Saturday, 29 September 2018

Alien Secrets Publication Date

Alien Secrets cover

The eagerly awaited second book in the Flight of the Kestrel science fiction series is launched on Kindle on Wednesday 3rd October. It's available for pre-order now. Alien Secrets will be only 99c/99p (or the equivalent in other currencies) for the first 5 days. The story can be read alone but if you want to read book one, Intruders, it will be the same price at the same time.

That's two whole novels for less than $2/£2! AND read on for news of a special reward.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Gerald of Wales and the Natural World

This is a series about the journey that Archbishop Baldwin and Gerald of Wales took in 1188 to preach the crusade throughout Wales. Gerald kept a detailed account of the journey and their surroundings, which he later published. The series began with some background posts about Gerald, and is continuing with more interesting facets of his life and work. If you want to read the series from the beginning, go here.

Gerald of Wales may have been the first person to make a serious study of the natural world. He called himself ‘a careful investigator of natural history.’ There were herbalists and alchemists before but their studies were very narrow. Gerald was fascinated by nature, but also included spiritual occurrences and phenomena that couldn't be explained in that study. He described miracles in the same matter-of-fact way as he described nature. He also believed that incidents described by reliable sources were truth, and never considered the person may be teasing him. So while some of his stories can be rejected, others are very astute observation.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Science Research: New Cathedrals

Canterbury Cathedral

Written in 1999:

For five hundred years after Rome fell, no one built anything of consequence in Western Europe. No one built any stone structures more than two stories high. Metaphorically speaking, no one planted any trees, because no one believed there was a future. Then, with the turn of the millennium, people looked around and saw they had survived the barbarian invasions, the Huns and the Moors, the Vikings, and the threat of the world’s supernatural destruction on the millennium itself. The realisation hit them: “We made it!” And knowing there would be a future, they started building cathedrals.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Holiday!

Shakespeare graffiti

I won’t be writing for a week or so – we are off on holiday to Stratford on Avon, Shakespeare’s home town. I’ll tell you all about it later, and all the book news – and there’s big news coming.

Ann Marie Thomas head shot (80x90) (300dpi) Web GravatarAnn Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

The Journey Through Wales and the Third Crusade

This is a series about the journey that Archbishop Baldwin and Gerald of Wales took in 1188 to preach the crusade throughout Wales. Gerald kept a detailed account of the journey and their surroundings, which he later published. The series began with some background posts about Gerald. If you want to read the series from the beginning, go here.

Crusader

After all the effort of travelling all the way around Wales preaching the crusade (and there were similar efforts elsewhere too), what happened to the crusade? Nothing, because the crusade didn't happen. England and France had long been enemies, but the two kings had made a truce in the face of the greater cause, which broke down almost straight away. Within two months of Gerald's return to Hereford, the two countries were at war again.

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Science Research: Mars Direct

Mars true color

I'm reading Robert Zubrin's book Entering Space for research. Having debunked the idea of a colony on the Moon (see last week), Zubrin turns his attention to Mars. Unsurprising since the blurb on the back cover says that his humans-to-Mars mission plan has been adopted by NASA and he is the president of the Mars Society. At least he was in 1999 when this book was published.

... uniquely among the extraterrestrial bodies of our solar system, Mars is endowed with all the resources needed to support not only life but the development of a technological civilisation. In contrast to the comparative desert of Earth's moon, Mars possesses oceans of water frozen into its soil as permafrost, as well as vast quantities of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen, all in forms readily accessible to those clever enough to use them. In addition, Mars has experienced the same sorts of volcanic and hydrologic processes that produced a multitude of mineral ores on Earth. Virtually every element of significant interest to industry is known to exist on the Red Planet. With its 24-hour day-night cycle and an atmosphere thick enough to shield its surface against solar flares, Mars is the only extraterrestrial planet that will readily allow large-scale greenhouses lit by natural sunlight. 

Can you tell he's a fan?

Monday, 3 September 2018

Shrewsbury to Hereford (Gerald’s Journey Through Wales 1188)

This is a series about the journey that Archbishop Baldwin and Gerald of Wales took in 1188 to preach the crusade throughout Wales. Gerald kept a detailed account of the journey and their surroundings, which he later published. The series began with some background posts about Gerald. If you want to read the series from the beginning, go here.

The party hadn't set foot in Wales since they arrived at Chester, though their last crusade sermon was preached at Oswestry where a number of Welsh crossed the border to be present. But the journey had begun from Hereford and that was where it would end.

Ludlow Castle

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Science Research: Moon Base

Moon

The idea of a base on the Moon is a staple of science fiction. After all, since it’s so close, it’s obviously the place to start. But is it so obvious? The book I’m reading for research, Entering Space by Robert Zubrin, has disabused me of that idea. Here is the thinking behind the Moon base:

The possible discovery of water on the Moon gives new life to an idea that has been discussed in both science fiction and the astronautical engineering literature for some time—that of using a lunar base as a staging point for missions to worlds beyond. The idea is that since the Moon has only one-sixth Earth’s gravity and no atmosphere, it’s possible to reach any destination in space much easier from the Moon than it is from the Earth’s surface. Thus, if indeed rocket propellant can be made available on the lunar surface, the Moon could well turn into an excellent refuelling station and port of call for interplanetary traffic.