First walk

There had been much debate among the colonists regarding when children should be allowed on the surface. Ultimately, for reasons unimportant to this story, they had settled on the age of four, in Martian-years, as the appropriate time to introduce children to the world outside. And so, Cas and the other third graders had become the first human children to walk on the surface of another planet.

Air: Generation Mars, Book One

Coming in October

(image: from Scratching the Surface, Luis Peres)

ARCs!

The ARCs (advance review copies) for the next Generation Mars book have arrived!

Preparing

Now, in the ObsDome near the airlock, Cas felt the familiar calm that always came to her once a worrisome task got under way. She and the other third graders were squirming into their surface suits. This was a slow process. The wire mesh that provided compression would not squeeze until the suit was turned on. But, even when off, the suit fit tightly and took some effort to get into. Outside the windows of the ObsDome, she could see nothing but a dim brown.

Air: Generation Mars, Book One

Coming in October

(image: Luis Peres)

Acidalia Planitia

Acidalia Planitia is a broad, flat, lowland area in the northern hemisphere of Mars. As the ancient oceans of Mars receded, Acidalia Planitia held one of the last shallow seas. That water is long gone now and Acidalia is a windswept plain. On this plain, the thin wind of Mars dances and plays with the dust of the ancient sea, as it has for billions of years.

Air: Generation Mars, Book One

Coming in October

(image: Luis Peres)

Underground

The classroom was in a cavern underground. The classroom, and the entire colony, were in a sealed habitat that kept the air breathable and pressurized to the amount required for human survival. Any sudden change in that pressure was serious and could indicate a breach (a hole) in the habitat. Pressure doors were scattered throughout the colony that could seal an effected area off from the rest if necessary.
 
Air: Generation Mars, Book One
 
Coming in October
 
(image: Luis Peres Children’s Books Illustrator)

There will come a time

“There will come a time,” said Sally, “when things will go wrong.” Her face was serious but kind. “Comms might go down. Your suit might get damaged. Your nose might itch.” Everybody smiled. And then everybody’s nose itched. “Things will go wrong,” Sally repeated, “often many things at once. It’s very easy to lose your cool when they do, and that’s guaranteed to make things worse. But if you keep calm and deal with each problem as it comes, there is always a way to make things better.”

Air: Generation Mars, Book One

Coming in October

 

image: NASA/JPL/MSSS; processing and mosaic: Olivier de Goursac (fr), 2014

Air: Generation Mars, Book One

There was a sudden roar, louder than any noise Ori had ever heard. She sank to the floor, pulled her knees to her chin, closed her eyes, and cowered against the closed door. She had never felt wind before, only slight movements of air from the distribution system in the colony. But now she felt a terrifying rush of air over her. There were crashes and groans all around, and she opened her eyes to see the content of the dome—tables, chairs, lab equipment, plants, all—falling and shifting in the direction of the wind. She closed her eyes and screamed.

Air: Generation Mars, Book One

Coming in October

Getting real

Just assigned ISBNs and requested Library of Congress numbers for the paperback and ebook versions of the forthcoming book. Things are finally getting real.

Audiobook available!

At long last, the audiobook version of Scratching the Surface has been approved and is now available. Read by Emily Lakdawalla, Senior Editor and Solar System Specialist for The Planetary Society, the audiobook includes a downloadable pdf containing illustrations and background material.

https://www.amazon.com/Scratching-Surface-Generation-Mars-Prelude/dp/B08CDVG5NR

https://www.audible.com/pd/Scratching-the-Surface-Audiobook/B08CDW2BLN

Also available from iTunes!