Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Solar Campaign Blurb

Well, it's in progress. Blurbs are stupidly tough to write. How do you condense a 200-page novel into just a few lines of text? Answer: you don't. That's the challenge. But here's what I've got so far.


Life outside Earth’s embrace isn’t life at all. This is what humankind has learned by the year 2338, when it has colonized the farthest reaches of our solar system. The thrill of endeavor has long vanished in the face of bleak reality. Whether on airless moons and isolated space stations, survival is a universal struggle—one that the colonists are gradually losing.
 
Nowhere is worse than Persephone, a lonely planet on the fringe of the Kuiper Belt, a place so cold that nitrogen freezes solid, and so distant that the sun is little more than the brightest speck in the sky.
 
Jim Redfield remains content to trawl the icy wastes with his dad for valuable bits of meteor, softening his predicament with an unquenchable sense of humor. His ambitious girlfriend, Lana Birkett, is poised to complete her final year as a naval cadet. Ahead of her lies a promising career—one that they both know will mean the end of their relationship.
 
Meanwhile, all around them, their people’s gazes have turned to the sky. An entire planet clings to one shared dream: to stand on the soil of Earth once again. To go home.
 
But when talks with Earth’s government descend into a diplomatic crisis, the people of Persephone face a calamitous decision: either accept slow extinction, or deny their exile and fight. Both Lana and Jim are soon drawn into a titanic conflict, one that will embroil every world in the solar system, from the valleys of Mars to the rings of Neptune and far, far beyond.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Funny article I found

Anyone who's been in the military has a very close relationship with his or her bowels. It's a preoccupation that would probably strike most civilians as disturbing. I've had to reflect on this as I proofread my draft. There's a preponderance of references to vomiting, urinating, or defecating, usually as a joke from one of my characters. I've wondered if I should edit some of these out.

But now I remember that while this sort of topic will come off as adolescent to some, it's a true reflection of how people in the military behave. I'm not lying when I assert that every soldier, sailor, marine, and airman I've ever met (including myself) has not one, but an arsenal of poop stories. This is one of the better ones I've read. I hope you get as much of a kick out of it as I did.

"Case Study" Ramadi: A Ranger Looks Back

Friday, November 20, 2015

So it wasn't actually that tough...

...to give my series a name. It's (probably) going to be called The Solar Campaign, and name of the first book in the series is The Spanish Game. I was pretty sure about the first book's title from the beginning.

The Spanish Game is one of the oldest and most famous opening moves in chess. Anyone who's played chess has probably played the sequence without actually knowing it. The reason the first book is named for an opening move hopefully makes sense, given the series title; You can't describe the conquest of our entire solar system in a single book. Yes, many (possibly most) sci-fi authors have done just that. They chronicle the destruction of stars, the fall of entire planets overnight. It's pretty epic stuff.

But I'm taking a different route. This series will describe a world-by-world military campaign to conquer every populated celestial body orbiting our star. That would take time. Decades. Once again, I almost launched into a discussion on this, but it's a topic to expand on later. Back to the topic at hand.

For me, the biggest consideration in choosing a title was simple: Make sure the title hasn't been used before. A good story has to be original, so by extension, a title has to point to that originality. I hate to say it, but I've actually passed over books without taking them off the shelves just because of cheesy rip-off titles.

Searching Amazon didn't turn up any matches for "Solar Campaign", so that's gold.

Another consideration: other sci-fi titles. To name a few:
- Starship Troopers
- Dune
- Aurora
- Star Wars (because of course)
- Foundation
- The Forever War

These are succinct titles. They sound cool. They aren't too grandiose, either. My title needs to echo these without copying them.

The Solar Campaign seems like my winner. It points to the plot of my story without giving too much away. It's not pretentious like another title I was considering, which was Void Aflame (it just sounds kind of douchey to me). To my eye and ear, it's reminiscent of a lot of great sci-fi books written over the years, but it's still mine.

This may not end up being my ending title. Maybe my publisher (hopefully I get one!) will decide they don't like it. My feelings wouldn't be too hurt. It's the words after the title that I want people to read. If there's another title that will get more of readers to open the book, that's the one I'll go with.

In other news, I've added an excerpt from the first book to a page. The link is docked on the right. Since this is a military sci-fi, I thought a combat sequence would be the best way to introduce the story. Head on over and make your first combat drop with the Solar Reclamation Marine Corps!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Welcome and thank you!

Welcome to the Reasoned Ravings of author T. K. Krug, and thank you for visiting!

This blog is meant to take down my thoughts as I embark on my first Science Fiction series. Writing Sci-Fi is one hell of an adventure. Since readers of the genre tend to be a little... let's say, scrutinizing of facts, there's a lot of research involved when you set out to write a watertight story. With that research comes plenty of thought, which doesn't always fit into the narrative, so I expect that my blog space will be a sort of outlet for sidebars that didn't make it into the story.

We live in fascinating times. I consider myself fortunate to be alive in this age, even with so much still wrong in so many parts of the world. The innocent prosperity of the 90's has devolved into a period that often seems full of chaos and mutual distrust. But I see plenty of cause for hope. The world is rising together against the possibly the greatest evil of our generation, Islamic State. There's rising awareness of climate change, and a corresponding agreement that the world needs to face it as one.

Most exciting to me is a renewed interest in science, especially the exploration of our solar system. This is most vividly displayed by the recent release of The Martian in theaters. The movie, like the book before it, received universal acclaim. To me, that's indicative of our resurgent fascination with space exploration.

And look at all the things to be excited about! We have a science panzer rolling around Mars right now. We've seen Pluto for the first time, and it's got the brightest minds in the scientific community giddy. Enceladus has recently gained the spotlight as a possible home for extraterrestrial life.

It's mind-blowing stuff, and that's why I've opted to keep my story within the bounds of the solar system. I want to encourage the idea that our own back yard is packed with wonders. I want to showcase what it might be like to live on worlds like Mars, Europa, Enceladus, Triton, and even Haumea. I've gone one step further, but I'll expand on that in a later post. It's thrilling to write about, and sobering as well, because new scientific findings are being announced almost daily about settings that I've already fleshed out in my story. Also, many of the places my characters visit haven't been explored at all, just observed at such great distances and in such poor detail that I'm left to make educated guesses.

Call it the thrill of discovery in absentia. It's alright. I'm in love.

At the same time, I have to confront the fact that living so far from our home may not be a pleasant experience. This is the core idea behind my story.

An entire civilization declares in one voice that life in the far reaches of the solar system isn't life at all, that it isn't worth living, and that they're coming home. At any cost.

I could go on about this for pages. I mean, I wrote a whole book about it, and there's going to be a series to follow.

For now, I'll close by saying thank you again for taking the time to visit. Let me leave you with possibly the most inspiring digital short I've ever seen, The Wanderers.

Next post, I plan to tackle the as-yet-unsolved problem: what do I name my series?