditions

Penn and Forge have colonies that have been established over a period of time, and both have a futuristic placement, although the Asteroid Police series is closer to our present timeline then Toys and Soldiers.

If you are interesting in reading these books, please click on the images and you will be taken directly to Amazon. I, in the meantime, shall continue to search through the masses of self-published books for a land based and underwater colony environment (please feel free to comment if you know of any).

Sources:

Ashlyn Forge: http:ashlynforge.com

Richard Penn: http://lockhand.org/

Copenhagen Suborbitals: http://copenhagensuborbitals.com/

 

Books featuring a colony:
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