David J. Williams Guest Post 1 of 3: Space Elevator (+ giveaway)
To mark the completion of his Autumn Rain trilogy, Dave has agreed to write 3 weekly guest posts. I’ll let him tell you more about that himself. Machinery of Light will be in stores on the 25th. Information about the giveaway will be at the end of the post.
Welcome to the 22nd century, folks. Each book of the Autumn Rain trilogy features a massive piece of near-future tech, and—thanks to Mentatjack’s gracious invitation– this is the first of three posts telling you all about them. And MJ will be giving away a book with each post too, so this is as good as it #$# gets. Let’s take a look at our agenda:
THE MIRRORED HEAVENS (today): the Phoenix Space Elevator
THE BURNING SKIES (next week): The Europa Platform (O’Neill cylinder)
THE MACHINERY OF LIGHT (after that): nuclear pulse-powered spaceship
So, first up is the Elevator. The joint construction of the superpowers, the living symbol of their new alliance . . . and the first target of elite terrorists-on-steroids Autumn Rain. Because the only thing cooler than a huge elevator is watching it get blown up. So when it gets nuked and pieces fall down all over South America and the sky goes red with fire…
MJ: Er, Dave.
MJ: You’re getting a little ahead of yourself, methinks.
DW: But everything I just said is on the back-cover, man.
MJ: Sure, but when the Elevator gets destroyed, it’s no longer an Elevator.
MJ: So you’re here to talk about the #$# Elevator.
DW: < processes this >
Well…. I think the first thing to note about is that this isn’t the typical geosynchronous elevator you usually see in science fiction – i.e., center of gravity at the geo, extending twice as far out beyond that and rooted to the Earth’s equator. In thinking about what’s going to be possible a hundred years from now, I decided a geo elevator might be (literally) a bridge too far.
So I went with a LEO elevator instead. Four thousand kilometers long, rotating around the Earth ten times a day, and all of it pulled straight out of a NASA briefing paper. It’s not quite the mega-structure that a geo elevator would be, but it would be seriously fucking impressive .. . and would offer the key advantage that you no longer need to achieve escape velocity to reach orbit. . . instead, all you’d need to do is reach suborbital heights and you could snag your ship onto the lowest point of the elevator (which could conveniently lower to reach you). An endlessly entertaining edifice. . . shit, back in the day I wrote a whole separate (and utterly unpublishable) novella in which we get to hear all about the crazy adventures of the poor schmucks on different pieces of the Elevator as it breaks apart under the impact of Autumn Rain’s warheads…
MJ: Er, Dave….
DW: Yeah, sorry. Look, we’ve actually reached a good stopping point anyway. Tune in next time to hear about my modified O’Neill cylinders. . . . same bat-time, same bat-channel.
Over the next three weeks, as Dave writes the rest of his posts, I’ll be giving away three copies of Machinery of Light. I’ll be running these in parallel, much like I did for the Razor vs Mech Giveaway. This time send me an email (just one) with one of the following subjects “Phoenix Space Elevator,” “Europa Platform,” or “BIG @$$ SPACESHIP.” You’ll be entered to win the corresponding autographed copy of Machinery of Light. I’ll announce the winners a few days after Dave’s 3rd post.