Wormholes and Swords is a blog dedicated to Science Fiction and Fantasy, with a bit of real world technical stuff thrown in from time to time. It is managed by T.D. Wilson, author of the Science Fiction book series, The Epherium Chronicles.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

New Kitiara Cosplay Update

About a month ago, I posted a link to new Cosplay based on Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragonlance series, specifically Kitiara Uth Matar and her dragon, Skie.  Well, the group Artyfakes have almost completed their masterpiece and plan to display to the world this January, 2014.  Here is a quick teaser of what is to come.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Examining Them for Science and Science Fiction

With all the news about recent planetary discoveries, I thought it was time for a post on the subject.  Exoplanets.  The topic to astrophysicists, astronomers, and science fiction enthusiasts often gets the same reaction.  Profound euphoria.  I liken to a child's discovery of a brand new pet that they just have to have.  

I have worked with people at NASA, not just the scientists, but some who manage the  advanced computer systems used to process the data that satellites like Kepler and the Hubble Telescope produce.  It's exciting to listen to the buzz around such a group when rumors of a discovery of new world emerge.  A tech guy and a science fiction enthusiast, I find it just plain awesome.

To date, the Kepler satellite has documented about 3500 exoplanets and of those worlds, about 104 are considered somewhere in the habitable zone.  Now of course, that habitable zone has some strict boundaries.  We base it on the type of star, its radiation, the planets distance from its star, and the systems apparent age.   But we only base it on live as we understand it.  Life comparable to what we have here and it requires water, atmosphere, a variety of potential minerals, but also a likeness of size to Earth.  Why to do we say that.  Well, the larger the planet, the increased gravitational effect on the life that exists on that world.  If humans were to colonize a world in one of those zones, gravity has to be a concern.  The goal is find a planet less than twice as large as Earth, but that poses a problem.  We use Kepler and other planet detection technologies to detect transversals between us and that planet's star.  It's hard enough now to catch any planet on a transversal, let alone a small one.  Scientists also estimate that bout 20% of stars like Earth's have a planet that might be in that size range.  With more satellites looking, we can find them, but it's going to take time.

We have found a few Earth sized sized worlds. but not in the habitable zone.  Keplar 78b is located roughly 700 light years from Earth is about 20% larger than Earth, but its proximity to its star (about 40 times closer to its sun than Mercury) would make is a molten world.  It only has an 8.5 hr day.  Not viable at all, but it doesn't mean there might not be other worlds in that system we just haven't seen.

Some scientists believe the existence of Keplar 78b isn't possible, simply based on the data we know about its size and proximity.  But what about the other end of the spectrum?  Recently discovered HD 106906 b is about 300 light years from Earth in the constellation Crux.  This planet is huge and could be the result of a new world being formed from the debris of other worlds in its system.  Orbiting its star at 60 billion miles, it has the widest orbit of any recorded exoplanet thus far.  That orbit is over 650 times the current orbit of Earth.  The other crazy statistic about this world is its size.  It's about 11 times the size of Jupiter and estimates put its temperature at 1800 K.  Its very existence is challenging scientists' understanding of the formation of planets and other solar systems.

Now for the sci-fi part.  How can we use them in our stories, novels, and screen plays?  Well, the information is there.  Use it.  I find the best way to generate a good science fiction story is tp wrap it around the real science involved.  After that we can use our creative imaginations to take the next steps; put in the "what ifs".  So we have solar system dominated by planets that have no chance of supporting life as we know it.  But what about new life?  Life formed from other materials, like silicon instead of carbon.   They could be a crystalline life form designed to thrive in such an environment.  Or perhaps we have a planet in a habitable zone, but the gravity is way off the chart for humans.  Something else could live there and face it, if it made it to Earth it would be pretty darn strong after dealing with its home world's gravity.

I'm excited to continually read about our new discoveries out there in the black.  Personally, I would love to be one of the adventurers that travels to a new solar system and is part of a foundation for a human colony light years from home.  It probably won't happen in my lifetime.  I hope it does for my children, but for now we can look, listen, study, and above all imagine what's out there.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Amazing Spiderman 2

If you haven't had a chance to cruise YouTube or IMDB, you may not have seen the latest trailer for Amazing Spiderman 2.  Marvel has several movies coming out next year and this one is set for May 2.  It looks awesome.  Going to be a fun year for movies.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fantasy Trivia Time

One of my favorite characters in fantasy novels is R.A. Salvatore's Dark Elf, Drizzt Do'urden.  I have read all but the very latest book concerning this fascinating character, but early on Drizzt's life, he nearly died.  In the City of Menzobarranzen, the Drow matriarchal society is brutal and absolute.  Males are the underlings and viewed with scorn, especially by the priestesses of Lolth.  In the opening chapters of the book Homeland, Drizzt is a mere baby and his older brother, Dinin, saves his life.  How did it happen?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Final Trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Looks like the final trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is out.  It looks good.  Cannot wait for this movie.  It is in theaters, December 13.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Next Generation of Speed

I was always fascinated about reading the stories of the SR-71 Blackbird.  It was THE coolest aircraft to talk about.  Made from titanium alloy plates, it leaked and really didn't look like a plane.  When it got to speed, the fuselage sealed up and it could outrun anything in the air. including its armaments.  It wasn't viable as a fighter, so the US Air Force made it a spy plane.

I saw one of the original test planes, the YF-12A at the US Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.  It was really cool and they now have a decommissioned SR-71 in the Cold War exhibit.  If you ever get a chance, be sure to stop by and look at all the displays, including that one.

Now, the next generation of high speed aircraft is coming.  The SR-72 which is a concept aircraft from Lockheed Martin.  Here is a link to their information.  It uses turbine based combined propulsion.  It easier terms, its a turbine jet engine combined with a ramjet.  With the new ramjet that was tested on the HTV-2 hypersonic test vehicle, this new aircraft could go from near standstill to MACH 6 quite quickly.  Just hope the pilot can take it.

Anyway, here is the information:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Science Fiction Trivia Time!

Yes, it's trivia time again for all us fans of science fiction.  This time were hitting the books.  I'm going back to an old favorite of mine, Larry Niven's Ringworld novel.  Better break it out if you haven't read it...

Ok.  Today's question is:  In Niven's Ringworld, as well some of his other Known Space books, he incorporated an idea that a certain genetic trait could be favored by selective breeding.  What is the trait?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Science Fiction Trivia Time

This week's Science Fiction Trivia Question is Star Wars related.

In the first Star Wars film (Episode IV: A New Hope), Luke, Han, Chewie and Leia are sneaking around the Death Star after their escape from the trash compactor.  The group encounters a patrol of Stormtroopers.  Han and Chewie tell Luke and Leia to "Get back to the ship!" and take off after the retreating troopers.  Their advance stops when Han comes to a room filled with more Stormtroopers, who immediately open fire and force Han and Chewie to run.  That scene in the "Special Edition" version of A New Hope was changed and had several squads of troopers in the room.  What was the count of Stormtroopers in the room in the original unmodified release?

Here is a link to a video clip showing the Special Edition version:


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Epherium Chronicles Update!

As promised, I want to keep you appraised of the latest developments with the The Epherium Chronicles.

Ok, first round of edits are in for Book #1, Embrace.  It's time for me to get to work.  A few adjustments, but nothing really unexpected.  My editor from Carina Press is Bryon Quertermous.  I can tell that we are both on the same page.  It's a good thing.  Pub date for Embrace is still slated for March 3, 2014.  A new cover is in the works and I can't wait to see what it's going to look like.

Echoes update.  Book 3 is coming along.  I have two solid chapters and lots of notes and pieces for several more.  It's a great stew at the moment that is coming to a simmer and just needs some seasoning.  I've had a few people read the first chapter and I think the opening will definitely keep readers psyched for more.

On last thing, November is National Novel Writing Month time.  Be sure to visit www.nanowrimo.org.  I have several things happening in November.  I might try put in a new project, but it's not set in stone.  I have a few great ideas, but family, work, and my current series have to take priority.  For the rest of you who want to try and create your first story, check it out.  There are local writing groups all over and some good material available to help.  Just bring your imagination.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dragonlance COSplay

I am a huge fan of the Dragonlance novels and fantasy world that Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman created.  Margaret will get mad at me for saying this, but I was still in high school when it first came out.  LOL.  Anyway, many conventions today have some talented Costume Players (COSplay).  One COSplayer hails from England and her name is Tabitha Lyons.  She and her friends at Artyfakes have created a complete set of armor for the Kitiara Uth Matar character from the Dragonlance series and are close to completing a mockup of her dragon, Khellendros, who is better known as Skie.

Here are some of the links to her COSplay site and the Artyfakes website on how to build a dragon.  Pretty impressive.

Tabitha's Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/TabithaArtyfakes
Fantasy Trivia Time

It's time for this week's Fantasy Trivia Question.

This weeks question comes from one of the great fantasy story settings of all time, J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth.  This setting has spanned not just the 200 or so years of the Hobbit to the Lord of the Rings, but for thousands of years across three separate ages.

Sauron, the perennial villain for the third age of Middle Earth, is often remembered as the dark warrior in armor whose fingers were severed by Isildur with the remnant of his father's sword, Narsil.  More vividly, we envision him as the great eye, ever searching for the Ring of Power and sowing evil and fear into the hearts of the people of Middle Earth.  But Sauron was not always the most feared foe in Middle Earth.  He was originally a servant of Morgoth, the fallen member of the Valar.  Sauron was still powerful, but he had a different form when he first arrived in Middle Earth.  What was Sauron's original form?

Friday, October 11, 2013

New TV Shows Picked UP

Even in this new fall season of television, two new shows already have some good news.

The first show is already becoming a favorite of mine.  Sleepy Hollow has been renewed for season 2.  I love Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane.  Nichole Beharie brings some real life to the Abbie Mills character and both actors complement each other well.  The entire setting, backstory, and Crane's 18th century knowledge, to me, is what makes this show a hit.

The second show I want to mention is Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has been picked up for the full 22 episode season.  I really want to see it succeed.  The series has picked up some momentum in the last few episodes, but we need to see more overarching stories and recurring villains (even some big ones) to make it viable.  That will help it tremendously.  I also think this show can be a real launching pad for the new members of the Avengers set to make appearances in the next movie.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Science Fiction Trivia Time

Every week I plan to post a new science fiction or fantasy trivia question.  If you don't see one from me, please just poke me because I may have gotten distracted.

Anyway, this week's question is:

The Klingon language, since its inception, has spawned its own dictionary, has been used widely in Star Trek movies and TV, and is now actively spoken at Star Trek (and even Klingon conventions or gatherings).  Who came up with the Klingon language concept and when?

Friday, October 4, 2013

RAILGUNS "The Series" Part 3

Use in Science Fiction

In my two previous posts on this topic, we looked at the concept and then the history of the railgun.  As you might have guessed, if these weapons were to fully fielded, their firepower could have a dramatic effect on the battlefields we know today.  However, we still struggle to overcome many of the limitations for power, physics, materials, and feasibility.  Given time, I believe we can find a way to bring these weapons out of concept phases and make them truly combat ready.

In this segment, I wanted to focus on where railguns have been used or discussed in science fiction books, TV, movies, and especially in role-playing and video games.  Now before I begin, I do want to note that not all the references listed here are true railgun implementations.  Many are based on the coilgun.  I plan to talk more about the coilgun features in another post, but for brevity, the coilgun uses magnetic fields from electrical wire coils to accelerate a projectile.  A projectile would be accelerated by the magnetic fields in the center of the coils.  An example of the coilgun would be a Gauss Rifle or a mass driver.

Now, where have we seen references to railguns or electric guns in literature?  One of the prominent novel series to showcase railguns was old favorite of mine, Buck Rogers.  Another example hails from 1955, when Arthur C. Clark used a weapon in his novel Earthlight that propelled a piece of molten metal for projectile.  In a railgun, this implementation wouldn't work, but it was one of the earliest references.  Perhaps the earliest example was in 1897, but it was for a coilgun.  John Munro's A Trip to Venus used a large electric gun to launch vehicles into space and later could be modified to send reinforced projectiles as a weapon.

I have found several references to mass drivers and Gauss Rifles in different books.  The Mechwarrior and Battletech books had Gauss Rifles on mechs, tanks, and spaceships (lots of these books were really good, but the ones written by Michael A. Stackpole were superb).  Henry Harrison's book The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge was another that used Gauss Rifles.  For true railguns, Redemption Ark, by Alastair Reynolds and Old Man's War by John Scalzi were good examples of railguns deployed on spaceships.  There are several others, some of which had hand-held versions of railguns, but these are the ones I am most familiar.

So, what about TV series?  Well, the first one that came to mind for me was Stargate: Atlantis.  The use of the railguns was an excellent ideas and they could easily be powered by Asgardian power cores, but the implementation here to me was not realistic. The rate of fire was way to high.  The show seemed to treat the railgun more as point defense weapons and had no real damaging effect against other large ships, even those that didn't have shields.

In Babylon 5 (one of my all time favorite sci-fi series), the Centauri used mass drivers to pummel the Narn homeworld.  I tried to dig up some more Earth based uses for railguns or mass drivers for the show or the role-playing game, but I haven't found any.

Space Above and Beyond had mention that cannons were railguns, but the design use doesn't fit either.  There were some big cannons on the carriers, but we never got to see if these were railguns or some sort of particle weapon.

There is still some debate about the type of weapons used by the Battlestars in the latest rendition of Battlestar Galactica.  Some believe the main weapons, particularly on the newer Pegasus were railguns.  The design of the weapons for the Galactica still look to be a conventional weapon design.  They could work in space, but the round or firing chamber would have to have some oxygen available.

Now there are some really cool anime series that used railguns; specifically, Macross (Robotech).  The SDF-1 was equipped with four huge railguns, as were the Mach II Destroids (my friend Jeff is a huge fan of those).  The Justice League cartoon series had a reference to mass drivers via the perennial villain Vandal Savage.

There may be some more TV references that I am not aware, so please post comments for those you know.

Now on to the big screen.  There are a few big films that showcased some type of electromagnetic projectile weapon.  The Last Starfighter (a movie that I really wanted a sequel made) contained the meteor gun, which was a large mass driver used by the Kodan to attack the Starfighter base.  The movie, Eraser, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, used a  hand-held railgun weapon that was complete with x-ray optics.  Demolition Man was another to depict the railgun as a hand-held weapon.

In Aliens, the Marine warship, Sulaco, had several large gun emplacements.  In many discussions and data provided about the ship, it was stated that some of the guns were railguns, but we never got to see them in action.  Hmm, nuke it from orbit or lob a few sorties down to the planet and let the aliens suck on those.  Tough call.

More recently, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen used a navy ship based railgun to destroy Devastator when he was tearing apart a pyramid.  This was probably the most realistic example of a railgun in the field of any of the movies or TV shows I have seen, but it was only used once.  In this case, once was enough and you could see the amount of damage it inflicted even at long range.

The Zeus System in G.I. Joe: Retaliation was an example of a mass driver.  However, the system relied more on gravity to accelerate its projectiles.  Speed kills and this implementation used it to devastating effect.

I believe the newest railgun implementation in a movie was in Elysium with its ChemRail gun.

Finally, lets look at games.  Remarkably, I have found the most references to the use of railguns and coilguns in different fashions in role-playing or video games.  Lets start with role-playing/table-top games.  I was always a big BattleTech fan and Gauss Rifles were a great weapon for damage and range.  I played Traveler a few times, but I never realized there were Gauss style weapons.  Another iconic game, WarHammer 40000 has its Tau railguns.  The game used railguns for tanks, aircraft and powered armor.  Another game I loved playing was Palladium's Rifts.   There was so much source material to use.  Lots of powered armor and big weapons, especially the GlitterBoy armor.  The armor had good protection and one big railgun.

As you can imagine, video games have so many implementations for railguns.  Command and Conquer, Armored Core, Metal Gear solid, some of the Ace Combat series games, Descent 3, Total Annihilation (I loved that game), Star Craft, Tachyon: The Fringe (ok game, but it had Bruce Campbell in it so it had to be good, right?), several Quake games, and the Master of Orion game series.  You can find them all over the Halo game universe, they are in Half-life, and most importantly, they were used in the Mass Effect games.  Commander John Shepard for the win!  Who's with me?

This list is only a fraction of the games I found references for railguns, but these are the ones I have played.  Kinda wonder how much free time I really had over the years, huh?  I must say that I budgeted it well.

That's it for this installment.  In my next post, I will explain my vision for the use of railguns in the future and how I have employed them in my sci-fi book series, The Epherium Chronicles.  As always, if you have more information on railguns and their use in sci-fi for books, TV, movies, or games, please post it and share.

Monday, September 23, 2013

What was the Best Sci-fi/Fantasy Movie of the Summer?

Now that the summer of 2013 is officially over, what was the best sci-fi/fantasy movie?  I put together a quick poll, but I want everyone to not only vote.  I want them to post comments on why they think their choice was the best.  If you think one was second best, please post it.  I am sure many readers would want to know which movie you thought was the worst as well.  If I don't have your choice listed, please comment and let me know.  I will update the poll until Oct 5.

What was the best Sci-fi/Fantasy Movie of the Summer?

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Quick Word About Publishing and Rejection

I came across this article and I thought it was really inspiring for those of us who have tried to publish something and been rejected.  It takes patience; it takes perseverance;  it takes hope; it takes faith.  There are at least a dozen other qualities, but each person has to find their way.  The list doesn't include C.S. Lewis who was rejected over 800 times or Louis L'Amour was rejected 200 times.  Dr. Seuss was rejected repeatedly and F. Scott Fitzgerald was even told by an editor that he would have a great book, if only he would get rid of that Gatzby character.

Anyway, its a good list and many will find inspiration.

If any one else out there has a story to tell regarding their struggles with becoming published or their current journey, please share.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

RAILGUNS "The Series"

Part 2 - History

In my last installment of Railguns "The Series", I started off by describing what is a railgun and how it compares to the function of an electric motor.  This time, let's take a look at the history of the railgun and a little bit of why the railgun is considered to be a potential weapon for ships, portable field artillery, and even small arms.

Most historians view the first railgun design as the developed by French Inventor Louis Octave Fauchon-Villeplee.  It was an electric cannon,  He applied for a US Patent and it was issued in 1922.  The first working railgun was fielded by Joachim Hansler of Germany during World War II.  The design, while feasible, only accelerated projectiles to about 1 km/sec.  The velocity was slightly slower than conventional rounds, but the design was a fantastic achievement.  He planned to take the design to make a new anti-aircraft cannon.  That version of the cannon was never built, but plans that were later discovered showed the design to be technically feasible.  Although, the power required to achieve the muzzle velocity for the explosive laden projectile and the rate of fire would have required a small nuclear reactor.

Later in the 1960s, Australian physicists created a larger version of the railgun, but struggled with solid armature projectiles achieving greater than 3 km/sec velocities.  They added a new wrinkle to the design; plasma.  A small fuse was inserted behind a non-conductive projectile (usually a nylon cube).  The concept of the fuse is to become the initial circuit between the rails.  As the fuse is consumed by the current, it becomes super-heated plasma.  During the process, the electromotive force generated by the magnetic fields thrusts the projectile forward.

Over the past few decades, we have seen more advancements in railgun design.  In 2003, the British Ministry of Defense tested a 1/8 scale railgun design.  The muzzle velocity for that test reached Mach 6.  An impressive step for a the next larger scale weapon, primary for ships or large platforms.

In 2012, BAE delivered and tested a railgun for the US Navy.  The picture of the gun is below:

The tests for this gun provided speeds roughly at 4500 to 5600 mph and were set for ranges of 50 to 100 nautical miles.  Not bad at all.  Average effective range for most naval gun ordinance is about 12 miles, except the larger 16 in guns of the Iowa Class battleships that ranged about 18.

General Atomics has also developed a new railgun.  Here is a video of their offering called the Blitzer System whick was designed for the Navy.

Now there are still some issues that we continue to face.  Power is one of the most prevalent, but with a nuclear powered vessel, those can be minimized.  Rail wear and malformation are still an issue.  The friction and effect of the high current passing through the rails is significant and has been a issue from the earliest of designs.  Rate of fire will not be high due to the power required and wear on the rails.  Repulsion is a another issue to consider.  Whether the projectile is a solid armature or a plasma "hybrid", there is significant force pressing outward on the rails that can cause stress and warping.  In space, reaction force to the liner electromagnetic force must be dealt with.  Having a ship in the water or a platform on the ground makes is a lot easier.

Next time we will talk about the use of railguns in our favorite sci-fi books, tv shows, and movies.  Don't worry, my take on using railguns in space is coming soon.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

RAILGUNS  "The Series"

As I often plan to do with the this blog, I want to look at the more science related issues in science-fiction writing.  Why rail guns?  Well, the Epherium Chronicles is set in the mid 22nd century and the primary Earth space based weapons are rail guns.  My goal with series of posts is not only to educate other about rail guns (their origin and function), but to compare them to other weapons and explain some of the advances made to them for my sci-fi book series.  It's the whole world building thing.

Plus, the picture of the rail gun fired from a naval test platform is really cool and I had to share.

First of all, what is a rail gun.  Here is wikipedia's quick explanation:

railgun is an electrically powered electromagnetic projectile launcher based on similar principles to the homopolar motor. A railgun comprises a pair of parallel conducting rails, along which a sliding armature is accelerated by the electromagnetic effects of a current that flows down one rail, into the armature and then back along the other rail.

Straightforward isn't it.  Well, a railgun originally was a very simple design based on the theory of the traditional electric motor.  You see for most of us engineering types, once the blood gets in the water on a new and cool topic, we are on it like sharks.  It wasn't different for the concept of electric motors.  Once the first few motor designs were developed a whole new engineering craze on the subject began.

Anyway, now for the motors.

You see, the traditional electric motors look something like this (for purposes of brevity, I using one example of a DC motor and not an AC one or the multitude of variations...its my blog and I show the examples).  

Since there are so many types, I don't want to bog you down with the details, but what I want to show is this.  When you apply electric current to the motor, the magnetic field generated create an electromotive force.  In the case of a standard motor the force causes the armature in the center to spin.  The higher the current, the faster it moves.

So if this a motor, what does a railgun have to do with it?  Well, a railgun is essential a linear motor, where the force generated moves in a straight line.  This next diagram depicts a simple concept of a railgun.

The railgun rails are parallel rails that electric current travels.  When current flows through a conductor like the rails, it generates a magnetic field.  In this case, the projectile is the armature and becomes a circuit bridge, thus allowing the electric current to run across from one of the rails to the other.  As the current travels, the magnetic fields create a linear electromotive force that pushes the project down the rails.  The higher the current, the create the acceleration.

In the next part of the series, we will talk history of the railgun, look at different approach to a linear motor weapon, and compare them to traditional types of weapons used today.  Nothing like examples to let your mind relate to scientific jargon. 

Please feel free to comment and share you thoughts.  This is fun stuff and I love to talk about.  Later on in this series we will look at how these weapons have been used in Sci-fi books, movies, or TV.  Are there depictions accurate or too far fetched?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Every year I have a list of TV series that I really want to take time to watch; even if I have to DVR them for a month to find a slot.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D  has a lot of promise.  I loved Agent Colson's character and hopefully, we might see guest appearances of the other Avengers (Black Widow and Hawkeye being the easiest).  I also think it would be a good way to integrate Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch into story line before the second Avenger's movie.  Another good slant would be to introduce Sharon Carter, Agent Peggy Carter's niece.  There is so much source material to use and I think Marvel has really excelled in putting the characters we love in a developed story line we can enjoy.

There are several Marvel movies coming, but this series can be a foundation for many of them and it can teach us more about S.H.I.E.L.D.  After a great summer of action, sci-fi, and superhero movies, this fall looks really bright.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Embrace update time.  I have spoken with my editor and I should have my first round of edits late next week.  Cover work has begun as well.  I am really excited to see what they design for it.  Based on the latest information I have received, the pub date for Embrace will be March 4, 2014.  I don't have any info on Crucible.

Now, I am steadily working on Echoes.  Even my best attempt at a descriptive outline hasn't survived this one.  I continue to go back to Stephen King's lessons in his book, On Writing.  I just put a group of characters into a situation and write what happens around them as you start the clock and time moves forward.  Its really fun to watch how fluid interactions with other characters can get, and how awkward. 

Wanted to post this in thanks to Parajukee and Alison Can Read for the Feature Follow Blog Hop.  Thanks for organizing this.

This week's question for this blog hop:

If you could only have ONE - one book - for the rest of your life.  Don't cheat...What would it be?


Truly a tough one for me.  The Bible would be my first choice.  That's just me.  But if I had a fictional book to take as a second, I would have to pick Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.  I have some really favorite authors I love to read.  Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Jim Butcher, R.A. Salvatore, Kevin J. Anderson, Robert Jordan, and the list goes on, but in college we took time to not only read, but study Mary Shelly's work.  The whole plot concept and interweaving of tragedy from both the doctor and the monster was terrific.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I know I haven't posted much lately about my book series, The Epherium Chronicles.  Well, there was a reason.  I recently pulled down my self-published novels from all the distributors and I have signed a three book deal for the series with Carina Press.  I am excited about this opportunity and I am sure many of you are excited to see this series really take off.  The plan is to have the sci-fi space opera released in early 2014.  I don't have an official pub date, but I believe it will be late January or early February.

I still plan to do at least five for this series and book three is in the works.  I wanted to start this novel, Echoes, off with a bang and, if the first chapter is any indication, I think I've done exactly that.

Anyway, here is the post on Publisher's Marketplace for the deal.

August 22, 2013
 Digital: Fiction: Sci-Fi/Fantasy T.D. Wilson's space opera trilogy THE EPHERIUM CHRONICLES, in which the Earth Defence Force must defeat alien menaces and dark agendas in order to protect legions of human colonists in faraway solar systems, to Angela James at Carina Press, for publication beginning in 2014, by Laura Wood atFinePrint Literary Management (World).

I will continue to update you all on the progress of things, including releases of new cover art.  I can't use the old covers, but I'm sure these new ones will really catch your eye.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

For most of my life as a kid, I was a huge fan of the big monster and giant robot movies.  Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera, King Kong, Ultraman, you name it.  You see them now and they look kind of cheesy, but back then, it was really cool stuff.

The Godzilla movie in 1998 with Matthew Broderick was just not the same.  I left that movie feeling a little deflated.  I wasn't sure if it was the story line around the monster or the monster itself.  It will be interesting to see what comes out of the new Godzilla movie to be released in 2014, but I digress.

In Pacific Rim, monsters have entered our world through a dimensional rift in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.  The creatures continued to get stronger and slowly began to appear more frequently.  Soon, mankind's conventional weaponry can't handle them.  So, the Jaeger program began.

Let me stop there.  I am a big Rifts roleplaying fan, as well as Robotech and Battletech.  The idea of developing hundred plus ton robots or powered armor with human pilots is just freaking cool.

Now, the movie's plot is not deep and for a summer action movie like this, it doesn't have to be.  It was made for one reason; ENTERTAINMENT.  Trust me.  For an old monster/robot movie fan, this movie had that in spades.

I really liked the idea that the invaders were sending clones of the monsters or Kaiju through the rift.  It was really interesting to learn the clones were mentally linked.  They helped future monstrosities learn and adapt to the human tactics. The Kaiju were intelligent and they were sent through with a purpose. I thought the idea that the would be invaders were colonists and had tried to come over before using the dinosaurs was also a fun idea.  I give the writer kudos for the back story.

Now for the Jaegers.  Wow.  I liked the Drift.  In my own writings, I have employed the uses of neural interfaces with machines.  I could easily understand the impediment on the human mind if a solo pilot tried to control one of those huge mechs.  For me, I would love to be one of those who sign up just to try.  I have a twin brother is who is a six degree black belt in Okinawan Karate.  Hmm.. Drift compatible for kicking butt..  Heck yeah!!!

I loved the idea of this movie and want to see more.  If the rift continues to be a problem and budgets aren't too much, I could see this being made into a TV series.

I give it an 8.5 out of 10 for its butt kicking monster bashing action.  The Jaegers were awesome.  Also, I took my kids to this movie.  Nine year olds, who like their dad, love big robots and hulking monsters on the big screen.  Gotta love it.

My family and I had waited a long time for Christopher Nolan's Man of Steel.  To be honest, there had to be something to redeem the Superman story line after Superman Returns.  There just had to be.  I have several friends who have been dogging this movie.  Too much of an action sequence here, not enough depth here, these characters didn't work....  I'm sorry.  I liked the movie.  It was good representation of who DC plans to portray Superman for the near and hopeful future.

Characters..  Amy Adams did a good inquisitive Louis Lane.  I liked her in this and the red-hair was a nice change of pace too.  Now, I have heard all kinds of grief about Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner.  I don't know why.  "They didn't offer anything!" is a claim I heard a lot.  My two cents, here.  They are not the main character!!!!  However, they did provide us the unique boundaries of Clark/Kal's personality.  What they valued, what they believed in, and how much they loved their son.  What lengths should someone go or even sacrifice themselves to save others whom they have never known.  Jor-el and Jonathan Kent showed their son the value of life.  In doing so, it made it so much harder for Superman to take the Zod's life in the end of the film.  Zod gave him no other option.  That choice that Superman makes will undoubtedly haunt him to the end of his days.  All through the film we really begin to see the depths of Superman's humanity.

Now with Zod gone, Kal-el is truly the last of his race.  That is unless a new way can be made to reopen the phantom zone.  But if the Kryptonians there are freed, would they listen to Clark and try to find a new life for Krypton?  Or would they continue the course Zod had already put on?

There are a few nitpicks on dialogue and some confusing character interaction, but they didn't overly detract from my enjoyment of the story.  I did like the idea that all Kryptonians are essentially clones that are generated from the same codex.  It also makes sense that Jor-el, the rabble rouser (if there is such a thing on Krypton) that he is, would break with society and have a naturally conceived child.  I give it a 7.5 out of 10.  It was good, but not quite the wow.

I do think this film is a good starter that can make more inroads into other films for DC and ultimately to a Justice League movie.  Marvel has done a fantastic job integrating story lines for its characters involved in the Avengers and I would truly like to see DC step up and bring us something worthy of the World's Mightiest Heroes.

Friday, May 31, 2013

I forgot to post this one...  I took the family out to see the third Iron Man movie the weekend it came out.  a bit crowded, but not too bad for the time slot we chose.  My boys and I were really psych'd about this one.  The movie was action packed, full of good witty humor, and I wondered when AIM would show up in the Iron Man story.  This movie really is Tony Stark's final transformation from playboy to hero.  I liked the interaction with the kid in the movie and I think it kept him grounded.

Despite how much fun it was, I did have a few issues.  First of all, some of the one liners and comic jabs looked forced and felt as if they were only there to get a laugh, rather than be truly something Tony or one of the other characters would really say.

Two.  After all the other crap that Pepper Potts has been through, she is playing the damsel in distress?  Come on!  She should be flying her own suit by now.

The final issue I had was really my kids issue.  I loved Ben Kingsley, but my boys wanted the Mandarin.  THE MANDARIN!   And yes, SPOILER; the Mandarin is a fake setup by AIM that uses Ben Kingsley's character as a prop.  Maybe the real Mandarin will get offended and come back wanting an Iron Man 4.  LOL.

All in all a good film.  I would give it 8 out of 10.

Ok, I pulled out my geek card to get stamped last weekend and trundled off to the movies with the family to watch the second J.J. Abrams Star Trek film, Into Darkness.  It was awesome!  The knitting of the old story timeline with the new one fit right in and Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of Khan was well done.  I know there are many of us Star Trek purists out there that believe that no one could replace Ricardo Montalban as Khan, but come on.  Just face it.  Benedict did the character proud.

There was only one issue I had with the movie and that goes back to the purist thing.  Long ago Gene Roddenberry declared that the Enterprise design could not operate in an atmosphere.  Well, even in the first movie, Starfleet was building the ship on a Earth ground based shipyard.   Not in space.  With the right thrust capabilities and stabilizers, I believe it could work, but that is my engineering background coming out again.

One spoiler.  I did like the movies role reversal with Kirk and Spock.  This time it was Kirk that lay dying in radiation chamber and Spock looking helplessly on the outside.  Very well done and nicely played.

Ok, second spoiler...  My son asked my why Spock went after Khan in the final big chase and not some of the security guys.  One, the red shirts die..  The walking dead...sorry.  Two, Vulcans are strong.  Much stronger than humans and there had to be someone that could face off with Khan in a hand-to-hand fight.

Only one final comment.  Alice Eve as Dr. Carol Marcus... Hot!

Crucible continues to get great reviews!   It has four 5 Star and one 4 star already.  To start off the summer, I am putting both Crucible and Embrace on sale for $0.99 from June 1 to June 7.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Check out my Podcast interview on Gizmosapiens.  I had a great time discussing Crucible and many of the characters from this series.  We even talked about other authors we enjoy and took a quick look ahead at what is to come with Echoes.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Crucible is now available on Kobo and Apple iBooks!  Barnes & Noble, Sony, and Diesel Ebooks should be ready soon.  If you are looking to get Embrace on Kobo, I am still working an issue there.  The price is wrong and sample version still showed the older version that some changes for formatting and the preface, among other things.  I am working with Smashwords on the issue.  I recommend you get Embrace directly from Smashwords and use the Epub version if you normally use Kobo.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Crucible has been released!  Currently, it is available on Amazon and Smashwords.  Smashwords has approved it for their premium catalog.  I will update everyone with the retailer links as they come available.

Here are the links:



Crucible is already off to a strong showing.  Be sure to check out the first book of the series, Embrace, if you haven't already.

I plan to release excerpts from the third book, Echoes, here and on Facebook in the coming months.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Just one week until the release of the second book of The Epherium Chronicles.  Crucible will be available on Amazon and Smashwords, just like Embrace.  I will keep everyone posted as the availability from other online retailers is known.  Keep your eyes peeled for the announcement here or on the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TheEpheriumChronicles.

Monday, April 15, 2013

While many of us are still waiting on more news from the Transformers universe concerning Transformers 4 (it just started production shooting BTW).  I wanted to take a small aside to another aspect of the Transformers genre: Transformers Prime.

This animated series has begun it third and final season on the HUB network only a few weeks ago.  The developers have stated that the series will be changed or re-invented, but I do hope the storyline will continue.  This series has been ripe with great stories and new looks at Optimus and Megatron from their early beginnings.  The third season has an added tag: Beast Hunters.

At the end of the second season, the Decepticons had destroyed the Autobot base on Earth and Optimus' fate is once again uncertain.  The new season brings about a new Decepticon foe, the Predacon.  It is an engineered clone created by Shockwave whose purpose is to hunt down the surviving Autobots.  To me, it sort of looks like a cross between and dragon and one of the alien Predators from the movies.

I don't know about you, but the past weeks with my kids has put me on edge.  My boys have been theorizing every possibility related to Optimus Prime.  Is he dead?  Will he come back?  Who will take over?  It reminds me of the days when my family used to talk about Who Shot JR on Dallas.  Yes, I am that old...  After week 4 of the new season, we see that Optimus was about to enter the All Spark again and pass on the Matrix to a new leader, only to be remade into a new and more powerful form.

I am personally grateful that another death of Optimus was averted.  There have been so many deaths and subsequent rebirths of the character, but this series has managed to continue to hold my interest.  There is good writing, great animation, and the musical score is inspiring.  I wish more of the threads in past episodes could have been followed up, but I understand there are limitations.

There leaves only one thing in my mind when I think about the series since they added the Beast Wars tag.  Bring on the Dinobots!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It is official!  The Epherium Chronicles:Embrace is now an Amazon Best-Seller!  At the time of this post it ranks 1,558 in total sales in the Kindle Store.  It is #5 in the top 100 Science Fiction Space Operas and #13 in Science Fiction Military.

Woot!  Now lets keep it there!  Crucible, the second book in the series, comes out April 26th!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

One of the great things about running a blog or even writing a book is working with others to promote not only your own work, but theirs.  One way to do this is to provide author interviews.  Another blogger has recently posted an interview with me on his website.  Please check it out here:  http://rastephensonauthor.blogspot.com/2013/03/author-interview-td-wilson.html.  If you are author and interested in having an interview with me or Mr. Stephenson, please contact us via our blogs and we will be sure to get you a list of questions.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mark Your Calendars!

Coming April 26th!

The Cygni system was just one space-fold jump away.  One more jump to a new world with a fledgling colony that Earth desperately needed.  Its importance resonated in Captain James Hood's mind, but could he reach the colony in time or even defend it against attack.

So much depends on him now, but Hood’s confidence is shaken.  Only a few days earlier, a deceptive trap by a mysterious vessel nearly claimed his ship and the lives of his crew.  On the journey to the new colony, Hood was so focused on encountering Earth’s old enemy, the Cilik’ti, that he was oblivious to the undermining activities of a new and elusive foe.  They had managed to turn his strategic and tactical strengths against him; something few had ever accomplished.

Now, the specter of self-doubt resurfaced inside him.  Hood knew it as a brutal mind-killer for all military commanders.  It was something Hood thought he cast aside long ago.

Hood needed to get to Cygni and fast.  The plot to derail his mission to Cygni cost him something more important than just his confidence.  It cost him time—time the colonists at Cygni may not have.  With the Cilik’ti and his new adversary still out there somewhere, the consequences for the colony could be dire if he didn’t reach them first.

What will Hood and his crew find when they arrive at the colony?   Hood didn’t know, but one thing was certain.  If he didn’t win his battle within, the fate of the colony would be sealed.

Crucible is the second book in the exciting sci-fi series, The Epherium Chronicles. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

In anticipation for the release of the next Epherium Chronicles novel, Crucible, I have placed the first book, Embrace, on sale for $0.99 until April 26, 2013.

You can find it here:
Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009LTU1KU
Smashwords:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/242012 with the coupon code PW87U

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My family took a trip to the land of Oz this weekend.  I was highly optimistic about this film.  I am a huge Sam Raimi fan and I really wanted to see what he planned to do with this storyline.  We saw the 2D version of the film, and from that vantage I could easily tell it was made for 3D.  The story was good, but not great.  Perhaps I am too jaded as an old fan of the Dorothy classic.  After all, The Wizard of Oz is a fantasy epic in all its glory.  Also, I had the pleasure of seeing the play Wicked on stage and that musical and back story was a brilliant adaptation for Oz.  I know the book was much darker, but the musical lightened it up and made it fun.

I found that the story here for Oz was superficial.  It needed something more, but I couldn't put my finger on it.  I know that Robert Downey, Jr was originally supposed to play the Wizard and I think he may have been the best choice.  James Franco did well with the con-man side, but when it came to how he truly cared for the people of Oz and Glenda, it didn't come through.  Michelle Williams did play a very enchanting Glenda, but in this version she was the Good Witch of the South... I was always under the impression she was the Good Witch of the North.  The other two witch sisters played by Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis were ok as the "Wicked" witches, but I did like the back story of how the Wicked Witch of the West came to be (Mila Kunis).  It was very Disney-like.

All in all, I give this a rating of 6 out of 10.  For kids, they will like it, albeit a few scary parts for them.  It seems set up for a remake of Dorothy's adventure, but will really need to step up for all us fans of the classic film.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My job offers very weird quirks.  Well, I needed to travel to Washington, DC this week and it turned out that one of my favorite authors was conducting a book signing in Baltimore.  That man was R.A. Salvatore.  I had to go and it was well worth it.  I got a chance to listen to his stories about creating some of my favorite characters.  It was a great time.  I was able to share some of my experiences writing and my reasons to self publish.

I did ask him about his Star Wars: Vector Prime novel.  It was the Star Wars publishers that asked him to kill off Chewbacca and I know he took a lot of heat from fans.  Wow.  What would I do?   Turn down a chance to write a spectacular novel for one of the most popular Sci-fi universes today?  I doubt I would either, but I know it had to be hard.  Killing off a beloved character had to be super hard and I imagine Karen Traviss had to feel the same when she killed off Mara Jade Skywalker in Sacrifice.

This trip already was a win for me and I hope to complete it by finishing The Last Threshold.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Review

Ok, I have been quiet after my viewing of the first of the trio of Hobbit movies.  I wasn't sure what direction Peter Jackson was going to go.  I loved the movie.  It shined with his usual grand spectacle as the LOTR series did, but I am still wondering could this have been done in just the originally planned 2 films instead of 1.

I know Mr. Jackson has really added a great deal to the story.  He has tapped more Tolkien works (The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales) for some great backstory related to Dol Guldur and Sauron (Cough..) I mean, The Necromancer.  Radaghast's visit sets off a great controversy for the White Council and
I believe Jackson intends to show the Elvish assault on Dol Guldur to oust hum from the fortress.

The initial visage of Smaug was very pleasing and the second movie will indeed be something to see.

I give Mr. Jackson a 8.5 for this one.  I love Tolkien and the entire genre, but two hours and forty five minutes for movie #1 was too much.....  Another movie that I didn't want to leave, lest I miss something, but my bladder just couldn't take it...sorry.

Jack: The Giant Slayer

Ever been to one of those movies that you just couldn't run to the bathroom or you might miss something important?  Well, this movie was one of those for me.  I love Jack: The Giant Slayer.  It had a good mix of humor, romance, giants smashing stuff, bad guy intrigue (I love Stanley Tucci... he always plays the subtle villian),  and good special effects.  It also wasn't too scary for kids... If my two 9 year olds can handle it, it is ok for that age.

Since movies are rated on 10 point scales, I give this one a 9.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cold Days  by Jim Butcher

My Review:

I have been a huge Harry Dresden fan from the very first book, Storm Front.  Jim Butcher has done a phenominal job with this series.

Cold Days is set just after the last installment Ghost Story, where Harry Dresden was believed to be dead.  For all intensive purposes, he was.  His spirit was running around trying to put together the pieces of who killed him.

Now, Harry has been brought back, thanks in part to some powerful help, aka Mab, The Fae Queen of Air and Darkness.  In order to save his daughter two before Harry's demise, he made an agreement to become the Winter Knight and serve Mab.  She certainly wouldn't let a small thing like death get in the way of Harry living up to his end of the bargain.

Now, I'm not going to offer spoilers here.  I just want to give you my thoughts and let you read and make up your own mind.  Cold Days was well crafted and as always.  Full of twists and turns, but there did seem to have the feeling that there was always something bigger and nastier that had to come his way.   I would have preferred more of older enemy that continues to be the protagonist here.  Of course there is Mab, many of the other Winter and Summer Courts to contend with...  Perhaps, I am just hankering for a early standoff with another member of the dubious and yet unmasked, Black Council.

This book focuses more on the Fae and his newly bonded island... yes, I said island... Demonreach.  Like Changes, much about Harry's life, his surroundings, and his future are being altered and as much as he fights with it, there seems to be little he can do to stop it.

Mr. Butcher grasp of Harry's demeanor and how he conveys his friend's views of him, now that he is the Winter Knight is superb.  The book did seem to stall for me just abit about 1/3 the way in.  Not sure if it was intended to put as the reader state of "Oh well", or not.  At one point, I could tell it seemed lost..  I counted "Hell's Bells!" three times on one page.

Overall, I think Cold Days was another fantastic Dresden Files novel, but it was not Mr. Butcher's best.  I give it 4.5 out of 5, but I am anxious to see what Harry will do next.

Oh and P.S.  Give Murphy one of the Swords already!