- still too violent for a Christian audience, and there's no easy way around that
>If you have to get out the walkie-talkies, so be it.

- probably still too irreverent for a Christian audience (e.g., Joseph just spent a chapter rewriting the Ten Commandments)
> I'll need to check out a competitor book to be able to comment. Still, the book you want to write vs the book you want to sell appear to be at odds.

- Christian elements are unlikely to appeal to non-Christians
> Should non-Christians be part of your target market? For example, is it possible to write a story about socialism that will appeal to both Democrats and Conservatives? (btw VQx are socialist stories, so I'm speaking from experience)

- first act is way too long (roughly 40% of the story)
> This makes me think the remaining acts should each be longer. Or the divisions need to be revisited. It seems you're tackling the latter.

- also, I think the angels need to be visible to the boys (no more "radiating"), which is a sizeable change
>What does visibility grant?

No value in writing to the end of this draft? What are the current pain-points?

There's prescription medication that can dull the side-effects. Disadvantage, the body quickly builds resistance to it (eg it can stop working when it needs to).

https://thedriven.io/2023/05/10/seba-sa … plunge-75/

2nd half of this article (from TAAS and on) hits a lot of what you're facing as you work on your resource distribution model.

Roadrunner's of family cuckoo, right? Call it that and challenge your reader's google foo

Cows are surprisingly nosey

Edit: Getting kicked off the main is only a minor inconvenience, but it'll hit mid-review which is a nuisance. Especially when I'm on tablet and have written a complex in-line note only to have it vanish into the aether. Periodically leaving a short in-line during the review process helps identify the error state

I just logged in again a few minutes ago and 2 of 3 cookies are set to expire within 20 hours (one within 5). Interestingly my forum-cookie is set into May, and I've tested it works when I'm "signed out" as in I can still read/post in forum when logged out from the main site.

Also, because I like to give you headaches...

if a precious resource is plenteous in one area and scarce in the others (eg the neutral zone) you end up with either

(a) a "neutral" owner (such as OPEC) or

(b) the slow realization from the neutrals that they are dependent on a non-neutral power. Then you get lots of Sweden / Finland cases.

Imagine, should you, a world with no OPEC where the A was militarily successful but oil poor while B was oil-rich. Now you'd have neutral C charging the A out the nose because A can't exactly make its enemy sell, right? And if A doesn't pay ruinous prices, all its cars (ships) go still. So over 1000 years neutral C drains all the wealth out of A.

So then A should attack neutral C and take its resources. So C better align with B because this attack is inevitable

The gas idea is not particularly good because it creates a cash bonanza in your neutral zone

Here's a completely different angle: The Imperials fuel shortage is a problem of their own making.

Super-heated Atradium (eg portals in use) dive off Atradizene gas which giant harvester vessels collect. This gas is rendered inert when ships fly through it (eg it burns up the same way a jet engine would set off an oil slick if you tried to land in one).

Meaning: The more you use your portals, the less gas you have.

New Bethlehem has fewer ships, so they have more gas.

hmm that's complicated. It's a non-space (sub-dimension? pocket-dimension?) seeded by the various worlds that join it. iirc B5 the ancient races just made their own gates to wherever they wanted to do and could generally find their way around in there, which is cool.

mmm space balls

should just not worry about trying to picture how it sews together the two star systems. Or perhaps I should add a well-defined front and back to each portal.

My characters built (will build? will have built?) nexus points so if you enter one part of a gateway, you can show up in a small (3-5 way) minor nexus or a massive major nexus with gateways to all over the place, complete with the equivalent of a "highway gas station" along with whatever citizens have set up shop within it.

It's funny bc in my main series, they eventually invent a kind of portal technology and run around the universe seeding them (This takes about 3 billion years to complete because you're getting from place to place using mundane travel initially). Then they die off, effectively becoming a mysterious race leaving behind transportation to the next generation

The heat could be leaking into the portal. You basically needn't enforce the principles of a closed system

The heat could be leaking into the wormhole. You basically needn't enforce the principles of a closed system

Alloy never seen before. Almost works for metal never seen before, but alloy is ideal. It says ya we know what's in it, but have no idea how to mix it up. kinda like KFC's secret recipe. Though supposedly that secret's out.

You made it harder to see but you didn't stop me from flying up to it and hop in a spacesuit and steal some of it. I assume it won't cut easily, but I'll be happy to run an electron microscope on it as well as sonar, p-waves, conductivity etc.

Yes... a mass spectrometer should be able to distinguish its composition. It's been a long time since I read 2001 but I believe there was a clause that the monolith did not reflect any light.

To make your life more difficult, the mass spectrometer is used on objects we cannot reach. Imagine if we had the ability to fly out to some of these places and run deeper scans (x-rays, ultrasound, scrapings)

Of course, those microbes find the human body hostile territory as well. Just they may kill the host as they figure that out.

Agreed... colonizing Mars is highly impractical. At least by any measure of current technology. Imagine we have access to thousands of Mars's. Each with myraid variables. Scientists agree Mars could be colonized if it only had an ocean. How many similar planets could be out there? Planets just waiting for a gentle push to become habitable.

The most prohibitive aspect I've heard about Mars is the cost of getting off the surface again. By today's technology, it's basically a one-way trip. Yikes!

To soIve the atmosphere problem, Robinson's characters flew some ice comets through the stratosphere.. You'd need to repeat this every century or so as the sun would start stripping the atmosphere again

Dirk B. wrote:

That's a huge undertaking, though, to make a dead planet with no oxygen and soil livable.

How huge is it really, if you just send a few hundred robots in and let them replicate in there and forget the place exists. Check in every 50 years or so?

It's also gotta be able to hold an atmosphere. Mars, for example, can't hold an atmosphere long term.

Read Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson?

If you have to limit yourself to planets with an existing breathable atmosphere generated by microbes and plants, then you have to risk contact with alien life forms. Terraforming a planet with existing life on it could easily be lethal  The process of converting the soil for human use is the easy part.

Yes, microbes are a problem for sure... If there are aliens, then their planets are certainly lethal to us. And there are ethical issues to terraforming their planets willy-nilly. Almost need to start by dropping neutron bombs in there to kill off the existing life.

Much depends on your view of the universe. In VQ-x I've tackled it that mankind is resilient / resourceful and finds ways to eke out living conditions in unlikely scenarios. So, we get sunlight-rich planets hosting 20billion+ inhabitants and sunlight-dark planets inventing ways to convert energy into sustenance. Let's call this the optimistic view that man can survive without Earth.

The opposite resolves that the species is relatively fragile. We can't ever colonize the moon. There's too much solar radiation there. Let's call it a realist / pessimistic view. If Earth blew up and we couldn't find habitable planets, we'd go extinct.

Terraforming a planet involves transporting huge quantities of soil from an existing terraformed world...

(Similarly in VQ-x) robots can go manufacture substrate (dust) out of rocks using solar power. Human organic waste (eg that has no other use) can be seeded into the dust to build soil. Basically, for almost zero cost, you can make Mars organic, provided you have a century or two to wait around. Venus is leaps and bounds harder, but the same time principle works. If your surface temperature is 800°C and you can reduce that by 0.1% per year using steel trusses to leak heat into space, you get compound interest on cooling. It's even free if robots are mining asteroids to build the trusses.


Imagine I've only been talking about our own solar system. Imagine we break the speed of light and can show up at other solar systems. Imagine robots harvesting oxygen from rocks in deep reaches of space and ferrying it to useful places using only solar power and Chat-GPT. Years before humans show up, your robots have already made the planet livable.

Nb: Dune solved this by outlawing robotics.

interstitial superoptical acceleration geyser (I.S.A.G. commonly, star geyser or eye-sags)

Wormholes need not be visible (à la DS9). They could be simply invisible and negligible energy. Our telescopes would have trouble spotting one; we'd have a hard time quantifying it if we did. (For example https://www.space.com/11471-weird-pione … posed.html)

I wrote it that way to explain why we haven't found such wormholes in our solar system. Basically, they're closed and the jump gate shrinks to a ten meter wide ring when closed

Ten metres is huuuuge given scientists are arguing about a rock the size of a football orbiting Jupiter (Is it a moon? What's the minimum size of a moon?)

Does anyone know of any popular sci-fi series/novels that use the term gateway as a jump gate?

Popular? No, not off the top of my head. But a "tire" needn't have an original / unique name if it's just a tire.

I suppose if I position all the jump gates close enough together...

As with time travel, the more moving science-parts you add, the more it detracts from the character arcs. The more it draws attention, and the more problems arise which need to be patched requiring more moving parts. A vicious cycle. I recommend to parcel the handwavium into a small package and let it sit slightly out of the spotlight (I'm thinking about Apollo's missing scene, here).