teaser: DIY project: home brew spaceship

Duncan cut in “What are you guys talking about?”

Max said “Yeah, what ARE you talking about?”

John pointed to the specifications of the old Apollo landing module on the wallscreen.

Duncan shrugged “OK, but why is this so exciting?”

Blue answered him “We’ve been thinking about sending a radio beacon over the horizon…but how much do one human and a few dogs weigh?”

Duncan thought for a moment – “I don’t know – maybe 500 kilograms
including suits?”

John grinned “Getting to orbit on Earth is a huge deal – you don’t just have to gain altitude, you’ve got to get up to Mach 20 or so. But here on the moon -”

Duncan finally got it. “Holy crap! You two think we can build our our spaceship!”

John nodded. “Something simple – an open frame, four seats, and an engine. We scavenge through the wreckage of Gamma’s facility to find some propellant, we salvage a CNC machine, hack an interface to it, and we turn a small rocket bell.”

Max raised one skeptical eyebrow. “You’re proposing that we try to ride a pillar of exploding hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide – salvaged from a facility that was nuked less than a day ago – and channel that thrust through a rocket bell created by a bunch of amateurs using CNC machines that are utterly out of calibration after being hit with an atom bomb?”

John and Blue said nothing.

Max shook his head. “Look, I’m all up for dangerous stunts, but if I’m going to die, I’d like it to be in a shoot out with the PKs –

Duncan whined. “Guys?”

Max continued ” – surrounded by fifty or so of their corpses, having run out of ammunition -”


” – not barbecued in my suit when a rocket bell explodes!”


John turned “Yeah, Duncan?”

“The second PK ship is down there in the crater. Why don’t we just salvage an AG module off of it? It came down softly – there must be at least one of them still working.”

John opened his mouth and realized he didn’t have an answer to the question.

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4 Responses to teaser: DIY project: home brew spaceship

  1. Max Lybbert says:

    I’ve been enjoying these little snippets. Especially since they’re all new material, at least as far as I’m concerned.

    • Travis J I Corcoran says:

      Thanks! It’s nice to get the feedback.

      I apologize for the fact that so many of these snippets in a row all follow John and the Dogs – that reflects a bit of an underlying problem: in this section of the book I don’t “switch camera angles” as often as I should (and as often as I do elsewhere in the novel).

      • Max Lybbert says:

        I don’t see a need to apologize. I thought it was either intentional (“read these in a row, the story will make sense”) or an artifact of editing a particular chapter instead of jumping around the book.

        But I guess movie ads are somewhat notorious for jumping around the story and showing unrelated snippets. Of course, they’re also notorious for showing the only good scenes in the entire movie.

        • Travis J I Corcoran says:

          The deal is that in doing draft 2, I followed each thread in order, so that the threads were INTERNALLY consistent (follow John and the Dogs in chapters 2, 18, 22, 41, etc., then come back and follow the college kids in chapters 11, 19, 27, etc.).

          Draft 3 is being done in linear order, to make sure that the interactions between the threads work, that the pacing works, etc.

          So, I edit chapter 50 on one day and post an excerpt, then chapter 51 on the next day and post an excerpt, then chapter 52, etc.

          Ideally, I think, the book should be written so that it interleaves all these threads, to keep the tension building IN PARALLEL.

          So, that’s something that I need to fix in this section of the book: while John and the Dogs are having shoot-outs on Farside, what’s going on back at Aristillus?

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