Saturn as seen from Titan, painting by Chesley Bonestell

Saturn as seen from Titan, painting by Chesley Bonestell
Favorite astronomical painting

Monday, May 31, 2010

Third segment for Triton stroll

As promised here is the third segment of my SF short story Unscheduled Stroll on Triton.

He got up and despaired as the cruiser appeared as a silver needle. He couldn’t even make out the rover. He started taking big bounding strides, thanks to the light gravity. After half an hour the ship had hardly grown in size. Having one hour of air left was a small problem compared to his suit’s heating system. The thermal battery would only keep the lithium batteries warm enough to operate another forty-five minutes. He was looking at catastrophic failure, and it wouldn’t matter about the remaining fifteen minutes of air. A human body at thirty-eight degrees Kelvin wouldn’t need it, besides, the circulating system would freeze too.
If only Mona knew he was up here instead of at the base of the cliff. There was one slim chance, but it was better than his present course. He switched his suit controls from analog to mind control. Immediately, a warning message scrolled across his liquid crystal panel inside his helmet’s visor.
“I know, I know. My mind control hasn’t attained an acceptable rating to use it for suit vitals. So what else is new?” Cramer muttered.
The tiny Yagi antenna mounted atop his helmet was directional. If he could boost the radio’s power and point toward the ship, there was a chance Mona could pick it up. Carrier wave mode, the best use of power, would alert her to his whereabouts. From this distance, one hundred milliwatts ought to do it. The rover was capable of twenty kilometers per hour and Mona might reach him in time if she jumped in and came straight to him. She could plug the rover’s power source into his suit’s external power port.

There you have the next segment of my story. Enjoy and thanks for coming over to read it. Larry

Monday, May 24, 2010

Unscheduled Stroll on Triton second segment

As was suggested I'm posting the second segment of my SF story here. Cramer and Mona find themselves on Triton, large moon of Neptune, mining for thorium. Here is the next segment and thank you for reading. Well, for some reason it isn't pasting. Let me try again. Ahh, it worked that time. Second time charms.

Triton, the coldest body in the solar system nudged the Kelvin temperature scale to a frigid thirty-eight degrees. Cramer and Mona’s special suits, greedy for power to keep them warm and operate the air circulation system, short changed the radio, allowing it only a starving milliwatt of power. That provided communications for line of sight, perhaps stretching to fifty meters. No matter, Cramer thought, as he tumbled slowly in Triton’s near hard vacuum. Mona, far above him, and out of sight, wouldn’t hear him anyway.
Face down now, he could see the nitrogen/methane snow illuminated by Neptune’s eerie blue light. Slowly, the powdery white plane approached him.
Suddenly, an explosion of white fog erupted directly below him. In half a second it hit him. The nitrogen geyser spurted from the otherwise bland whiteness below. Cramer rode its force upward, much faster than his descent. He tumbled, glimpsing the rover, cruiser and Mona’s suited figure as he cleared the top and sailed in a wide arc. She didn’t see him as he barely cleared the cruiser’s sharp nose and gained height, hurling beyond. Farther he went until finally he descended at a shallow angle.
Cramer worried if his momentum would carry him beyond the plane off the far side cliff. Once he bounced, twice, three times, skidding in the snow. He knew he was close to the edge from the view of distant snowy ridges stretching to the horizon.
Okay tune in next Monday for the third segment. Let me know what you think and if you want a longer segment next time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Unscheduled stroll on Triton, opening scene

A brief note that I'm half through typing my revisions into my WIP, the novel version of Leroy and Jody from Lab Partners.
As promised I'll give you the opening scene of my short SF story Unscheduled Stroll on Triton. This story although workshopped to death at Antioch last year was still rejected by Pedestal Magazine. Thanks to Anne and Laurie for expressing an interest in seeing this story. I'll paste in the opening scene below including an extra paragraph beyond what you all read on our chat at CTR recently.

This is a mini sequel to my science fiction novel The Higher Mission.
Unscheduled Stroll on Triton
Larry Hammersley

Joe Cramer fell toward the snowy surface of Triton, a little over a kilometer below him. He weighed thirteen and a half pounds here on Neptune’s largest moon, so the seventy-five second fall wouldn’t kill him. Mona Watson, his mining partner whom he had hoped to marry soon, wouldn’t be able to rescue him from the base of the butte they’d been mining. Their mining cruiser only carried their equipment and a rover, no space taxi. By the time she lifted off with the cruiser and landed it near the cliff base they’d been mining she’d only find his frozen corpse.
Moments before, he and Mona retrieved the high grade thorium ore from the side of the cliff near the top. Their cruiser and rover were parked on the flat plane above. When their catcher drills storage bags were full, Mona hoisted herself to the top to empty their contents into the rover’s ore compartment, and replace the drill bits. That’s when it happened. Cramer knew better. He’d detached himself from his safety line, intending on repositioning it so he could reach a new spot for drilling. His hand slipped and he drifted downward away from the line’s clip.
The old adage, “Only a fool makes the same mistake twice,” doesn’t apply in space. Make one mistake and no one has time to call you a fool because you’re dead. Oh, he and Mona had taken risks and ended up saving each other’s lives on several occasions but that was different from making a blatant error.
copyright by Larry Hammersley
There you have the opening scene of the story. I'm giving you the shortened version, not the longer version from the workshop. So you won't invest a lot of time reading. I'd appreciate any comments you have whether negative or positive.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

WIP second time through

Well, as of today, I've been through my novel the second time. I'll now type in the revisions and see what it looks like. Maybe I'll exceed 71,000 words with the revisions typed in as I developed one of the minor characters a bit more. I made her a nicer person.
A dash of bad news. My planned trip to Nashville, TN to RWA convention is off as the Gaylord Opryland Hotel was flooded recently and RWA relocated their convention to Orlando, Florida, a distance I don't care to drive.
I kept their list of agents and will check on them to see if there is one or more I could query with my WIP, A Change Of Heart.