Beta Readers Wanted for Literary Review

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  • Ron MillerRon Miller Bibliophile
    edited January 29

    There's also a scene in the book where TRAPPIST-1d makes a close orbit--since all the planets in the system orbit at vastly different rates--and it appears like a large moon in the distance. It causes windstorms to kick up on TRAPPIST-1e. It may not be scientifically accurate. In reality, the planets are probably much further away than that, but we'll call it artistic license. I didn't originally have the TRAPPIST-1 system as my setting but once it came out in the news, it seemed obvious.

    Do you do illustrations for a living? I might need you to do my cover whenever this book is done.

    —Michael
    You are right! That would indeed be considerable artistic license! None of the TRAPPIST-1 planets would appear from one another even as large as earth’s moon.

    Thanks for the nice words about my artwork! I do in fact create illustrations for a living...and specialize in space and astronomy. I do a lot of work, for instance, for Scientific American and Astronomy magazines. Cameron has already given you the link to my website...here is my online portfolio: spaceart.photoshelter.com Just go to “Galleries.”
  • The improvements are very noticeable! Particularly in my desire to be engaged in the second half. I felt much more in the moment of re-entry and danger, the confusion and stress - it all comes through with more immediacy.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country Librarian
    The only way for one of TRAPPIST-1's planets to appear the size of the moon to another would be if the two planets in question shared an orbit around a common barycenter.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Bibliophile
    Skoob_ym said:
    By the way, thank you for submitting a passage in proper English sentences with good grammar and spelling.
    I know what you mean. I've seen a few excerpts posted on this forum for comments, and, without naming names, I was amazed at the fundamentals not being observed. Things like not forming dialogue correctly, or sentence fragments, or improper paragraphs.

    One thing you can do to catch typos when you review something you've read over and over again is to have Adobe Acrobat read it aloud to you. The computer will read every word exactly as you have written it. I do that and just sit there with the Word file open in front of me while I listen, and if I hear any typos, I just immediately correct them.

    —Michael
    As I mentioned in an earlier post, it would be much better to read your work aloud yourself. Aside from forcing you to be aware of every word, you would notice things that Acrobat would cause you to miss. For instance, "Their is a hoarse sale taking plaice this mourning" would seem perfectly correct if it were to be read aloud to you rather than you reading it aloud yourself.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Bibliophile
    The only way for one of TRAPPIST-1's planets to appear the size of the moon to another would be if the two planets in question shared an orbit around a common barycenter.
    Roughly 1 million kilometers (more or less) separate TRAPPIST-1 d from c and e. Both of the latter planets are approximately the size of the earth (c is a little larger and e a little smaller). But just using round numbers for the sake of simplicity, this would mean that seen from TRAPPIST-1d, the others would appear to be about 0.73 degrees in the sky. The moon appears to be 0.5 degrees in earth's sky. So the largest these two planets would appear in the sky of TRAPPIST-1d would be less than half again that of earth's moon.
  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country Librarian
    Apologies as I hadn't looked at the details for the TRAPPIST-1 system. Perhaps my earlier statement  would have been better phrased that only at closest orbital approach would either planet appear to be the size (more or less) of Terra's moon. A regularly occurring while not a constant phenomena.

    What can I say, Pandemonium Central was jumping earlier.
    The only way for one of TRAPPIST-1's planets to appear the size of the moon to another would be if the two planets in question shared an orbit around a common barycenter.
    Roughly 1 million kilometers (more or less) separate TRAPPIST-1 d from c and e. Both of the latter planets are approximately the size of the earth (c is a little larger and e a little smaller). But just using round numbers for the sake of simplicity, this would mean that seen from TRAPPIST-1d, the others would appear to be about 0.73 degrees in the sky. The moon appears to be 0.5 degrees in earth's sky. So the largest these two planets would appear in the sky of TRAPPIST-1d would be less than half again that of earth's moon.

  • Paul_Lulu said:
    The improvements are very noticeable! Particularly in my desire to be engaged in the second half. I felt much more in the moment of re-entry and danger, the confusion and stress - it all comes through with more immediacy.

    Thanks Paul! That's what I was hoping. By the way, did you feel that NISQA becomes somewhat of a character? I know it's a stretch. There's no AI in my world, especially in the time period in question, so I couldn't make the computer into a proper character. But I think it helped by emphasizing that the computer is in charge of so many people.

    —Michael
  • The only way for one of TRAPPIST-1's planets to appear the size of the moon to another would be if the two planets in question shared an orbit around a common barycenter.
    Roughly 1 million kilometers (more or less) separate TRAPPIST-1 d from c and e. Both of the latter planets are approximately the size of the earth (c is a little larger and e a little smaller). But just using round numbers for the sake of simplicity, this would mean that seen from TRAPPIST-1d, the others would appear to be about 0.73 degrees in the sky. The moon appears to be 0.5 degrees in earth's sky. So the largest these two planets would appear in the sky of TRAPPIST-1d would be less than half again that of earth's moon.
    Cool--thanks for that. I figured I was off, but then again, this is the far future and things have changed. Some amount of terraforming has happened, as the opening chapter hints. ;)

    —Michael
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Bibliophile
    Apologies as I hadn't looked at the details for the TRAPPIST-1 system. Perhaps my earlier statement  would have been better phrased that only at closest orbital approach would either planet appear to be the size (more or less) of Terra's moon. A regularly occurring while not a constant phenomena.


    Perfectly correct!
    And this kind of ties in with the author's idea of having the planets affect each other's weather or climate.
  • Paul_Lulu said:
    The improvements are very noticeable! Particularly in my desire to be engaged in the second half. I felt much more in the moment of re-entry and danger, the confusion and stress - it all comes through with more immediacy.

    Thanks Paul! That's what I was hoping. By the way, did you feel that NISQA becomes somewhat of a character? I know it's a stretch. There's no AI in my world, especially in the time period in question, so I couldn't make the computer into a proper character. But I think it helped by emphasizing that the computer is in charge of so many people.

    —Michael
    Yes! Particularly in the sort of desperate dialog (via the warning announcements). Like, we know this AI knows no one can hear it's announcements, but the AI makes them anyway. A very human reaction to a terrifying situation.
    Even without using an AI anywhere else in the story, I think there's value in instilling some life in this very brief character as a way to help us understand the universe we're in.
  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country Librarian
    If I remember correctly weather on the three planets in question would be a bit more affected due to tidal extremes at closest planetary approaches while climate would be more affected by the characteristics and proximity of the central M-Class star.

    Having just looked at a breakdown of the system and the orbital periods involved for the potentially habitable planets as well as the effects of XUV on atmospheric composition it looks like the system would be challenging to settle.
    Apologies as I hadn't looked at the details for the TRAPPIST-1 system. Perhaps my earlier statement  would have been better phrased that only at closest orbital approach would either planet appear to be the size (more or less) of Terra's moon. A regularly occurring while not a constant phenomena.


    Perfectly correct!
    And this kind of ties in with the author's idea of having the planets affect each other's weather or climate.

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Bibliophile
    If I remember correctly weather on the three planets in question would be a bit more affected due to tidal extremes at closest planetary approaches while climate would be more affected by the characteristics and proximity of the central M-Class star.

    Having just looked at a breakdown of the system and the orbital periods involved for the potentially habitable planets as well as the effects of XUV on atmospheric composition it looks like the system would be challenging to settle.
    Apologies as I hadn't looked at the details for the TRAPPIST-1 system. Perhaps my earlier statement  would have been better phrased that only at closest orbital approach would either planet appear to be the size (more or less) of Terra's moon. A regularly occurring while not a constant phenomena.


    Perfectly correct!
    And this kind of ties in with the author's idea of having the planets affect each other's weather or climate.

    A planet four times the size of the moon but four times further away would not be much different than a planet the same size as the moon orbiting at the same distance as the moon (the inverse square law). Likewise, a planet the same size as the earth four times further away than the moon would not affect the earth any more than the moon does. (If the TRAPPIST-1 planets orbited one another, as the earth and moon do, there would be other things to consider, such as tides.) The several TRAPPIST-1 planets, because of their proximity, would have an effect on the periods of each other's orbits, which are in resonance, but that is about all I would think. 

    Any tidal effects would be largely limited to the planet itself and any oceans or seas it may have...not its atmosphere.

    One of the star's effects on all of the TRAPPIST-1 planets is its dimness and coolness. Any plants, for instance, would probably be dark blue, purple or black---instead of green---in order to more efficiently absorb energy from the sunlight.

    Another problem is that many if not most red dwarfs are also flare stars, which might pose a real problem.


  • greyowlstudiogreyowlstudio Reader
    edited January 30
    A planet four times the size of the moon but four times further away would not be much different than a planet the same size as the moon orbiting at the same distance as the moon (the inverse square law). Likewise, a planet the same size as the earth four times further away than the moon would not affect the earth any more than the moon does. (If the TRAPPIST-1 planets orbited one another, as the earth and moon do, there would be other things to consider, such as tides.) The several TRAPPIST-1 planets, because of their proximity, would have an effect on the periods of each other's orbits, which are in resonance, but that is about all I would think. 

    Any tidal effects would be largely limited to the planet itself and any oceans or seas it may have...not its atmosphere.

    One of the star's effects on all of the TRAPPIST-1 planets is its dimness and coolness. Any plants, for instance, would probably be dark blue, purple or black---instead of green---in order to more efficiently absorb energy from the sunlight.

    Another problem is that many if not most red dwarfs are also flare stars, which might pose a real problem.
    Since TRAPPIST-1 is rather pinkish and red, wouldn't green would be a complement to that color and therefore cancel out a lot of the light's energy? There is a sage-like plant on TRAPPIST-1e in my book that is purplish in color.

    Do you happen to know if there is any way to determine how many moons (and how much mass) a planet of a certain mass can maintain in orbit around itself? I have a planet in my book that is roughly twice the diameter of Earth--not sure what the mass would be in this case--and it has nine moons, three of which are relatively large, one of which is Earth-like in size. I was not sure if the physics of that would work out or not.

    —Michael
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Bibliophile
    edited January 30


    Since TRAPPIST-1 is rather pinkish and red, wouldn't green would be a complement to that color and therefore cancel out a lot of the light's energy? There is a sage-like plant on TRAPPIST-1e in my book that is purplish in color.

    Do you happen to know if there is any way to determine how many moons (and how much mass) a planet of a certain mass can maintain in orbit around itself? I have a planet in my book that is roughly twice the diameter of Earth--not sure what the mass would be in this case--and it has nine moons, three of which are relatively large, one of which is Earth-like in size. I was not sure if the physics of that would work out or not.

    —Michael
    That's pretty much what I said: that plants on the TRAPPIST-1 planets would appear to be dark blue, purple or even black. Terrestrial plants look green because they absorb light from the red end of the spectrum and reflect everything else. Because a red dwarf star radiates largely in the red end of the spectrum, there is little left to reflect...hence the plants would appear to be very dark. It would be like looking at a sheet of red paper under a red light. There is also the fact that because the level of illumination is relatively low compared to our sun, the plants need to be able to absorb energy from as much of the available light as possible.

    Here is an illustration I did to show what plant life on such a planet might look like.


    I don't know if there is any upper limit as to how many moons a planet can have. Jupiter has 53 and, technically, Saturn has billions. Uranus is only 5 times larger than the earth and has at least 27 moons.

    I think your main worry would be the effects of resonance---the mutual effect of gravity as each satellite orbits the planet. The planets of TRAPPIST-1, for instance, have settled down into nearly whole ratios respectively. For instance (and for simplicity's sake) let's pretend that there are only three planets in the system, A, B and C, counting from the star out. For every time the inner planet, A, orbits the star planet B orbits 2 times and C orbits 3 times. In other words, A and B have an orbital ratio of 1:2 and B and C a ratio of 2:3. This sort of thing has resulted in the stability of the TRAPPIST-1 system. The same thing has happened in our own solar system, where the earth, Venus and Mercury orbit the sun in similar whole number ratios, as do the satellites of Jupiter and Saturn. In fact, the latter provides a great demonstration of this. The large gaps in Saturn's rings, such as the Cassini Division, are caused by resonance effects. As one of the outer moons, such as Titan let's say, orbits the planet it will create a drag on ring particles that are behind it and a pull on those ahead. This speeds up some and slows down others. When the distance between the ring particles and Titan is exactly the right proportion (one of those whole-number ratios I mentioned: for instance, for every single orbit of a ring particle, Titan makes four orbits, or 1:4), these kicks and pulls occur at regular intervals, eventually clearing a space in the ring. 

    I'm no physicist so you will probably find a better explanation here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_resonance

    I should think that if you had a planet the size of the earth orbiting a planet twice the size of the earth you would wind up with a binary system. This would occur because the center of mass---the barycenter---would fall somewhere in the space between the two. For example, the moon doesn't circle around the center of the earth. It orbits the barycenter, which lies only about 1000 miles below the surface of the earth. Your system would surely have its barycenter well above the surface of the larger world. The two would spin around that point like an asymmetrical barbell. I have no idea what this might do to any other satellites, but I suspect that it would make life very, very complicated for them!

    Perhaps a model for your system might take a clue from that of Pluto and its moon Charon. Charon is only a little more than half the size of Pluto, so the proportions are about the same as in the system you want in your book. Pluto is about 8.5 times as massive as Charon, so the barycenter the two bodies orbit lies between them, well above the surface of Pluto. The result is a true binary system.

    There are four outer moons that orbit Pluto and Charon (although their orbits and rotations are described as being inexplicably "chaotic"). What they are orbiting, of course, is not Pluto by itself but the Pluto-Charon pair as though they were a single body. That is, they orbit the center of gravity---the barycenter---of the two.

    So if Pluto's system works, I suppose yours would, too.

    Here is a diagram I made to show how the earth and moon orbit their mutual barycenter:

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country Librarian
    I'm neither a physicist nor an astronomer and I haven't played one on TV, but I am still a decent enough analyst and researcher so I'll interject my two centavos and hope I don't get shot down.

    Posit an M-Class star similar to TAPPSIT-1. Barring an extraordinary speed of rotation at formation and before inward migration, planets within the star's HZ [Habitable Zone] would normally be tidally locked, i.e.: one side always facing the star. This would indicate the best places for life would be at the terminator line[s] where twilight would keep the climate more or less temperate.

    In a case where a larger terrestrial type planet co-orbits with one or more companions cumulatively similar in mass the equation changes. Even if as solitary planets they normally would be tidally locked, you now have something similar to planetary rotation as the partners orbit their common barycenter while also orbiting the host star. This would tend to lend itself to more of a terrestrial climate with weather driven by liquid water.

    Next you need a high metallicity leading to more opaqueness of the host star in order to limit XUV [X-ray / UV] flare bombardment, which depending on orbit would make the surface untenable for most life as we know it.

    Add the different factors together and the system would work as long as the co-orbiting planets were in a good resonance with other planets orbiting the central star.

    Then again I need more caffeine.
  • "Behind the black emitters is a massive engine, which occupies nearly one third of the entire ship. Inside is a spherical chamber. All steely and mirror-like, it hums away, a ghostly flare of light emanating from its center, deep within a silvery core. An electrical crackling buzzes around the walls, carrying the immense power throughout the entire ship."

    I see you removed the word "massive" from the description of the ship's size, replaced it with "modest". But then use "massive" to describe the size of the engine. It's all relative still. The engine is inside the ship so therefore is no more "massive" than the ship. If you notice in SF that when earth ships come across alien ships, the latter ships really are massive in comparison, often as big as planets. It's a method used to display the advanced technology they possess, above ours. Your ship is comparatively tiny, not even as big as an engine in a modern day supertanker. Is the spherical chamber within the engine? I am not sure. This is not something one would like in any structure! - "An electrical crackling buzzes around the walls"! and there's that word "massive" again. Beware of the overuse of the same superlatives.

    You may say I am being pernickity, but it's the details that can make a story.



    (Hrmm, whenever it updates a save, bits of my text vanish!)

    How Do
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Bibliophile
    edited January 30
    You are right: the TRAPPIST-1 planets---the inner ones at least---are almost certainly tidally locked, so that they keep one face perpetually facing their star (though for a very long time astronomers thought that Mercury was tidally locked, too, so one is hesitant to be too dogmatic about this!). But if these worlds are fortunate enough to have atmospheres, all should be well since the circulation of the atmosphere would help distribute heat. Otherwise you would wind up with a sun-baked hemisphere, a frigid hemisphere and a temperate zone separating them. Venus is the closest example in our own solar system. It rotates only once every 116 days during its 225-day year. But in spite of this incredibly slow rotation, heat is distributed pretty evenly around the planet by the circulation of its atmosphere.

    Of course you would probably have very, very different kinds of life evolving on the two different hemispheres of a tidally locked planet and that could be pretty interesting.

    Your suggestion that the proposed binary worlds would of necessity have real days, with sunrises and sunsets, as they orbit one another is a very good one!

    Sadly for our friend's ambitions, it appears that it is probably very unlikely that any of the TRAPPIST-1 planets have significantly large moons. An astronomer with San Francisco State University has looked into this (Kane, Stephen R. (April 2017). "Worlds without Moons: Exomoon Constraints for Compact Planetary Systems". The Astrophysical Journal Letters). For TRAPPIST-1, he found that the planets are so tightly packed together that the formation of large moons would likely be impossible. 

    His methodology "involved studying the influences of two parameters: the Hill radius, or the area in space in which a planet exerts gravitational influence based on its mass and distance from the host star, and the Roche limit, which identifies where the gravitational effect near a planet is too strong for a moon to survive. A moon can only exist around a planet if it lies between these two boundaries: too close and it will be destroyed, too far away and it will escape the gravitational influence of the planet." The results of this study showed that, for most planets in compact planetary systems, the Hill radius and Roche limit are close enough to each other that "there is no space in which a moon can exist and so such planets cannot have moons in orbit around them."

    Well, that's a bummer.

    (I believe that he is talking about fairly large moons, by the way. It may be entirely possible, so far as I know, for these planets to have captured asteroids similar to Phobos and Deimos.)

    Something else the author might want to look into for its dramatic possibilities is the very strong likelihood of vulcanism on these worlds due to all of the gravitational tugging going on in such a tight system---similar to that occurring on Io. This would probably be most pronounced on the inner two planets where these effects would be most pronounced.
  • I thought it was shown that the gaps in Saturn's rings are caused by 'shepherds'. Lumps of rock or ice larger than the mass. 
    How Do
  • One thing to think about is the effect moons have on a planet, and the tilt of the planet. The Earth would be a very different place without the tilt and our moon.
    How Do
  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country Librarian
    One factor on co-orbiting planets driving rotation would be the event[s] that drove formation of the collective.

    The event that formed the Terra-Luna binary imparted a faster rotation as evidenced by the growth rings of ancient corals. During the Silurian a year had 420 days at approximately 20.857 hours each while during the Devonian a year had 410 days at roughly 21.366 hours.

    The previous is an example on tidal drag slowing down rotation of the primary while the secondary slowly distances itself.

    For an M-Class system the central star's tidal drag on the planets would eventually slow planetary rotation, enough for a tidal lock or an extremely long day depending on the speed of the original rotation.

    Simply put planetary rotation [per your examples of Mercury and Venus] isn't as simple as it would seem.

    If the author has some specs on his system, it shouldn't take that long to work out orbits and periods.
  • greyowlstudiogreyowlstudio Reader
    edited January 30
    Thanks for all the astronomy information. It is helpful. 

    Just to point out something, my large planet with lots of moons has nothing to do with TRAPPIST-1. It's a completely different system.

    In the book, TRAPPIST-1e is not tidally-locked. Initially, the Daedalus photon drive probes returned data showing it to have a very slow rotation, but the rotation is now faster for mysterious reasons. The hints being in the first chapter.

    --Michael
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Bibliophile
    Thanks for all the astronomy information. It is helpful. 

    Just to point out something, my large planet with lots of moons has nothing to do with TRAPPIST-1. It's a completely different system.

    --Michael

    Oh, now you tell us!  ;)

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Bibliophile
    I thought it was shown that the gaps in Saturn's rings are caused by 'shepherds'. Lumps of rock or ice larger than the mass. 
    The large gaps, such as Cassini's Division, are caused by Saturn's moons.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Bibliophile
    edited January 30
    One thing to think about is the effect moons have on a planet, and the tilt of the planet. The Earth would be a very different place without the tilt and our moon.
    Indeed! And there is a lot of very plausible speculation that the evolution of life on earth would have been a lot more difficult---or at least very different---without our large moon. One thing it does is stabilize the earth's axis which in turn kept large climatic changes to a minimum.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Bibliophile
    See what happens when you want to write hard science fiction? You have to get your science right!
  • So true. My alien planetary system may have to be adjusted. Either I can drop some moons, make the home planet bigger, or make the planet a massive gas giant with many moons orbiting it, and the home world becomes one of the moons. None of these changes would have a significant impact on the narrative.

    Largely, this story takes place on two worlds, one of which is TRAPPIST-1e, and the other is an alien system with intelligent quasi-humanoid aliens.

    --Michael
  • "Behind the black emitters is a massive engine, which occupies nearly one third of the entire ship. Inside is a spherical chamber. All steely and mirror-like, it hums away, a ghostly flare of light emanating from its center, deep within a silvery core. An electrical crackling buzzes around the walls, carrying the immense power throughout the entire ship."

    I see you removed the word "massive" from the description of the ship's size, replaced it with "modest". But then use "massive" to describe the size of the engine. It's all relative still. The engine is inside the ship so therefore is no more "massive" than the ship. If you notice in SF that when earth ships come across alien ships, the latter ships really are massive in comparison, often as big as planets. It's a method used to display the advanced technology they possess, above ours. Your ship is comparatively tiny, not even as big as an engine in a modern day supertanker. Is the spherical chamber within the engine? I am not sure. This is not something one would like in any structure! - "An electrical crackling buzzes around the walls"! and there's that word "massive" again. Beware of the overuse of the same superlatives.

    You may say I am being pernickity, but it's the details that can make a story.



    (Hrmm, whenever it updates a save, bits of my text vanish!)

    Nice artwork! The grey planet coincidentally looks likes the Ch'k li'ak Mind-Hive in my book. It's an entire moon that has been converted into a massive artificial structure.

    As for the engine size issue, it's all relative. Maybe as far as most spacecraft in science-fiction go, 100 meters long and ten meters wide doesn't seem that big, but look at what spaceships we have today. The Saturn V was 110 meters in length, and I think most people would consider it to be 'massive'. Furthermore, if you were looking up at a sphere that was over 10 meters/33 feet in diameter, you would likely describe it as 'massive'. I think you can say that the ship is not very big relatively speaking, simply because the other ships in the world setting (in a bit of foreshadowing) are generally larger, but then still describe the engines as massive. The main reason I changed it was because the word was used too much, not because it wasn't appropriate.

    --Michael
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Bibliophile
    So true. My alien planetary system may have to be adjusted. Either I can drop some moons, make the home planet bigger, or make the planet a massive gas giant with many moons orbiting it, and the home world becomes one of the moons. None of these changes would have a significant impact on the narrative.

    Largely, this story takes place on two worlds, one of which is TRAPPIST-1e, and the other is an alien system with intelligent quasi-humanoid aliens.

    --Michael
    Allan Steele did something like what you suggest in his Coyote series, which takes place on an earth-sized world orbiting a gas giant planet in the 47 Ursae Majoris system. It certainly a very viable idea!
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Bibliophile
    edited January 30

    "Behind the black emitters is a massive engine, which occupies nearly one third of the entire ship. Inside is a spherical chamber. All steely and mirror-like, it hums away, a ghostly flare of light emanating from its center, deep within a silvery core. An electrical crackling buzzes around the walls, carrying the immense power throughout the entire ship."

    I see you removed the word "massive" from the description of the ship's size, replaced it with "modest". But then use "massive" to describe the size of the engine. It's all relative still. The engine is inside the ship so therefore is no more "massive" than the ship. If you notice in SF that when earth ships come across alien ships, the latter ships really are massive in comparison, often as big as planets. It's a method used to display the advanced technology they possess, above ours. Your ship is comparatively tiny, not even as big as an engine in a modern day supertanker. Is the spherical chamber within the engine? I am not sure. This is not something one would like in any structure! - "An electrical crackling buzzes around the walls"! and there's that word "massive" again. Beware of the overuse of the same superlatives.

    You may say I am being pernickity, but it's the details that can make a story.



    (Hrmm, whenever it updates a save, bits of my text vanish!)

    Nice artwork! The grey planet coincidentally looks likes the Ch'k li'ak Mind-Hive in my book. It's an entire moon that has been converted into a massive artificial structure.

    As for the engine size issue, it's all relative. Maybe as far as most spacecraft in science-fiction go, 100 meters long and ten meters wide doesn't seem that big, but look at what spaceships we have today. The Saturn V was 110 meters in length, and I think most people would consider it to be 'massive'. Furthermore, if you were looking up at a sphere that was over 10 meters/33 feet in diameter, you would likely describe it as 'massive'. I think you can say that the ship is not very big relatively speaking, simply because the other ships in the world setting (in a bit of foreshadowing) are generally larger, but then still describe the engines as massive. The main reason I changed it was because the word was used too much, not because it wasn't appropriate.

    --Michael
    Perhaps what Kevin was trying to say was that there is a difference between "massive" and "big"...at least technically. For instance, if you had two spheres, each 1000 feet in diameter, one filled with air and the other filled with concrete, the latter would be by far the more massive of the two. Of course, you could just as easily use the word in its more colloquial sense.

    Here is an example. I recently did an illustration depicting Dyson Spheres. Or, to be more exact, Dyson Bubbles, which is one of several variants on the concept. One of these surrounding a star might have a diameter of 2 AU---about 186 million miles---which is pretty darned huge---but would contain no more mass than the asteroid Pallas (3.50 x 10^17 tons). So they are huge, vast, enormous...but not massive.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country Librarian
    Hard Sci-Fi does take some good ciphering beyond the aught plus aught equals aught level.

    This is also why I prefer a K-Class star as a setting, a bit easier on the constraints.
    See what happens when you want to write hard science fiction? You have to get your science right!

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