Wow, thanks to those readers who sent me e-mails about whether I needed to care whether my fictional crew of a shuttle mission were credible or not. Credible as in pure in heart and deed as per the public conception of NASA crew rather than as that of Red Dwarf’s menagerie of human and near-human beings. Also thanks to those who left me comments in this blog machinery. Maria actually works, now and then, with the real astronauts when they have to plod around on the ground, so she knows they are real people with the kinda sense of humour and foibles I imbue my fictional characters with.
I disappeared from my street this last week as my hard-working teacher wife hurled me into our car for a holiday break in Devon, UK. Luckily I had time to grab a laptop or my writing would have suffered withdrawal symptoms. But I thoroughly relished the Eden Project in Cornwall near St. Austell. They have two huge plastic envelope biomes, large enough for the tallest rainforest trees and low level cumulus clouds – hah! Excellent display of plants and the smaller of creatures that inhabit those places for real. As I wondered around that, and the Mediterranean biome, I couldn’t help but think of how those kind of giant plastic bubbles would fare in the initial stages of terraforming Mars. Extra asteroid and micrometeorite protection would be required on a planet with such a thin atmosphere. Maybe ground-to-air missiles would be transported over there – with instructions to not fire on incoming asteroids with friendly flags displayed.
On returning home I found a dreaded self-addressed envelope on the doormat. Yes, the first rejection from a literary agency of my renewed, revised and re-invigorated Left Luggage sci fi trilogy. Anubis say: “Unfortunately, the material you are proposing is not quite what we are looking for.” They also wish me luck with other agencies – so thanks for those positive wishes, though an indication of what you are actually looking for, if not a mind-blowing original premise sci fi novel, would have been handy!