When you wish upon a star…

Posted by on Feb 2, 2013 in Progress Report

All, thanks for your continued support. I hope to be bringing you an update a week on progress, sometimes more and sometimes less. A fair bit to talk about this week, so here goes!

I had an interview this week with Penny Grubb, of Fantastic Books Publishing. I wrote a short story for one of their sci-fi anthologies last year. Here’s the interview, and if you’re interested in a copy of the anthology it’s here. It is rather good, even if I do say so myself, and 10% of profits are being donated to cancer research.

My previous entry was all about the location for Elite:Reclamation, the previously mentioned ‘Wolf 630’ system.

Welcome to the Wolf 630 system, Commander!

Welcome to the Wolf 630 system, Commander!

I’ve been having further chats with Frontier regarding the history of the system, and the naming of some of the objects within it. The good news is that Frontier is happy with the changes, and so I can reveal them to you.

Here’s how the system is described in FFE (the 3rd Elite Game) in the year 3250.

“Landfall has one of the most interesting skies of all the known habitable planets, with no less than six stars bright enough to cast shadows at some time. It also has the best preserved indigenous wildlife which cohabits successfully, often to the exclusion of introduced life.”

What you’ll see in your planetary gazetteer when you play Elite:Dangerous  (the year 3300) will be this…

“Landfall was a pleasant agricultural world until large deposits of Quarterite* were discovered in 3271. Shortly afterwards, the system was seized by the Loren ‘Lineage’ (an Imperial family related to the ruling Duval Dynasty). A failed coup in 3299 resulted in widespread devastation on the planet. The system remains unstable at this time and traders are advised to proceed with caution.”

*Quarterite is a raw material used in the manufacture of military hyperdrive technology.

I’ve also been renaming some of the objects in the system. The “Mayflower High” space station is no more, replaced by a vast orbital processing facility known as “Hiram’s Anchorage”. Quarterite is refined and shipped out of the system from this enormous facility in orbit around the planet “Landfall.”

The huge orbital processing facility "Hiram's Anchorage."

The huge orbital processing facility “Hiram’s Anchorage.”

The system retains its strange beauty though, here’s a vessel departing “Landfall”, at dawn local time, with three of the five red dwarfs visible in the sky. At certain times of the year “Landfall” experiences complete illumination due to the positioning of the various different stars that make up the system; banishing ‘night’ for weeks at a time.

An early morning departure from "Landfall"

An early morning departure from “Landfall”

“Landfall” itself orbits a Brown dwarf (think a large and slightly luminous “Jupiter” – almost a star, but not quite) – this is now called “Du Maurier” – the literary amongst you will get that reference. In FFE the brown dwarf is in orbit around a White Dwarf called “Van Biesbroeck 8” – named after Belgium-American Astronomer . It turns out that it’s a Red Dwarf, not a White Dwarf in real life, something that has been confirmed since 1995 I guess.

Fuel scooping in the atmosphere of "Du Maurier"

Fuel scooping in the atmosphere of “Du Maurier”

So there are five Red Dwarfs in this system. Four have no planets, one (the aforementioned “Van Biesbroeck 8”is orbited by brown dwarf “Du Maurier”, which in turn is orbited by the habitable planet “Landfall” – you got that? 😉

There will be a White Dwarf star in the story though. These are nasty little things, the leftover remains of a star that’s come to the end of its life and has gone nova. Imagine something the size of a sun, compressed down to the size of the Earth. Enormous gravity and weird and deadly radiation. Another interesting plot consideration!

With gravity a million times stronger than the Earth, it's wise not to get too close to a White Dwarf!

With gravity a million times stronger than the Earth, it’s wise not to get too close!

Going back to the Red Dwarfs in Wolf 630 though, these stars are also known for their occasional ‘flares’, sudden and dangerous increases in brightness and radiation. Ships and personnel have to be especially protected or adapted to these conditions. This will be an important plot consideration too.

Monitoring stations in close orbit provide early warning of dangerous flares.

Monitoring stations in close orbit provide early warning of dangerous flares.

So the locale is set and approved. The plot is awaiting feedback from my editor at this point in time, but the initial indications look good – so the next update will talk about what impact that will have on the outcome of the book. See you next week!

"Landfall" and the Brown Dwarf "Du Maurier"

“Landfall” and the Brown Dwarf “Du Maurier”

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  1. Thank you, These are awesome updates! Keep these coming 🙂

    • Fantastic, I’d love to know where you get the art done.

  2. The update shows considerable progress in the preparation of an excellent book. We think in terms of reference of positioning of galaxies in space relative to Earth and our solar system.

    I should like to suggest the following:

    It may be more accurate to think of the location of the big bang itself (Origin). The Origin co-ordinate would be assigned x=y=z=0 and x,y,z are axes at 90 degrees to one another and range in value(s) from -x,-y,-z to x,y,z as the navigational point in question relative to origin. Thus we could define on a 3-dimensional map, the relative position of anything in the universe together with orbits and the finer precise detail of interstellar and interplantetary navigation.
    y z
    | /
    / |
    -z -y

    This would allow detail of the expanding and explored universe to be plotted relative to the arbitary fixed point (Origin) in a fashion similar to GMT on Earth..


  3. Sorry about the x,y,z axes they moved when I posted comment 🙁

    • If I understand correctly the big bang didn’t happen at a single point, it was “kinda” everywhere.

      • I was going to add this too. No point of origin for the big bang, it was everywhere and nowhere… 😉

        • Then I understand you mean Multifocal in origin and possibly at different intervals of time?

          There again, it would be useful to have an arbitary central point as a point of reference (or callibration) especially if the whole universe is expanding.

          You are working hard. This book will contribute much to the experience of Elite Dangerous itself – The whole package is so much greater than the sum of its parts ! Regards, Joe

  4. You might want to touch up the grammar in that Planetary Gazetteer entry a little..

    “A failed coup in 3299 resulted widespread devastation on the planet.”

    ‘resulted in widespread devastation’ would be seem to be called for. 😉

    • You’ve just signed up for the guild of honorary proofreaders. Congratulations sir! 🙂

      • Fortunately, that’s something I’m good at! 😀

  5. Spoiling us again Drew! Another superb update.

  6. Awesome update, Drew. The setting looks beautiful and detailed. Good work all round.

  7. Thanks for the great update, Drew. I really love the detail that you go into as well as the excellent artwork you use.

    It’s great to see your book evolving and it’s clear that you are putting a lot of thought and effort into it. I am looking forward to future updates already!

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