The following just in from steampunk and scifi author David Lee Summers:
This past week, I’ve been reading the fine steampunk adventure Arabella on Mars
by David D. Levine. It’s a fine novel that won the 2017 Andre Norton
Award for best young adult novel. One of this fantasy novel’s conceits
is that it imagines an atmosphere in interplanetary space that allows
ships to sail between planets in the 1800s.
When I read the novel, I couldn’t help but think that while sailing
between the planets without an atmosphere would have been beyond
nineteenth century technology, it’s not beyond our current technology.
In fact, I wrote a futuristic science fiction novel about such a journey
called The Solar Sea. Solar sails don’t work by harnessing
wind, or even the so-called solar wind, but they move by light pressure.
About three years ago, I wrote a post that goes into some detail about
how it works. You can read more here: https://davidleesummers.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/solar-sailing/
In my novel, I imagine a future where humans got as far as building
lunar factories, but the will to go farther out into space died. While I
know there’s still a strong interest in exploring space, I fear many of
the people who control this country’s money don’t see the value in
investing real money in all aspects of space exploration. As an example,
the Trump administration routinely touts it’s support of space
exploration, yet proposed significant cuts to astronomy funding in its
I sometimes wonder if it will take a major discovery to give us the
impetus to push out into space again as we did in the 1960s and 1970s.
In the novel, a technician from the Very Large Array radio telescope in
New Mexico discovers powerful particles orbiting Saturn’s moon, Titan,
which could be a new energy source. When the discovery is announced,
whales around the world changed their songs.
This chain of events encourages the owner of the powerful Quinn
Corporation to build a solar sail to find the source of these particles
in Titan’s orbit. He gathers the best and brightest team to pilot his
craft: Jonathan Jefferson, an aging astronaut known as the last man on
Mars; Natalie Freeman, a distinguished Navy captain; Myra Lee, a
biologist specializing in whale communication; and John O’Connell, the
technician who first discovered the particles. All together they make a
grand tour of the solar system and discover not only wonders but dangers
beyond their imagination.
Earlier this year, my publisher and I decided to take The Solar Sea
out of print. There were several reasons for this. Partly, science
and technology have caught up with the novel and I thought I worthwhile
to revise it to make it more accurate. Partly the ebook was created
ages ago and wasn’t up to the standards of newer ebooks, so I want to
address this aspect as well. Once I finish work on my steampunk novel Owl Riders, I will turn my attention to some of my out of print titles.
In the meantime, I have a few copies of the first edition of The Solar Sea left in my stock and I’m even offering them at half off the cover price. You can order copies at http://www.hadrosaur.com/bookstore.html#solarsea. I would be delighted to sign any copies you buy. Just email me at hadrosaur [at] zianet [dot] com
(replacing the info between the brackets with the relevant characters)
and let me know that you would like it signed. If you would like them
personalized, just tell me so and let me know who to sign the book to.