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Author's notes - Book 4

At the time of wrapping up Book 4, it dawned on me that it was actually fifty (50) years ago this week that the crew of Apollo 13 was in a life and death struggle to get back...and I remember it as if it were yesterday.  At 9 years of age I thought it was exciting, but everyone around me and on the TV networks were freaking out about it!  However, all of the breakfast cerial commercials were breaking the flow for me so go fig?

Just the summer before I bought the "Apollo 11" documentary film by Todd Douglas Miller and sat my stepdaughter down and we watched it together.  Now, I thought this was going to be a bonding moment for us but, silly me, at 9 she wasn't interested in shit from fifty years ago!  She wanted to go blow that time on YouTube watching CookieSwirlC, or is it Markiplier and PewDiePie now popular at this age? 

Anyway, what shocks me today is how, outside YouTube channels like [Vintage Space], there is little to no interest by millennials, specifically Gen-Y and Z, in the pre-shuttle space race! 

It's genuinely depressing when you take a moment to think about it!

As a child, I was totally fixated on the whole program, from Gemini IX through Apollo 17, and the thing that struck me as odd was when the crew of Apollo 10 got most of "the kids" on board by naming their CM Charlie Brown and the LM Snoopy!

I loved all the astronauts, but the one that stood out as the best mix of chill and "hold my beer" daring was Gene Cernan.  The guy was also the common thread between Gemini IX, Apollo 10, and the "Hope Diamond" of lunar exploration, [Apollo 17].

When he died in 2017 it was like a brick to the face.  I shouldn't have been so shocked, he was in his 80s, but it brought to mind that the one hero I had since I was a kid was gone.

I realize that a half-century has just shot past me like riding a zip-line...

Oh well, the clock is ticking and I got's work to do, but if you happen to be interested in old-timey space race content, showing you what it was like to be there as a kid, then click here for [Apollo 11: What We Saw].
Originally free on YouTube, the Daily Wire pulled it in behind a pay wall, and I think they're fucking bastards for doing that.

Okay, it's on to Book 5......


Thunderbirds Are Go:

Book 4 covered such a small span of time we could only squeeze one weapons addition in this installment—and that was the introduction of the ASF74 fighter.  The funny thing about all this, when I mentioned it back in chapter cinquante deux, in the middle of book 3, is that they were developing a new YF61 to replace the ASF47 but opted for the ASF74,
a trimmed-down liposuctioned 47 in its stead.

The drawing I was working on was gorgeous, so why not run with it?

Well, it has everything to do with...actually designing!

See, everything as it relates to aircraft design is all about tradeoffs!  This also applies to spacecraft and more so would apply for ships that would operate in both environments.  The vast majority of ships in scifi happen to be pulled out of some artist's ass and then blocked out or "greebled" to death and in the real world can't fly for shit.

The one fighter in scifi that caught all my attention was the TIE Fighter from the Star War's universe but, when I heard that it was powered by ion-drive, and that the panels on the side were actually solar arrays, I about threw a fit that wouldn't quit!  It was infuriating to hear them try to explain what they had in the TIE Fighter—when they should have just let it go and NOT explain anything.

Anyway, the trade off for the YF61 testbed to outperform the ASF47, the things that ended up nixing the beast while I was designing it, was that the systems inside were way over-engineered (i.e. too complex) and the fuselage was fragile as fuck.  Bouncing this design against budgetary considerations, or impact on resources in the case of the Annex, the design went from a "hell yea!" to "oh, hell no!"

Exactly how Sandoval would have reacted if they were designing it!

If you were doing the heavy lifting—it's funny how in story Paleo was following the exact same process I did when he took a step back and, looking at the 47, asked himself what they were trying to accomplish to go up against the Djinn?  Like me, that was the "ah ha!" moment when he pulled the ASF74 out of his ass!


From the loge:

The one complaint I heard from a reader that struck me as odd was about killing Marcus off in the first chapter!  Rendering it down to one sentance, she said, "This is how you end a book—not start one!"

Oh, okay, I didn't get that memo...

Anyway, I know exactly what she's talking about and I meant to do that!  It's not that I'm thumbing my nose at convention per se, but it's that I am thumbing my nose at expectations...which is kind of like flipping the bird towards conventions when you think about it?

It's like on the first book, I intentionally used every '90s trope in the genre and then flipped the script on it all.  Every potential plot device that came along in story:  Cobalt Bluer, 52, Neuronet, Nefer Key, QP Guns, as my exhamples, I pushed back on as plot devices and as overarching core MacGuffins to drive the plot. 

It's like the CXi brought up in Book 4, an obvious divergent split in the story, but one I believe we will shatter your expectations on!  We'll dive into this topic more in the segment Referential treatment on the author's notes for Book 5. 

But, by then, we may end up doing a whole segment on the CXi itself?


God from the machine:

Admit it, you saw this one coming...then again, I wasn't hiding it?  The interesting thing to note about blowing Betelgeuse up is the time it really takes to do anything!  Like on twinkle twinkle litte stars, it is shocking how much time it takes to do shit in real life?

Did I get the maths right?  For that I give you a resounding, no!

I was able to do what I did but I pushed the numbers up on the over-kill side of the equasion, and I know some dumb-ass will come along and give me the proper numbers, where I will go, "I don't give a fuck?"

Feel free to post it on the webs, and I'll stand corrected, and with that done we can motor along with our lives!  Then again, to be honest, it would be interesting to see if I was kinda close?  Let me know!



This is going to pop up here and there in passing, but it's not going to really go anywhere?  If we expand into Books 7 and 8 then maybe she'll resurface instead of being a background curiosity.  A number of readers really wanted more of deCap but that's not what this story is about. 

A more interesting subplot blow back from this is what could happen to Cap because of the noteriety, but I am really struggling with going there or not?  I like Cap the way she is, but Cap may not, and that's the point!  How far would she go to distance herself from it?

For you readers who wanted more of deCap, just like the guys who felt they were cheated with zombie mod, all I can say is...drop a Soma, lay back and let your imagination run wild!

Pleasant dreams!


Wild Weasels of Wongo:

Wow, I bet you didn't see that one coming!  Burst all your expectations like a soap bubble, right?  Not exactly what ya'll thought was going to come up as the pivotal "battle royale" for the story, hu?

Well, to be totally honest, it surprised the fuck outta me too!

It's not the battle, but the execution and pacing that surprised me...

What I find fustrating is that I am walking into each chapter with a vision but, I'll be damned, what I end up with is completely different than what I intended to write.  It's the same goal-focussed end results, we're hitting those goals, yes, but it's been taking a way different path to get there!  The best way I can convey what is going on is that the characters, and the story itself, are alive and have their own ideas on how to do things?  It's like it's yanking my fucking chain along—and it is pulling me in the direction it wants to go!

Putting this in perspective, jacc in the box has been planned out in detail since we finished mapping out the rest of the series after Book 1 but, fuck me running, it is making it's own way in negotiating the story.
A writer can understand and sympathize with my plight, but you non writers probably think maybe a giant net is in store for me in the near future!  Just finish the IP first how 'bout?

Polaris was to be a SEAD engagement since the beginning but, what
left me in a lurch, is that we dropped all ground action because it was suddenly obvious that the CDF troops in defence would simply throw
in the towel when they did.  I didn't see it when I was originally planning this segment of the action, it just became stupidly apparent to me when we finally got there!

As a result about 4 pages of content was culled from the chapter but,
in hindsight, it ended up better cutting if off with Peņa pulling down on MS-182, and then jumping off to angry birds mode to tie up the loose ends before closing out the battle.

It's like when I wrote the chapter, sunk cost falicy.  When Seth opened his mouth and started talking, the points we were going to make on that confrontation went right out the window! 

It's not what was said to Luc and Lilith, but how Seth went about saying it that left me scratching my head in wonder?

Speaking of which...


Spoonful of sugar:

Don'chya think Luc-n-Lilith took that smack upside the head in good spirits?  It's not like Seth was being a dick about things, he was just pointing out the facts!  What surprised them was Seth picking up on Prima's involvement in their meeting—from centuries ago.

Prima knew this day was coming and she knew that they needed Luc
in her job when this meeting materialized...and why was that?

I'm not going to talk about why because nobody from the left or the feminist camp will be honest about anything!  The strengths women
have are counterpoint and compliment the strengths men have, but
they are not the same.  In the numbers we are pretty close to being
cut from the same cloth, yes, but where we differ we are diametricaly opposite in every way possible and to say that we are "equal" is just nonsensically stupid as fuck!

I touted myself as a feminist back in the '70s when it actually meant something!  That being equal opportunity—not outcomes—between
the sexes.  There were a lot of sexist assholes back then but I could
get behind the equal opportunity focus of the movement!  That said,
I can't get behind the toxic shit feminism has since become...

So, ya'll wanna be equal?  Okay, when a 60 year old woman, without
the destroyed shoulder I got, can come into my gym and benchpress
28 stone (390 lbs) in a six rep set, just like me, then on that day I will tender some credence to the 3WF viewpoint...and only then.

NOTE:  I could've said 450 x 8 at 52, but I decided to lower the bar!

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