by Brian H. Roberts
GENRE: Science Fiction
Dallas Gordon’s miners keep disappearing. Back on Earth, general Zhang Aiguo has seized control of the Chinese military and declared himself emperor. His forces have secretly dispatched to the Red Planet to plunder EPSILON’s hard-won treasure.
Time is running out. Can Dallas Gordon and the Prospector team find Zhang’s hidden bases before they are all killed?
“I’ve lost contact with Dave!”
Allie stood in the shop doorway, her eyes wide as saucers.
Dallas looked up from the shop bench, saw the panic in her eyes, and started toward the door. He briskly accompanied her to the common room.
“Tell me everything you know.”
Allie spoke in a torrent, “I compiled the latest welfare check just five minutes ago. The drill rig was still parked at Site 7. Dave and Number Two were positioned a hundred yards to the northwest of the drill rig. Dave’s heart rate, respiration and core temp were all nominal. Radio check was normal, using MGPS comm band.”
Allie sat down hard at the communication console.
“I no sooner sent the report to you and Doc when I looked up at the MGPS locator map and saw this!”
She stabbed an index finger at the display. Dallas followed her extended finger to the screen. A solid X labeled “Drill Rig” occupied the center of the screen. Three inches higher and to the left, another X was labelled “Site 7.” Other than topographic contour lines, the screen was blank.
Dallas ordered, “Show me where Dave and Number Two were located when you compiled the welfare report.”
Allie’s finger slid a few inches higher and to the left, then hovered over the X at Site 7.
Question for Brian
Question: What has been most surprising for you as an author?
When I began writing my first book (Crimson Lucre), I expected to spend a great deal of time polishing up my grammar, agonizing over the perfect sentence or description of a given scene. But thanks to masterful research (okay, it was dumb luck) I hired some incredibly talented editors. So, my fear of literary failure was largely avoided.
I’ve now published Red Dragon (my second book) and started my third. I find that researching for scientific accuracy in my writing has taken on a life of its own. When I describe the landscape or climate of Mars, I want it to accurately reflect the conditions that we humans will encounter when we arrive in the not-too-distant future. Ditto for the technology we will use to get there, that we will use to survive and thrive on the surface, and to explore. I also wanted to examine the motivations that will persuade us to part with the billions of dollars such an endeavor will require.
I’ve always been a life-long learner and science nerd. So, before I put pen to paper (or in my case, fingers to keyboard) I studied the tech—where it is today, where it will likely be in the near-future. Autonomous vehicles, nuclear-ionic propulsion, hydrogen and oxygen electrolysis, quantum computing, quantum communication, beam weapons. Some pretty amazing tech when you dig into it.
Our motivation to get there was a harder nut for me to crack. But my biggest clue was simply observing who would likely get there first. NASA of course has a head start, but commercial interests will probably put us on Mars first. All those billionaires are expecting a return on their investments. For better or for worse, our strongest motivation to reach Mars will be to mine the minerals there and in the nearby asteroids. As mining on Earth becomes more costly and environmentally damaging, we will look to our nearest neighbors to make up the difference.
So most surprising for me was how much I enjoyed my research. It’s given me optimism, as well as pause. And trust—that the next generations will wisely produce and deploy the tech that will eventually allow us to reach for the stars.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
In his first life, Brian worked as a contractor and civil engineer in bustling Seattle. Desiring a change, he and his wife traded big city life for the outdoor adventures of Central Oregon. His writing draws deeply on his lifelong loves of science/technology and adventure sports. His EPSILON Sci-Fi Thriller series now boasts two novels: Red Dragon and Crimson Lucre.
Follow him at
Brian H. Roberts will be awarding a $75 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway