A new study suggests lightning may be weak or nonexistent in Martian dust storms. Researchers vibrated basalt grains at various atmospheric pressures to test their ability to build up charge.

Lightning in a dust storm plays a role in my forthcoming book, Air: Generation Mars, Book One. Hard science fiction is a moving target. Still, the fictional strike in question is weak and only damaging to electrical equipment, so I think it’s plausible.


Utopia is a journey

“This perfect society we’re striving towards should always be a spot on the horizon, something we’re still moving towards even if it seems like we’ve fixed everything. Utopia is a journey: not the happy ending, but the continued improvement of ourselves.”

This is a near perfect summation of my thoughts regarding Dawn Colony in Generation Mars.

Ut melius faciat! (To do better)

Bombarded with words

Geraldine McCaughrean recently won the UK’s Carnegie Medal for children’s literature. Her acceptance speech gives me a bit more confidence in my prose choices for Scratching the Surface.

“Accessible language is, to me, a euphemism for something desperate. Most of its tyrannies are brought to bear on younger books right now. But blink twice and today’s junior school readers will be in secondary school,armed only with a pocketful of single syllable words, and with brains far less receptive to the acquisition of vocabulary than when they were three or seven or nine… We master words by meeting them, not by avoiding them.”