…gets the E-book. Official release day is June 1st, but FRONTIER is available now on Kindle if you can’t wait. So hit that button!
This is disappointing:
Aerion Corp. today ceased operations, citing a lack of available financing for its plans to bring a family of supersonic aircraft to market. In a statement, the company said it had built an $11.2 billion backlog for the first of that family, the Mach 1.2 AS2 business jet, but “in the current financial environment, it has proven hugely challenging to close on the scheduled and necessary large new capital requirements to finalize the transition of the AS2 into production. Given these conditions, the Aerion Corporation is now taking the appropriate steps in consideration of this ongoing financial environment.”-AIN Online
Possibly related: last fall, Boeing suspended its NeXT “future innovations” unit. While not directly tied to Aerion, it’s indicative of Boeing’s cash crunch and the need to refocus on its core competencies (that is, building airplanes that don’t crash). Between the 737MAX and COVID, they’re not in a position to throw billions at projects that might never make it to the runway.
I really hoped they could be successful, but it’s also been in development for close to twenty years so it was hard to get too excited.
Making airplanes go faster presents all kinds of technical challenges as you approach Mach 1, and it’s not as simple as adding more wing sweep or bigger engines. One design choice affects other choices downstream, and sometimes those trades can’t be resolved to anyone’s satisfaction. A lot of tradeoffs that are useful for military jets don’t translate well to civil transports and the FAA’s Part 25 certification standards. Adding speed adds complications like wave drag, and the optimum ways to solve it sacrifices performance at lower speeds, which is crucial to controllability in takeoff and landing (and a big focus of those Pt. 25 standards I was talking about). Example: a clipped delta wing is great for high-speed cruise but terrible for takeoff, approach and landing. Maybe you can mitigate this with more power from the engines, but now you’ve created a noise issue that cannot be ignored if you ever want to get the thing certified to fly anywhere civilized.
This really made me wonder about Aerion’s plans for a Mach 4 jet. While that puts it just shy of hypersonic (and the related heating / materials problems), that’s still pretty freaking ambitious when they hadn’t even cut metal on the “slow” Mach 1.2 version.
Finally, before anyone is willing to spend serious money on overcoming the technical challenges, there’s this hurdle: convincing Congress and the FAA to rescind the prohibition on supersonic flight over land. Without that, the business case may never close. It’s a huge chicken-and-egg problem when you consider the newest business jets regularly tickle M.90. Once you’re already at 90% of the speed of sound, adding another 20 or 30% might be too expensive to be worth the trouble. But man would that thing look cool on the ramp.
Having said all that, this is a setback I hate to see. Hopefully Boom doesn’t suffer the same fate.
FRONTIER in the wild, at Secrets Beach Resort in Cancun. Wish I could say I took this, but it was one of my “advance readers.”
Writing a new book is always exciting but I especially enjoyed this one. Its an action-adventure / technothriller that builds on characters introduced in PERIGEE and FARSIDE. FRONTIER combines themes of exploration, military sci-fi, and Earthbound intrigue to project present-day geopolitical conflicts into near-future space. The ending surprised me as I was writing it and things didn’t turn out *at all* like I’d planned. It’s a good thing when the writer surprises himself.
Get ahead of the crowd and preorder on Amazon! Preorders are a tremendous help with initial rankings on release day, which increases reader visibility, which increases sales, which secures my ability to keep writing. Bottom line, I sincerely appreciate it and will continue doing my best to provide more great beach reads.
The blog may have been dormant for a while, but rest assured I haven’t been. I have two titles coming out this summer, and a short story appearing in an anthology with such greats as David Weber and Larry Correia.
First up is Frontier, out June 1st (available for pre-order now, so hit that button!):
THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THE STRONG OF HEART
Marshall Hunter only wanted to fly: the faster, the higher, the better. But the Space Force has other plans that will take its newest officer beyond anything he imagined.
Assigned to the cislunar cruiser U.S.S. Borman as a search-and-rescue officer, Ensign Hunter is resigned to a life of rescuing wayward spacefarers and derelict satellites. The novelty of Earth orbit soon wears off after a series of arduous spacewalks, confirming his suspicion that the new space economy has attracted too many people with more money than sense.
His fortunes appear to change when a billionaire couple goes missing on their way to survey a near-Earth asteroid. Out of contact and on a course that will eventually send them crashing into Mars, the nuclear-powered Borman is dispatched on an audacious, high-speed interplanetary run to find the couple’s wayward spacecraft and bring them home. As they approach the asteroid, the Borman itself becomes hopelessly disabled, its only chance of rescue coming from a surprising source.
With the Borman suddenly out of commission and far beyond reach, cislunar space begins falling into chaos as critical satellites fail and valuable lunar mineral shipments begin disappearing in transit. Nothing is as it seems, and the crew suspects none of it is by coincidence.
Facing an impossible choice between salvation and sacrifice, Marshall Hunter will have to find a way to save both his crewmates and their civilian charges.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Next is BattleSpace, a novella I’d wanted to write for a long time that explores the background of Vladimir Vaschenko, the Soviet cosmonaut at the center of the mystery behind last year’s Frozen Orbit. This one is a straight-up Cold War technothriller that just happens to be set in space. As seems to be everything I do, but anyway…
This one is taking longer than I thought, as I’d hoped to have it out in concert with the audiobook release of Frozen Orbit last month. Which, yeah, that’s a thing. The new cover looks pretty cool to my eyes:
So, back to BattleSpace. It’s a tightly-paced story, about 100 pages, which is not nearly enough for my publisher to do a print run. This one will be independently published by moi and available anywhere fine e-books are sold later this summer.
It’s going to be a busy summer, so stay tuned!
Today was a good day. Saw Frozen Orbit in a bookstore for the first time, which floored me. Even though I knew it was there, the feeling of finally seeing it for sale out there in the big old world next to my favorites like James S. A. Corey and Larry Correia is, well…wow. I should be able to find words but I Just. Can’t. Even.
Hot on the heels of that experience, it garnered this mention from Booklist:
The story moves quickly with elements of both a spy thriller and a space race, and never seems to drag, though years pass during the telling of it. Readers are given glimpses of Russia’s Cold War space secrets as astronaut Jack Templeton pores through a long-dead cosmonaut’s journal on the lengthy space flight to the lonely Kuiper belt. A mystery about a crew driven to mutiny at the very edge of nothingness needs to be solved, and questions about humanity’s very existence are asked. Frozen Orbit could make for an impressive movie, one that would stand with greats such as Contact or Interstellar.
I’ll take that all day long, especially the movie part.
UPDATE: From Amazing Stories:
If you’re looking for a hard-core space-hardware saga in the vein of Clarke, Baxter, Mary Robinette Kowal (The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky), or the recent Last Astronaut (David Wellington), you’ve come to the right place…There’s enough character drama to pull the story along (with a married couple and two single astronauts aboard) but the real story here is on the science side…The author covers a lot of ground in this space procedural, and you’ll see a reexamination of the themes in Clarke’s 2001 a Space Odyssey here, but with technology and concepts informed by the five decades that separate the two works.
I’ll update and bump this post as new reviews arrive. In the meantime, you can help a brother out–if you liked it, please consider leaving a review or at least rating it on the Amazon page. That helps make it more visible, which is yuuge.
P.S. There are now signed copies of Frozen Orbit at Barnes & Noble in Hendersonville and Brentwood, TN. Act fast!
I was about to say this was poorly thought through, only to realize it was PERFECTLY thought through.
Check out @_youhadonejob1’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/_youhadonejob1/status/918862599990792192?s=09
That one’s gonna leave a mark. It’s from FrontpageMag, so I doubt too many of the people who need to see it most actually will. Could be wrong. Hope I am. Read the whole thing and decide for yourself.
The next piece from American Spectator wraps the whole thing up with a nice little bow: It’s time we had a talk about…hmm…I don’t know…maybe…
Come to think of it, this might just become a recurring theme around here.
Sarah Hoyt describes her struggle to reconcile competing views on one of the 20th century’s visionaries. Her perspective is unique: having experienced the Portugese Revolution as a young girl, she knows of what she speaks.
Having also just recently toured Marshall Space Center, this has been on my mind as well. I’ve always wondered how normal people, just trying to live their lives, perceive a national descent into hell like Nazism or Communism as it’s happening. How many tiny compromises does one make each day just so it’s possible to see the next?
I suppose the only cut-and-dried solution would’ve been mass execution of all captured Germans: kill ’em all, let God sort ’em out. Good thing we didn’t, likewise a good thing that we picked him up before the Red Army got to him.
As you guys know I’ve been reading about von Braun. Mostly I’ve been reading about Von Braun because I visited Huntsville for TVIW and got curious. Before that all I’d heard bout him, as a person, was, dropped in a conversation “I figure he was a true psychopath who didn’t care, so long as he got to space.”
After reading four biographies (two for, two against) I regret to tell you that I’m not sure that was true.
I come neither to bury Von Braun not to praise him. I doubt if he knew, in himself, if he was a villain or a hero. And I doubt he was a psychopath. The reason I doubt he was the later is that he didn’t take to a totalitarian regime like a duck to water. Instead he tried to compromise his soul a little at a time, a vestige of humanity and…
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David Burkhead, the Writer in Black, on some sickening reactions to the Vegas shooting. The implications are perhaps as frightening as the event itself:
I’m a little too angry to write much here. I’m not going to go into the shooting itself. For one thing, for the first 2-3 days you usually have more speculation and made-up nonsense than actual facts. Instead, I’m going to go into the responses of some people to this tragedy. So, let’s see that folk had to say:
Isn’t that just charming?
Let’s see what else is out there. Oh, there’s this gem:
Leaving aside the factual errors (giving her the benefit of the doubt) in the statements look at the line “I don’t feel sorry or feel bad about what happened in Las Vegas”.
Only counting those who voted not those supporters who, for whatever reason, didn’t make it to the polls, that’s just under 63 million people “i am cassie” wants dead–over political differences. Five times the total killed in the Holocaust, she wants dead because she…
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