The Economic History of the Solar System 

It’s my intention to write some science fiction.  Near future, hard science fiction based on tech that we can believe in today. To do this, I create some serious constraints for myself.  No faster then light travel. No artificial gravity. No aliens or, even, alien artifacts. No laser blasters and no spaceships zooming around like WW2 era airplanes.

But, to make these novels workable, I need conflict and stakes.

So I will look to that most ancient and human source of conflict and stakes – economics.  This means I need an economic history for my setting. NASA and its probes will unveil the Solar system as it is and create the physical setting. I need an economic history to complete the human setting.

These posts are my attempt to create a believable economic history to the settlement of our Solar System.

Update: I have decided that the posts will be written in past tense. It just makes it easier. I’m speculating but just down a single line of thought and it’s a lot easier to write in past tense.

The (growing) outline is as follows:

The Early Period:

Links

For those interested, here’s some of the links that I have used as inspiration for this fictitious history.

Economic History of the Solar System: Links

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Author Interview: Heather Hayden

Augment by Heather HaydenAuthor Interview of Heather Hayden

As a motivation for myself, it helps to look at others that are putting the work in and getting results. Here’s an interview with Heather Hayden, another Science Fiction author, one who provides some excellent advice (DON’T PROCRASTINATE).

Which writers inspire you?

Heather: This is a difficult question to answer. It’s like asking me what my favorite book is! I’ve been told by readers of my earlier books that I was influenced by Brian Jacques (too much time describing food…I’m not writing about Redwall Abbey!) Later books avoided this, though, and my writing style is definitely my own. However, my imagination has been stirred by many different writers and worlds, ever since I was a child first learning to read. I couldn’t pick a specific writer any more than I could pick a favorite book, but I can say that my influences are definitely a conglomeration of Jacques, Cherryh, Asimov, Novik, Colfer, Beddor, Jones, Collins…just to name a few.

From the Stories of OldHave you collaborated with other writers? If so, why did you decide to collaborate and did it affect your sales?

Heather: My first collaboration was released earlier this month, on the seventh! Myself and a group of other wonderful writers have put together an anthology of fairy tale retellings called From the Stories of Old: A Collection of Fairy Tale Retellings. Our goal is to reach new readers and hopefully publish more anthologies (some science fiction-themed!) in the future.

Do you have any tips for writers on what to do and what not to do while writing?

Heather: Don’t procrastinate. Seriously. Sometimes your brain will even try to convince you that those dishes Must Be Washed Now. Don’t listen to it. Pin that muse down by whatever means necessary, then apply butt to chair and fingers to keyboard (or pencil, pen, typewriter, brush, whatever your preferred medium.)

Do let your creativity flow. That doesn’t mean allowing your characters or plot to go haring off in every direction, but it does mean letting the story flex a bit if it needs to. (Pantsers may find this easier than plotters, or conversely more difficult.) Ignore that inner editor until you’ve gotten the first draft down on paper.

How do you relax?

Heather: I’m an avid gamer, so I do spend some free time gaming with friends—Minecraft is a current favorite, although I play MMORPGs at times, and 4X strategy games, and just-for-fun RPGs. I’m an even bigger bookworm, though, so I’ll frequently curl up with a good book and a hot cup of tea (or iced tea in the summer). Walking on the beach in the summer is also a great way for me to relax—I love listening to the ocean.

Do you remember the first story you ever read? What kind of an impact did it have on you?

Heather: That’s difficult to recall. I know I was reading by the age of five, because when I was in kindergarten I took books out of the school library. However, I don’t remember much of that year, or anything from before that. I do recall my favorite book from that time period, though—The Unicorn and the Lake by Marianna Mayer. It had beautiful illustrations and told the story of a benevolent unicorn and terrible serpent who end up doing battle. The story fascinated me and I read it over and over. A few years ago I tracked down a copy to buy—that’s how much I loved that book.

I definitely think it had an impact on me, as I grew up loving fantasy, and, later, science fiction (though one could argue that science fiction is simply another kind of fantasy!) I also recall wanting to be like that unicorn, so brave and selfless and beautiful, so it influenced me as a person as well.

***

Heather Hayden IconAbout Heather

Though a part-time editor by day, Heather Hayden’s not-so-secret identity is that of a writer—at night she pours heart and soul into science fiction and fantasy novels. In March 2015 she published her first novella, Augment, a YA science fiction story filled with excitement, danger, and the strength of friendship. She immediately began work on its sequel, Upgrade, which continues the adventures of Viki, a girl who loves to run, and her friend Halle, an AI. Her latest release is a short story “Beneath His Skin,” which is part of an anthology her writer’s group put together called From the Stories of Old: A Collection of Fairy Tale Retellings. You can learn more about Heather and her stories through her blog and her Twitter, both of which consist of equal amounts of writerly things and random stuff she’s interested in.

 

Surreal

The Chancellor of a Germany warns incoming U.S. President to respect human rights.

“Germany and America are bound together by values: democracy, freedom, respect of law and respect of people regardless of their origin, the colour of their skin, their religion, gender, sexual orientation or their political beliefs. On the basis of these values I I am offering to work closely with the future President of the United States, Donald Trump.”

If you don’t thing that things can change completely in one lifetime let this be a lesson to you. 

Trump Wins in 2020

I love maps and I love the way that they should stay constant but don’t seem to obey that rule. The 2016 election in the US has been fascinating and I’ve learned a lot about the geography of the US.

Hows this for a scenario. Trump loses Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Michigan and wins in 2020?

Here’s how things stand in 2016.

2016

 

 

 

 

 

Then imagine by 2018, California exists the Union.

2018

 

 

 

 

 

Then in 2020, things look like this. Oregon and Hawaii join with California and Minnesota cedes to Canada as a result of a popular vote.

2020

 

 

 

 

 

Seems far fetched but it’s an indication on how differently the various parts of the states think that there’s even a movement for it.

As usual, I’m probably completely wrong.

The Cinemax Theory of Racism

I love the explanation in this blog about whan happens when you vote. When candidates offer up their policies, it’s a package. When you vote, you are endorsing the whole package. You may only want a bit of it but when you vote, your signal to the provider (candidate) isn’t the bit that you want, it’s that you support the whole package.

Source: The Cinemax Theory of Racism

A vote for simplicity

I’m as surprised by the outcome of the U.S. election as anyone. I wondered what happened and how a person with such simplistic and flawed (and vague) policies could have been elected. The policies that he did have were crude and simple for problems that are long standing and complex.

Then it hit me. Much of the appeal would be the simplicity. We are overloaded as a society and many of the problems we face are complex and require a strong focus, expertise and ongoing monitoring and adjustment to move in the right direction much less solve.

What Trump had was simplicity.

  • Want to stem illegal immigration: Build a wall
  • Want to deal with the large number of undocumented overstayers: Deport them
  • What to deal with ISIS: Bomb them
  • Don’t like the previous healthcare: Repeal it

All dead simple solutions. All unlikely to resolve anything but at least iof people understand the response, they can feel like something is being done about it.

Personally, I think it was a popular vote for simplicity. These problems aren’t simple. What is heartening is that it seems Trump is listening.

Book Review: The Heart Goes Last

By Margaret Atwood

This is a story set in a dystopic/post apocalyptic future where the husband and wife protagonists struggle to survive. They are given the option of joining a development, a social experiment where they spend half of their time living a normal life and half of their time in prison. They swap about on a month by month basis with their alternates. An amazing and crazy concept that was taken in so many directions. I lived the insanity that Atwood brought to the book. I loved the twists and turns. I loved the motivations, especially of the two main characters and how the changing nature of their marital relationship seemed to drive the plot. I can’t really say much more without giving away some of the surprises but I do very much recommend it.

Car Control

This is a topic I’ve wanted to talk about for some time but haven’t found the right way to approach it. This issue of car ownership.  

Modern technological advances have given people access to more and more powerful forms of technology.  Perhaps the most powerful of these that can routinely fall into the hands of individuals is the car. This is a powerful piece of technology that in the right hands is extremely useful. However, it is a piece of technology powerful enough that car accidents injure, maim and kill thousands of people every year. This excludes those cases where a car has been used deliberately as a weapon. We need to do a better job of protecting ourselves.  

Firstly, I advocate that we need appropriate car ownership laws. At a minimum, people intending to own and use cars need minimum training on how to use it and to ensure that they stay current. We need a licensing system so that we can tell if a person is currently licenced for the car they have in their possession. I would expect that this should at a minimum consist of a written test and a common, government issued certificate of a robust enough nature that it can be used to confirm the identity of the owner. 

As for the cars themselves, I advocate for strong regulation there. For a start I would expect a system that classifies cars and accepts them into the market to ensure that:

1. The car is safe and does not contain flaws the makes it dangerous for the user or other members of the public. 

2. The car is appropriate for use, in particular I have concerns about the proliferation of ex military cars amongst the wider population.  

3. That registers each car to am owner. Where the car is found abandoned or used in the commission of a crime, then it can be traced back. I understand that some cars may be stolen and used in the commission of crimes but I believe that a system of reporting stolen cars with thr police would protect the owners from prosecution.

I believe that such a system would make cars much much safer than they could be if unregulated.  The final element is that car owners should be liable for the damage that they cause whether through accident or intention. With a bit of encouragement, the insurance industry could step in here. Owners would be rewarded for safe practices through reduced premiums. 

Overall, I see this as a reasonable and workable system and I would hope that most people would agree.

Now, replace the word car with gun and read it again.