When I’m working through a novel, I often ask my artist friends to help me by creating original art that represents a scene, or important idea in the book. I’m a terribly visual person and these small pieces of art help me in the creative process immensely.
In Buccaneers, the above asteroid is the Co-Op that Nick and Big Pete designed. It actually isn’t completed by the end of the book, but it’s what they’re shooting for. The artist Roberto Gabriel Garcia has done a lot of these smaller works for me over time. I love what he’s done here.
The essential design of this asteroid is that the living spaces are on top of the asteroid, and with gravity generators they’re able to deposit ore onto the bottom side for storage, until they’re ready to ship it off to it’s final destination. In the future, they’d really like to build an entirely separate ore refining and storage platform, but to kick things off they had to think more practically.
In terms of size, the asteroid is significantly smaller than P-Zero of Colony-40. Instead of being able to hold four or five thousand colonists, the Descartes Co-Op is better suited to four or five hundred. And at the point in time that Buccaneers represents, it is simply being hollowed out and is only home to a couple dozen.
The next picture is one that I drew. It’s not particularly impressive, but it communicates how the TransLoc gates connect the four occupied solar systems.
Of interest is that the crew of the Hotspur ends up skipping both the Bethe Peierls and New Pradesh solar systems. As I’ve gained experience in writing, I’ve discovered that one of the things I most appreciate is when, in my previous writing, I make room for future adventures. With two completely unexplored solar systems, I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of that.
One of the things that I find interesting and enjoy exploring is this idea of how some changes in our history are game changes. A single event, causes current assumptions to become invalidated and a fresh, new set of opportunity is presented. As it turns out, the ‘proposed gate’ above is a water-shed event in the Tipperary system and it’s construction causes quite a stir.
Finally, my favorite piece of new art (at last that I’m willing to share right now) is Robert Gabriel Garcia’s drawing of the Tipperary Solar System.
Careful attention to this drawing show that we have a solar system different than our own. The star at it’s center, technically called FD-40307, is larger, younger and has whiter light than does our own Sun.
Some of the changes that occur, as the result of this larger star, are that more light makes it further out into the system. Grünholz is actually further away the star than Mars is on our own, yet it receives only a slightly lesser amount of energy than does Earth.
In the position where we’d expect to see Mars, there is the Descartes asteroid belt which was formed when two planetoids, which occupied the same orbital path, collided. This is where the Co-Op asteroid is located and where Big Pete and Silver will end up making their home.
The rest of the system is mostly left for exploration in future novels. I can tell you, that a trip to Curie (third planet from the star) will be one of their first stops in a novel I’ve code-named, ‘A Matter of Honor’.
I can’t tell you too much more about the story, as I don’t want to give it away. I can say, however, that you should expect a short story, called ‘Out of The Tank’ to show up in the email feed when I release Buccaneers.