A good way to fill your book’s acknowledgements page is to go through the relevant e-mail folder. The Left Luggage / ARIA folder held over two hundred emails. Many were the to and fro mails from the BSFA Orbiter group. Also from its original literary agent, Christopher Hill, then from various editors, who’d helped me out. I also found one from space. Okay not outer space… that would be weird, but he did e-mail me from the International Space Station! I needed to know what the struts of the ISS were made of. I needed them NOT to be magnetic in the story. I found the technical information for the tendering of the struts but no confirmation of what they were made of in the final construction. So I sent off an email. What I didn’t expect is a reply from Leroy Chiao, while he was still in orbit in early 2005. Wow.
Another expert telephoned me in 2007 while I was researching and writing the second ARIA volume. I had used star chart software to see where the stars and moon were in the sky over the South Pacific at dates in 2016. Trouble is I used two different programs and they gave me different answers so I sent a query to Astronomical societies in Australia and New Zealand. The phone rang one day and it was Professor Alan Gilmore from New Zealand. He is famous for asteroid spotting but took time out to tell me Sirius, the Dog Star, wouldn’t be visible on a particular night. He said he’d buy the book when it is published. Yeay, a guaranteed sale!
There were other experts too but sadly I’ve lost those letters and emails. For example a retired Royal Navy Commodore gave me advice on aspects of sailing across oceans in small boats and a Rarotongean chatted to me and sent me photos of her island. I can’t remember their names. Please forgive my carelessness. Authors, make notes for your ack page!