Maps. Are they Art?

When I first started my writing journey, I subscribed to J.R.R. Tolkien’s camp of world building. So in my 20s, I created the land of Agersolum. Map, cultures, religions. It is all there. I created 14 cultures, each with a different feel, problems, size and strengths. I created them for internal conflict, external conflict. I was creating a universe that I could write in forever.

As I had mentioned earlier, one of the big aspects of working on a world was the creation of a map. In drawing a map, I used pen and paper. I started with a landmass, then drew in mountains. Naturally, rivers moved from mountains to the sea. With rivers and mountains, I created natinoal borders. Then I placed cities, towns, and forts.

I had created this:

The World that Never was…

Its a chart the size of a poster.

This, however, is too detailed and messy to go into a book. This chart is for me. It is mostly correct. I did make a few changes after the creation of the map. I gave the map and the changes to my wife and she created this.

A publishable version of the world that never was…

And this:

A more detailed version of the desert land of Ta’arqa. The setting of the first three books of the Order of Ghost Saga.

But is this art? I would say my version is not. They are doodles not even a mother could love.

Here are some other map doodles I have made.

A detailed map of a military fantasy I am working on.
Not sure what this is for. Its a doodle.
This is a city I drew. Is this art?

This journey is not something I can do alone. It takes support from many people for it to become a reality. The easiest way is to visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. They are available in all countries and for free in Kindle Unlimited. I do have a tip jar set up at Ko-Fe, where you can buy me a coffee. Or you can also visit me on Facebook. Your help and support are much appreciated.

Times are a Changin’

That clip above is from the movie Watchmen. This is my feeling in a nutshell.

With all of the change going on in the world at the moment, it is hard to tell what is going to happen in the future. People are hoping that in a few weeks, things will go back to normal, and we will all go back to work. People expect this situation will be a distant memory.

The human part of me hopes this will be the case. July will roll around, and the world will be back to normal. Borders will be open, people will go to concerts and sport’s games.

The writer part of me knows this won’t be the case. The writer part of me starts asking questions. Many of which the human part of me knows that’s not going to happen.

(Please note, this is a thought exercise to show how I world build scenarios for my novels.)

The writer in me starts compounding the situation. The scenario. In the United States, ten million people have lost their jobs in a week. Air travel has stopped, and borders are closed. Millions of ex-pats are trapped in foreign countries with no ways to get home.  Around the world, tens of thousands have died from the disease and more will before everything is over. Most of those who have passed away are the elderly, but the young have also been affected.

I see things happening in multiple ways. This list is not complete.

One. In response to these events, many places have adopted authoritarian policies to combat this virus. China went even more welding people into their homes. Hungary has taken authoritarian policies. In New Jersey, a guy was arrested for paddleboarding. There was no one within miles of him.

Authoritarian power is given by the people willingly. Those in charge will never voluntarily give that power back. It only is given after violence. This is the start of a dystopian world where everyone is afraid of the virus and stays isolated from each other.

Two. A cure is found and wildly given to societies. People try to go back to the way it was in the hopes they can have normal. It doesn’t come as the world of yesterday is gone and gone for good. The new world is one where people are wary of each other, where people keep a stockpile of food and medicine. Where people pay off the debts and gather together three months of money. The threat of a new disease spreading across the world is too high for people.

Three. Things get worse. Currently, there is an argument over the real death rate of the disease. Accusations of the CCP lying about their numbers is rampant. There are huge gaps between what is happening in New York City and rural Alabama. There are also reports that people are getting re-infected over again.

The disease exemplifies the rifts in society and causes society to crumble. Federal governments become helpless to do anything as their employees refuse to go to work to keep safe their own families. Regional warlords and strongmen pop out of the woodwork.

Are any of these going to happen? Who knows. I am not an oracle. I don’t have the gift of foresight. But I can make educated guesses by studying current events.

If I were to write a novel based on one of those scenarios, then I would spend more time fleshing out the idea.

But as a writer, what do you think is going to happen?

This journey is not something I can do alone. It takes support from many people for it to become a reality. The easiest way is to visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. They are available in all countries and for free on Kindle Unlimited. I do have a tip jar set up at Ko-Fe, where you can buy me a coffee. Or you can also visit me on Facebook. Your help and support are much appreciated.

Futurism: Mars Part 2

In this blog post, I am going to go into details in the different changes that happens to the Martian Colony over time.

The obvious one is that the colony grows larger. With 12 different colonies with different agendas and sponsors from earth, Mars becomes a real life version of the computer game Civilization. A hundred years and multiple generations pass. Most colonists, no matter which colony that they are from view themselves as Martians first and only the place of there ancestry grudgingly.

But before the advent of hostilities between the different colonies, the situation changed.

The colony’s themselves have a wide range of different problems and issues that must be fixed. The biggest one is taxation. The sponsors of the colony’s take a large portion of any money made by the colony for themselves before it is left to pay it’s people. Little money is reinvested in the colony itself and the expansion and maintenance of it comes out of the colony’s own funds.

From the colonies, all of the industries of space were controlled. The bosses all lived on the earth, but the people fixing the machines, building the probes and sending shipments back to Earth were all from Mars. The governments of Earth came to rely on the money from the Martian colonies more and more. Each year, they took more and more to support the failing societies on the planet Earth.

The colonists were also not allowed free travel between the different colonies. All communication between the colonies are controlled and regulated. Only official communications can happen. That means friends can’t have a phone call if they love in a different colony.

The colony’s are also directly controlled from mission control back on Earth with the colonists themselves having no say in what they do. They are only there to carry out there orders and not to question the minds of the people on earth.

The only colony not following orders in that regard, the only one that has gone off the reservation, is the first one. The Mars Corp. They are considered very rebellious in nature. Doing what they want and not listening to the corporate bosses. The bosses are happy about it. There profits are high, while the other colonies are barely surviving.

Then the corporate bosses of Mars Corp does the insane crazy thing. They move there Head Quarters from Earth, to the Mars Colony. They also move all of the personal that want to go and there families. The colony pulls all ties from earth except to pick up new immigrants to the colony.

Mars Corp becomes the first Mars Colony to become free. Free from the tyranny of being ruled by a group of people millions of kilometers away.

The other colonies took notice. The Mars Corp sent messages to each colony offering assistance with there transport shuttles if required.

Earth-side blocked all communication to Mars Corp. They couldn’t help as no message would go through.

Then after a couple years, one of the colonies failed. The one sponsored by the European Union. A sand storm damaged there oxygen processing and there power generation. An easy fix if you have the supplies. Mars Corp had the supplies. No message went through.

The colony went dark. It was two weeks before the news got out. A rouge agent of the EU Space Agency leaked the news to the colonies. Tensions boiled and 125 years after the first colonist set foot on Mars, the people rebelled.

In the year 126, the United Colonies of Mars was created. This started the first inter-planetary war as the governments of Earth cried out from the lack of money to run there nations.

Again. Information that probably will not make its way into a book, but this sets the stage on what the People of Mars are like.

Next time. Terra-forming. A mistake? Or intentional?


Futurism: Part One

This is the first part of a many part series of blogs that are going to talk about the science fiction world that I have created for my son’s Serial ‘Space Courier’ and others.

(Part One of Space Courier is nearing completion in editing and I expect to publish as an ebook on Amazon and a print version on Create Space.)

As a general declaimer, the information created for the world building of these stories is not intended to be thrown completely at the reader, but shown slowly throughout the stories as it becomes relevant to what is going on. Example, the main character, Des, in Space Courier lives on a giant space station Jov 1-H. He does not care what is happening on Venus or the price of tea there. As such, there is no mention of Venus or its Psychedelic Tea leaves.

So the story of Space Courier is set 500 years in the future. Why 500 years?

Good question. I picked it out of my ass.

Well. Kinda.

I selected 500 years as it is a good point in time that is far enough in the future that it gives me freedom to decide what has or hasn’t been accomplished at that point, but it is not too far away to be completely unmanageable. I didn’t want to be so far away that it I show life similar to modern day in many ways that it would break the story.

To start, I decided on a very rough history of how we, as a race, escaped the confines of Earth and became a multi-planet species.

There are two main schools of thoughts that have sprang up when you talk about us colonizing other planets.

The first is that it is obvious that it is a National or multi-National government that colonies other planets and moons.

But I don’t fall into that camp. I sit firmly in the other camp. I think that while governments have will power and money to do expeditions of this type, I don’t think that it is the case with interplanetary travel.

Christopher Columbus revolutionized travel to the Americas. He led an expedition to India and found North America. Everyone knows the story. He was also paid by the Spanish monarchy to do so.

But the numbers don’t add up.

Columbus was using old technology. Sailing ships have been around forever and the style that he had were around for many years. Further more, he knew that the Earth was round. They had known that for a while. He was an idiot and did not bring enough food to last the journey to India if there had been no North America around for resupply.

Nothing in his trip was experimental or difficult. They could navigate by the stars and the currents would bring him to the Americas even if he had no sails. His trip was nothing special in relative terms to what the first Space Travelers seek to do.

When we go to space, in real life as well as my fictional world, every piece of technology used is going to have been invented in the last 30 years if not sooner. That is getting all of the supplies, personal and material into orbit. The multi-month trip to the planet or moon, as well as that habitat that they will be living in.

The struggles that they have to face, especially the environment, is so much harsher that what Columbus faced that there is no comparison. I can’t come up with a single metaphor or simile.

Stating all of that and looking at the social and economic problems that are around today, I feel that it is not going to be governments that take people permanently to space. Governments will take Astronauts to space to play golf and maybe do some experiments when they can. They will not be taking people to space for permanent settlement.

They do not have the money or the political will power to do so.

What one government takes years to build up, it is often ripped apart by the next. NASA cuts programs all the time as one congress takes money away almost at a whim.

Also, the fact that the Spanish Monarchy payed for Columbus is not the same as the U.S Congress funding NASA. It would be like SpaceX going to congress for a lump sum of money to outfit an expedition to colonize Mars. Not a government bureaucracy getting a quarterly budget allotment that it MUST spend.

So, politics aside.

In my fictional world, NASA and China send over a couple manned missions to Mars and they play a killer game of golf. Among some really good discoveries that manned missions tend to do. There is no wind storm that disables stuff and causes a botanist to be forced to grow potatoes from his own shit. Sorry.

What happens after that is that there is a landmark legal case where a private corporation sues the world governments and opens up private space travel and privatization.

The legal basis of that idea is shaky at best, but it is something that happened 450 years before the main characters of my books were born. It’s okay for it to sound off. Listening to a history professor is like that. I know many times where I heard the history of what happened and thought to myself, “Really?”.

In my fictional world, the first permanent space colony was funded and built by someone that wanted to make money in the enterprise. I will go into more detail on some of the stuff that a corporation could be making money on in space next time. For now, this blog has gone on long enough.

Until next time.