In these times when the dream of humans colonizing the other worlds in our solar system seems to get postponed over and over again, what can an author do to help maintain public interest in the subject? My choice has been to write adventure stories set in a near-future time when the first missions to establish human presence on our neighboring worlds have just begun. I’m an optimist, and I believe that those times are only a few years or decades ahead of us, and so an examination of the living conditions and behaviors of those first off-earth colonists seems in order.
It’s fun to take a conjectural look at the earliest outposts on the Moon or Mars, adding in a little human-interest coloration by considering what the living spaces and work areas might look like. However, it’s hard to hold most readers’ attention without something more. That something is usually conflict of one sort or another. I could write about different spacefarers quibbling over duties and daily routines but that would get boring petty quickly despite the exotic locale.
So, what’s a writer to do? How about — adding a murder mystery! Or a romance? Or both? After all, despite living millions of miles from their home world, space colonists will still be human. And human behavior tends toward drama, so there you go.
A prime example of one of my dramatized looks at humanity’s future in space is my short story, The Treasure of Purgatory Crater. See, it’s already got that dramatic element going in the title. Treasure? What treasure? And I don’t think I’ll be giving away too much if I suggest somebody might be willing to kill for this treasure, especially if it’s something “to die for.”
I’ve got more space adventures in the works, including one set in the first Mars settlement that I’ve tentatively entitled “The Air Maker.” Stay tuned for that one, but don’t hold your breath. It’s got some distance to go and a lot of editing before its release, which might be later this year or early next year. But when it arrives, it will surely contain all the best conjecture about that first Mars outpost that I can glean from current NASA documents and long-range plans. Oh, and again, how about a little mystery? A dead body, maybe? Starting to sound a little more interesting?
If you can’t wait for “The Air Maker” to give you a taste of intrigue in outer space, you could try my first novels in the Dinosaur Wars series, Earthfall and Counterattack. They take place on Earth in the immediate future (starting tomorrow to be precise) but each has at least a little reference to a south polar moon base (in this case, 65-million-years old). And coming soon, the third book in the series, Blood On The Moon, will take the reader to a mining complex at Phaeon Crater, where murder and mayhem abound, of course.
In my own way, I hope to increase public interest in space exploration by adding the exotic spices of mystery, murder, questing after power and wealth, and the attendant conflicts that characterize human societies wherever they may be. Read on!