To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe

Posted by on Mar 2, 2013 in Progress Report

Room with a view

This is the time, this is the place…

Today’s quote courtesy of Anatole France (a French chap with an absolutely stonking moustache – worth a Google)

Back with the weekly update and lots to tell you about.

Firstly, those excellent chaps over at Lave Radio have published an interview with me they recorded on Thursday. These guys are producing these excellent podcasts free and gratis for the Elite fan community and there is a lot of work involved, kudos to them. My thanks in particular to Chris Forrester who interviewed me. It was great fun. If you haven’t already heard it, the interview is here.

Secondly, as I hinted last week, Frontier has started doing some official ‘Fiction Diaries’. You’ll have seen Michael talking about the structure of the three main powers in the Elite universe: the Federation, the Empire and the Alliance. The structure of the Empire has been particularly interesting to me, as I’ve had to adjust my plot to cater for that. There’ll be more of these diaries as we go on and, I’m hoping, some feature spots on the various books. Stay tuned.

(And yes, the Thargoids are all girls – it’s true!)

Thirdly, and most importantly for us…

Frontier has signed off my plot!

This is a major milestone, as it means I can start writing from Monday as per my plan. Work officially commences on the 4th!

There are a few caveats to this. Some of the detail I need simply doesn’t exist or hasn’t been decided yet, so I’ve got a few places in the plot where there are some <ToBeDecided> markers. I don’t believe any of these are particularly problematic, so it’s full speed ahead for now.

I have a bunch of detail that I’ve worked on for the revised planetary descriptions. The location is still not 100% guaranteed not to change, but it’s firm enough for now.

As I mentioned last week, the primary location is a habitable moon called “Chione” in orbit around an ocean world called “Daedalion” in the “Prism” system. Chione, whilst a moon, is very earth-like, though it will likely have slightly lower gravity.

Here it is:

Chione, in orbit around Daedalion

Chione, in orbit around Daedalion

Chione is ‘tidally locked’ to Daedalion, in much the same way as our Moon always faces the Earth. From Chione, Daedalion remains stationary in the sky, if you’re in a location which can see it. This produces some quick interesting effects, which I’ve modelled for you using a timelapse video…

So what’s next? I start writing, it’s as simple as that!

It's not much more than a blank sheet right now...

It’s not much more than a blank sheet right now…

See you next week.

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Longest way round is the shortest way home

    16 Comments

  1. I’m liking the idea of a daily eclipse. Will everyone be totally blasé or will it be siesta or fiesta time? Does anyone [still] believe it to be mystical and that if their firstborn doesn’t chant the appropriate phrase at sunrise the eclipse might stop happening and the planet will overheat and everyone will be burned to a crisp? I know… you can’t say; it’s a secret (sshhhhh).

    • They’ll have got used to the Eclipse, but it will feature as part of the plot. There are advantages to having a predictable bit of darkness on demand. 😉

    • In such a world it would be highly unlikely for such beliefs to come about in the first place.. can you, for instance, point to any society on Earth that believed such actions necessary to ensure the sun rose every morning?

      • Bear in mind this world has been colonised in the last few hundred years, there was no indigenous sentient life.

  2. Epic planetary backdrop!

    • Glad you like it John. It was fun to go exploring my world and find this location. Procedural generation is awesome! 🙂

    • Thanks Andre, and I really appreciate your input too.

  3. Beautiful setting for the story. Did you realise all the effects that such a moon’s ‘day’ would have, or did you only get a full understanding when you first modelled the cycle?

    • Hi Ann-Marie. I specifically modelled the system so it would do this. The Eclipse is a plot device I need towards the end of the story. I put in the parameters, but SpaceEngine takes it from there and turns it into a ‘real’ place.

      After it had been generated I spent a few days exploring ‘Chione’, looking for the nicest view. This one is my favourite so far. 🙂

  4. “(And yes, the Thargoids are all girls – it’s true!)”

    Hmm.. I know a Thargoid who will be none too pleased to hear that!

  5. May I suggest that due to a slight incline, that the eclipse varies slightly with the seasons, this might not be necessary for your story but more probable.
    I see that the parent planet is huge compared to the star, is that because it is a gas giant or because it is so far away from the star?

    • Hi Flavio, according to my research tidally locked worlds have negligible axil tilt relative to their parent body. Also, in this case there probably wouldn’t be much in the way of seasons either as Chione’s orbit is not inclined with respect to the orbit of Daedalion. I might have a play with this though.

      Daedalion is large in the sky due to its proximity. It’s about 2.5 times the diameter of Chione, but Chione is in a much closer orbit than our moon for example, about twice the Roche limit.

  6. Does Chione have an atmosphere? You get some spectacular effects when something as simple as a lump of rock like the moon eclipses our Sun. But then maybe that’s just to do with the diameter of the moon.

    Calling the star ‘Prism” suggests that you expect some weird refractive lightshow as the star passes by the edge of the planet. How would this lightshow appear? Or would the atmosphere be so thin compared to the diameter of the planet that the effect would be negligible?

    • Chione has an earth-like atmosphere, and it’s possible to live on the surface without any other aid. Daedalion (seen in the sky of Chione) has a thick water vapour atmosphere many times the pressure on Earth.

      The system will be called Prism due to multiple stars in the system (mostly Red Dwarfs)

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