Update 3/16: Fanart, Vote for the Site, Small Worlds Update, and Store!

Hey everyone!

So first of all, lets do the part that makes me go yeee first! Fanart! This week’s peice comes from Feral Clock, who’s tumblr of art can be found here.


I love getting different versions of Karjon, especially because I miss that grumpy dragon. Definitely going to give him more screen time in the novel!

Also, since I’ve gotten some questions about appearances for Small Worlds characters, because I was bad at describing people when I wrote it, I’ll be doing an official “Here’s what everyone looks like” post soon for all books and major characters.

Another piece of exciting news – I’ve gotten approved for the Top Web Fiction Guide. If you could vote for Small Worlds and Strange Cosmology, I’d really appreciate it!

So, in case you missed it, I’m back to posting things directly onto reddit, this time with a link to smallworlds.blog in the top-level announcement. And I’m really glad I made that change, because about ten people told me that it was loading really slowly for them on the website, so there had to be a bunch more! Right now i’m going to keep it this way, although I always may change my mind in the future.

For those of you wondering about Small Worlds: I have a vacation from my normal job this next week. That vacation was taken to give me time to get it into final draft version and get it over to my editor this coming Friday, when she’ll do a final editing pass. After that it’s fixing any problems she finds, and then comes finalizing the cover, ebook formatting, and then publishing! Ahhhh! So excited! We’re still on track for late April – I really want to have it out before the 27th so I can watch Infinity War without feeling like i should be working on it!

I’m also going to use the time off to finally get the discord up and running, because I won’t be as under the gun in term of time constraints.

Now, the big news: instead of going on Cafepress, I got approved for Amazon’s beta program, which allows people to make and sell shirts directly! Right now it’s only available in the US, but I have two shirts up! The first, and most expected, is Crystal’s “Roll with it, love!”


(obviously shirt version won’t have pixilation, had to screenshot to get image of it actually on a shirt) The second isn’t a direct quote, but an idea that I thought you all would like. Maybe you didn’t get your owl, or mutant powers, or divine parents, and maybe a man in a time travelling box never whisked you away…but you can still find your nanoverse!


Check them out and feel free to pick them up! Both are available in five colors and both women’s and men’s styles. For international readers, I’ll be working on some designs to sell via a site that allows you all to buy – Amazon requires all shirts that go through them are exclusive.

Also, if you have any experience in using tools like photoshop, GIMP or others, please hit me up in PM or in the comments below with a link to some of your work. I have some shirt designs that require a higher degree of technical skill than “put words on shirt,” and would be happy to pay you for your work on them!

Update 3/10 – First Fanart, Discord, Strange Cosmology’s Return, and more!

It’s time for another update!

First of all, and most excitingly, we’ve got our first piece of fanart, a lovely headshot of Karjon by u/YukeWolf on reddit. Here it is:


As promised, it did in fact make me go “Yeee!” Makes me incredibly happy that I’ve inspired someone like that, and I can’t wait to see more.

Also, I’ve migrated The Dragon’s Scion to the Small Worlds site, so if you have people who don’t want to read on Reddit, check it out there. Going forward, I’ll be posting new parts over to the site and linking over to Reddit, since that’s worked well for me in the past. It will also be linked on my Facebook, Twitter, and newly-opened Tumblr, so if you prefer one of those platforms you can follow me there. Reddit will always be my number one priority, since that’s where this all has started (and, let’s be real, where most of you are), but I like giving people options. (Also, if you are on any of those, a follow or share or retweet or whatever would definitely be appreciated!)

The main reason for posting it over to the external site is it offers some extra protections opposed to if anything were to happen to my Reddit account, and my peace of mind likes that. Of course, it will also be linked directly on my Patreon as well, which I mention at the very end just because it segues nicely into the discord news!

Courtesy of our wonderful patrons, I’ve reached the first milestone goal! This is incredibly exciting, and as a result I’m going to be opening up a Discord server for people to chat on. I’ll be on there of course, off and on. I’d also like to add some people who are interested to be chan ops to help keep things running smoothly when I’m not around – if you have any experience there, please let me know. This is a bit of an experimental thing for me, and if it ends up not working out we’ll close it down and try something else, but I think it’ll be a great way for you all to chat with each other and with me. Once I’m ready to launch it, I’ll be letting everyone know!

Now, as for Strange Cosmology: It relaunches, at the latest, on 03/12, this coming Monday. That also happens to be my birthday! Getting back to Strange Cosmology will be a fun way to celebrate – I love writing everything, but I’m looking forward to getting back to Ryan and the gang.  After all, we still have to find out what happened to Isabel! Small thing there – one of the things I’m struggling with is writing Athena and Anansi overcoming their challenge. Part 79 is going to resume after they bypassed it so I can get the story moving again. There’s going to be a bit of blitz over the net few parts to get them out of the Labyrinth because it’s gone on much, much longer than I intended. (As of right now, they’ve been in there for almost half the overall length of Small Worlds and Act 1, even when you count cuts to Bast and all that!)

As part of this, there won’t be any updates to The Dragon’s Scion until Monday. I’m giving myself the weekend off updating it to catch up the other serials.

As far as this site goes, Habitable Moon, Part 3, will be up within the next twenty four hours!

In other news, editing of Small Worlds goes well. I’ve gotten the amazon Kindle Publishing stuff set up, and I’m finishing up the final editing pass of Small Worlds over the next two weeks so I can get it to an official editor on 03/23. Once that’s done, all that’s left to do is get the cover set up and format it into an e-book, and we’ll be good to publish, so we’re still on track for late April! I’m so incredibly excited for that words cannot do it justice.

Finally, the store is still a work in progress. I started doing research as to what store is the best, what method of selling is the best, all of that, and kind of fell down a rabbit hole. I also got distracted playing with designs, which is difficult, because as stated elsewhere I’m a terrible artist, and even picking out fonts I like is proving tricky. I’m going to keep delving into it and once I’m ready move forward on that, although that’s a lower priority than getting the stories written.

Everything is a lower priority than getting the stories written.


Update 3/1 – Schedule, Blog, Fanart, and Store?

So it’s been a crazy twenty-four hours! Welcome everyone new who came because of Daughter of the Dragon! I have a wiki with a table of contents for all my stories, and it includes now brief descriptions of each part.

So for those of you keeping track at home, I’m currently writing five concurrent ongoing series. Six counting Oddballs, which I’m still planning to get back to soon. And lately, I’ve been getting a lot of comments cautioning me against burnout, which I appreciate – it’s good to know you all care!

I figured I’d take a chance to explain why I’m not worried about that right now to help put your minds at ease.

There’s a cost involved in writing each part for a story. Not a cost in terms of money, thankfully, or I’d be broke, but an investment of time and mental energy. That much…you probably didn’t need me to tell you. But! I wanted to. In general, once I sit down to actually write a Part, I’ll get done within 1-2 hours, depending on the complexity of the part. Sometimes it happens much quicker, sometimes it drags on a bit, but that’s about the average. That doesn’t count the time I spend thinking about and plotting before I actually write, which – since I do while doing other things – is harder to quantify but I’d estimate is probably similar in time to how long it takes me to write it.

This makes each subsequent part a bit harder to write than the last. Not so much in terms of time, but in terms of mental energy. It costs a bit more energy for each part, which has a cumulative effect and could, in theory, lead to burnout.

But I found a loophole in my own brain I’ve been making use of. Whenever I write for a different story, that cumulative energy cost effectively gets zeroed out for other stories. On top of that, while writing for one story, I often have ideas for other ones. I came up with a bit of dialogue I’m really happy with while writing Part 4 of Daughter of the Dragon that I’m going to be looking forward to Kelly spouting out when the right time comes, for example.

So burnout isn’t really something I’m worried about…except when it comes to one particular story.

Right now, I can write pretty much whenever inspiration strikes, and have been able to do so pretty regularly for all the serials. For some reason, though, my brain has been rebelling at the tight schedule of Strange Cosmology. I don’t get to write it when I feel like, I have to write on a schedule or I’m failing myself and you all, at least in my mind. That’s meant the last few parts of Strange Cosmology, really everything since Anansi’s story in part 60 that was one of my favorite bits of writing I’ve ever done, has been a bit of a slog. And I don’t want the writing to ever become a chore.

So I’m changing my update schedule. I’m going to guarantee to you all ten parts a week, which might sound like a lot, but I’ve actually already passed that this week. Each individual serial is going to update at least once a week, although I’m going to be shooting for two a week for each. This change will also be true for Strange Cosmology, and I’m not going to do plan to do one this week to give myself some mental distance from it.

This more freeform schedule should benefit all the stories, and give me more time to work on finishing the final edit of Small Worlds to have that ready for publication.

Now, onto this particular blog – I had a ton of fun writing the sauce review, and lots of you seemed to enjoy reading it. I’m definitely going to be doing more of that kind of content in the future. The plan is to update this at least once a week (not counting the semi-irregular updates like this one). Next on the docket is Part 3 of the Habitable Moon series, and then something entirely new.

Next item, rapid fire because I’m wanting to get to part 7 of Daughter of the Dragon: I’ve had several people mention they want to do fanart inspired by one story or another. If you’re interested in doing some…okay, honestly, the first thing I’ll do is I’ll probably make a happy little sound when I get it since I’ll be both excited and flattered. You know the sound, somewhere between the word yay and a squee, a “yeee” of joy? That one. You’ll make me go yeee.

After I’m doing yeeing, if you have fanart and send me a link to it over whatever platform you prefer (although I notice reddit responses most often) and include what you want the byline to say and any caption you want to add, I’ll make sure people see it. Every week I’ll do a blog post showcasing anything I got that week, fully credited and with a link to your deviantart or instagram or subreddit or where ever you showcase your work! It’ll be added to a gallery that I’ll maintain and will only ever be removed if you ask me to do so.

Finally is something I’ve been thinking about for awhile. I’ve made no secret about wanting to go full time with writing, (Imagine how much I could get done if I didn’t have a job!). Based on my research into self publishing costs and income, on top of some research into where it’s likely the Patreon will cap out, I don’t think that – unless the book version of Small Worlds ends up being a megahit – it’s entirely doable, but I’d be living on the edge, and a bad month with Patreon or low book sales would kill me.

I could move all the serials to a website and run advertisements, but I really hate ads as much as you all do, so what I’m looking at right now is setting up a cafepress store to sell shirts and mugs and all that fun stuff with quotes from various stories on it. I might at a later date commission artwork for that as well, but for right now I want to focus on using what I already have. What I’d like to ask you all – other than “Roll with it, love” (which will definitely be making an appearance or several) – what are some things you would like to wear on your bodies or drink out of mugs or have written in other forms? It doesn’t just need to be from the stories, either – for example there’s a good chance that “Words for the Word God, Pages for the Page Throne” will make an appearance. Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see which ones work best!

Also, of particular note to Patreons – I would likely bundle in cafepress items into the existing reward tiers, so you all get more free stuff for your support. It’s been an amazing month there, and I would not even be able to consider going solo without your support.

Phew, I think that’s everything. Time to make some more words!


Everyone’s Going to Die, Come Eat Some Sauce

Since it’s back today, I decided to try out McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce. Normally here I write about science fiction and fantasy and writing, but today I am being a self promotional whore and I’m chasing the algorithm to write about a dipping sauce.


Bit of background if you don’t already know the details: In 1998, as part of a promotion with Disney’s Mulan, McDonald’s released a Szechuan dipping sauce for their chicken nuggets. I vaguely have memories of eating the sauce back then when it was around, although it’s entirely possible that those memories are just wishful thinking born of a desire to be “into it before it was cool.” The sauce was mostly forgotten after that, until last year during the release of popular Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim cartoon Rick and Morty’s long awaited season 3.

During the season opener, the titular Rick Sanchez, the depressed self-important super genius protagonist of the show, revealed to his the other titular character his companion, the neurotic wreck Morty that everything he did, everything he wanted, was part of an endless quest to get to try the McDonald’s Szechuan sauce. That was it, that was his entire motivation: some goddamn dipping sauce from the 90’s that was part of a promotion between two giant conglomerates. It fit into the show’s overall idea that, as Morty said in an earlier season, “Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s going to die, come watch TV.” The main character’s personal journey is to eat some sauce, nothing matters. Wubba-Lubba-Dub-Dub!

The internet, being the internet, saw this and immediately latched onto the sauce. Petitions were made to bring back the sauce, unopened packets of it were sold on Ebay for the cost of a used car, an entire gallon of it was sold for even more. McDonald’s corporation didn’t become the corporate monolith it is today by not knowing when to exploit an idea looming into the popular psyche. They tweeted about it, the creators of the show got some for free, and a few months ago, McDonald’s did – as part of a super limited run, available only at selected stores for a single day during a brief time window.

Apparently, knowing when to exploit an idea did not mean knowing how to not have that exploitation blow up in your face.

A brief bit about me that’s about to be relevant: I’m a single, 30 years old, overweight white male with a beard that I carefully keep off my neck. Every interest I have could be described as nerdy: I love Marvel movies but liked the comics better, I’ve played every expansion of World of Warcraft, I own all three major game consoles but still think PC is better because something something the internet said so, I socialize online more than I do offline, and I grew up being told I was clever and creative and smart and then got into the real world and realized that no one besides my parents and friends gave a shit about that. I’m a bored millennial who lives alone with his cat and has a fairly liberal worldview, and I named that cat Loki because I’m a parody of myself. For the love of God, I write science fiction and fantasy on Reddit! And it’s my favorite thing to do!


In short, I’m exactly in Rick and Morty’s target demographic – not that people like me are the only ones who enjoy the show, but the main characters being the alcoholic love child of Doctor Who and Doc Brown leading about a bundle of neurosis held together by duct tape and impotent anger was pretty much tailor made to appeal to me.

And if you’re someone like me, you get insanely invested into your various fandoms.

So when the ultra-limited run came out last time, people lost their minds. With reports of stores only having under ten packets of the sauce, they were flooded with angry nerds who, in a few cases, absolutely blew up when it was discovered they were out of the sauce.  Seriously, go on YouTube to watch some of the overreactions to this if you haven’t already, then try and decide if you want to laugh or weep for humanity. Let me know in the comments! Do it. Obey.

It was a nightmare for the poor customer service workers in the stores that had the sauce. I didn’t bother trying, none of the ones near me had it and I wasn’t about about to drive an hour for some damn sauce.

So, of course, McDonald’s decided to try it again. This time, McDonalds promised they’d do better. They were releasing it to every store, and they promised they’d make sure there was more than enough sauce. 20 million packets, enough for every overreacting nerd in the country to have at least one and half. I happened to be up at ten thirty when McDonald’s serves lunch, and decided to go get some.

The scowling young woman behind the counter needed to ask her manager what the hell I was talking about, because even if you work at McDonalds, this sauce literally means nothing to you unless you’re a fan of an overhypered but still fun TV show that people take way too seriously.


The sauce was sweet and tangy with a bit of spice, exactly what you’d expect from mass produced Szechuan sauce. It tasted like cheap Chinese food, and that kind of clashes with the overly-breaded chicken tenders McDonald’s has now, but that was exactly how I remembered it from back in the day. I got the six-piece because, as previously mentioned I’m a fat nerd, and I got three packets of sauce with it, which was just enough to make sure every bite had sauce on it as I shoved it into my face hole for consumption.

It struck me as I ate it that I was probably having exactly the experience the show’s creators would have wanted me to have. The sauce was decent but underwhelming, and every bite reminded me that ultimately, what I was doing was eating a sauce because one global megacorporation made a show that referenced a product that another global megacorporation, one of the most global and megacorporate of them all, made as part of a cross-promotion with a movie being produced by a third megacorporation that might be even more global and megacorporate than the second.

This cross section of corporate powerhouses got into my brain and convinced me that, since this was available for a “Limited Time Only! One Day Alone! People Literally Had Fistfights Over This! Act Now!,” I should get up when I needed more sleep and drive down the road to consume like a good little boy and have a pleasant if unimpressive meal.

If you’re thinking about going nuts for this stuff, don’t. It’s a sauce, it’s a goddamn dipping sauce. It won’t undo your poor life choices, you father won’t come back from that pack of cigarettes he went to buy in 96, you mother won’t start approving of your lifestyle, and the one that got away wont waltz back into your life with apologies, chocolate, and offers for a consequence free roll in the hay. You won’t experience any kind of emotional fulfillment, just the general feeling of fullness that comes from having a previously empty stomach now full.

And if you did eat it, congratulations, you had an experience. You, too, got to eat a sauce. 



Update 2/7: Rough Publication Schedule and new Patreon Tiers!

Hello everyone, old readers and new ones as part of the recent influx! We’re up to almost 7,350 readers on the subreddit at time of writing, and that number absolutely blows my little mind. Thank  you all for your support so far!

So this has been an insane couple of weeks, even with my vacation! I’ve continued work on Ink and started a new ongoing story, Exercise the Demons over on Reddit. I really want to keep the first subreddit run of Exercise the Demons short…we’ll see how that actually goes! Right now “short” is looking like fifteen parts.

I feel the need to remind old readers, and inform new ones, that Small Worlds was originally going to be five parts. Then twelve. Then twenty. It’s currently closer to one hundred and twenty, with no sign of stopping anytime soon.

I’ve also gotten a lot of work done on Small Worlds revisions and editing, enough where I feel like I’m getting a grip on a release schedule. Here’s the current plan for publication:

  • Early April: Small Worlds
  • Early July: Strange Cosmology Act 1
  • Early October: Strange Cosmology Act 2
  • Early January: Strange Cosmology Act 3

[Note that later Acts of Strange Cosmology will have much better titles before I got to publication!]

Now, you’ll note that this schedule doesn’t include Ink, Solar War, King of Hell, Exercise the Demons, or any other of the stories I want to turn into books at some points. The current plan for these varies depending on the book:

King of Hell: Since it takes place in the same universe as Small Worlds, Arthur: King of Hell is going to be held in reserve and published either A) When I can’t get the next book of Small Worlds edited in time or B) when I’ve finished publishing Small Worlds books as a prequel novel.

Exercise the Demons: This will depend on how well I can manage the length. Right now I’m trying to keep it to each part is one day of Kelly’s life, although I’ve already failed that once. When I’m done, if I keep it to 15 parts, it’ll need some heavy expansion before it can become a book. If I can’t keep it to 15 parts, it’ll need fewer additions before I can expand into a novel. Either way, it’ll get published during one of the off months. Also…no promises, but this book might become part of a trilogy.

Solar War: This needs heavy expansion before it can become a full length novel. I want to get it out in 2018, during one of the off months, but because it needs so much added I don’t have a strict time frame for this one.

Ink: I’m loving writing Ink, but I’m wavering on a couple points. I’ve had some ideas for it that would require going back and editing major parts of the story. For example, I’ve considered transitioning it from its current megacity dystopia to something more post apocalyptic, where the “cities” take after the Kowloon Walled City and the Houses have their own sprawling outposts. This would fit the gang themes and the overall aesthetic much better in some ways, although several other things would have to change to make it work. Right now, Ink probably won’t be published until 2019, as I’ll be taking some serious time to consider the rewrites.

Also, question for you all on that one: would you prefer, if I’m going to heavily rewrite it, I continue as is until

There’s also another prompt I responded to, Street Magic, that didn’t get as much attention as others and was a complete short story, but I’m absolutely in love with this world. I have an idea for a novel in this world, so I’m going to be working on it behind the scenes along with everything else.

I’m really hoping I can one day move to full time on this. Fingers crossed! At least I know I can spend eight hours a day writing if I need to.

Speaking of Publication, now that I have a rough publication schedule I’m hoping to adhere to, I’ve added Patreon tiers to actually get physical and signed copies of the books! I didn’t feel comfortable doing this when publication was a nebulous goal for the future, but now that it is more concrete those are up. To my international readers, due to shipping costs, the signed copy is the only tier available for a physical copy – you’ll still be able to purchase a physical copy through Amazon, but to keep my costs down I don’t have an unsigned option available at this time. I hope to fix this in the future though!

As for opening the subreddit, that’s still the plan, but with my increased writing output I don’t think it’s quite the time to do so yet. I’d have to slow down writing to moderate (which, since you guys are awesome, will mostly consist of refreshing the subreddit until my anxiety believes nothing bad will happen), and I don’t want to do that while I’m having such a high output! So that’s on hiatus for just a little bit, but it will be coming soon!

That’s all the news for now! Strange Cosmology will be up Thursday morning and again Saturday, then back to it’s normal M/W/F schedule. I’m looking at possible schedules for Exercise the Demons and Ink, but right now I’m just trying to write them as often as I can until I need something more fixed. I’m also just about ready to relaunch the blog posts here – look for that in the next couple of weeks!

Thank you all again for your support, and until next time: enjoy!

Update 1-24: Publishing, Solar War, Ink, and the Future of this Blog

Hey everyone! Going to be posting updates here and linking them everywhere else going forward since it’s easier for everyone who reads to find them this way.

Right off the bat, I’ve started uploading Small Worlds to another site – it’s over on Royal Road. I didn’t mention it before because I wanted to see how well it did for an entirely fresh audience because that kind of stuff interests me. Updates happen every 8 hours until it catches up with the main storyline, then it’ll update in tandem with the main site. I especially wanted to see how confusing Arthur would be to people who didn’t have an immediate link to King of Hell. (Once I’m done there, I might repeat the experiment on FictionPress or Wattpad.) I mention it now because, if you came here recently and feeling a bit overwhelmed by how much is already posted, it could be a good way to catch up. Of course, reviews are appreciated.

I’ll be opening up the subreddit or creating a new subreddit for discussion on February 1st. I’m still considering both options and weighing their pros and cons. If you aren’t yet on reddit and want to discuss the story, there’s a lively discussion after each part on the Hydrael Writes subreddit, where all this began.

Now, the big stuff

First of all, if you follow me on Reddit, you may have noticed I started a new story, Ink. (Like Small Worlds it’s going to need a new title. I’m open to suggestions!) I’m going to keep going with this one for a little while there on the Reddit, because it’s going to require some heavy, heavy revisions compared to Small Worlds. Just for example, Part 1 is probably going to need to be 3-4 times as long to help establish the character and a lot is going to change to make it a bit less like Divergent (I really need to read the beginning of that book so I know why it’s so similar).

I’ll keep updating until either Book 1 is done, or until I realize that the rewrites are going to be so extensive it’s changing too much of what comes later to be recognizable. Unlike Strange Cosmology, I won’t be sticking to a schedule for this one right now: once I see how much I can reliably write of it in a week, I’ll settle into one then. The thing that’s causing me some stress is, unlike Arthur, King of Hell or Small Worlds or Strange Cosmology, I don’t have a clear ending point in mind for it yet, which means I’m going to meander a bit more while I figure that out. But it will keep updating – just erratically until I get that part down.

I don’t write well without an endpoint. But it’s a ton of fun to get to play in a new universe!

Second of all, publication information: I’m currently shooting for a late March/early April publication for Small Worlds. I’ve made some major progress with the editing and rewrites, and although I’ve still got a fair bit to go, I’ve got a better feel for how long it’s going to take me. Once I publish it, the plan is to release a new book every 3-4 months, and publish King of Hell as a prequel when then publication schedule threatens to overtakes the individual part updates. I’m also moving away from the original “Quadrilogy of Trilogies” format I was going to use, and instead looking at it in terms of Acts – so Act 1 is Small Worlds, Act 2 is Strange Cosmology, we’re currently in Act 3 which will get a different name when I go to publish, etc.

I’ll be looking at publishing the rewrite of Solar War (Damn I’m bad at titles, any suggestions for this one too?) or Ink once I’m either done with Small Worlds, or have another gap where the book schedule overtakes the publication schedule. I am working on expanding Solar War when I need a break from the normal schedule of writing or have a good idea for it, so that’s progressing as well! Seriously, I’m averaging close to 50,000 words a month right now between normal updates, edits and additions to things awaiting publication, and the blog posts. I love it!! Every month is NaNoWriMo.

The current plan has the entire series at 6 acts, but seeing as the original plan had the entire book at 5 **parts**, we’ll see how that works out. That doesn’t count Arthur, King of Hell or Daasti: the First Demigod which are a prequel and a spin-off, respectively.

Third, Daasti: the First Demigod is going to relaunch soon, no actual deadline there. I made some mistakes in the earlier parts that have the story kind of messy right now, so I’m taking a mulligan. Part of that is going to be also changing some of the names so it’s easier to remember who is who and what the hell is going on. I’m very sorry for starting that before I was ready, and really appreciate all my wonderful Patreon’s patience there. I’ll be coming up with something to thank you all for waiting soon.

Speaking of falling behind on things, I annihilated the buffer I had built up during the two weeks of sick I had earlier this month. My primary goals for this weekend are to A) edit that last 10 parts of Strange Cosmology since I haven’t done that in weeks and B) is to build that back up so I’m ready for another emergency, since I’ve enjoyed not having to worry about being late for you all.

Speaking of falling behind, I jumped the gun on my personal blog. I’m working on a buffer for that as well, but I’m going to wait to start posting again until I have the buffer ready since that site is more for fun than anything else, while the stories are what I really want to take seriously.

Finally, I’ll be spending more time on /r/WritingPrompts responding to things, going to try to do at least two a month. The rush of that new story feeling is wonderful, although I’m going to try to be better about doing more things that are just 1-4 parts,  Solar War’s 6 parts at most, since I don’t want things to have so many projects I get lost in them. The shorter stories will probably get collected into a book of short stories at some point when I have a gap in the publication schedule, or after I’m doing this full time and therefore can devote even more time to writing every week.

Whew, I think that’s enough for this update! As always, thank you all so much for reading – you really keep me going, and I can say with absolute certainty I wouldn’t be nearly as prolific without you all.

And, of course, enjoy.

How to Bring the X-Men into the MCU

I commented on superhero movies once, so I’m pretty much obligated to weigh in on this one. The Disney/Fox merger is the single biggest entertainment shift of the twenty-first century and I’ll be shocked and kind of horrified if anything bigger happens in the next twenty to forty years, but whatever, we’re here and we’re doing this. And hey, that means Marvel has the X-Men back, which means with them and the Fantastic Four and Spiderman, Marvel has all of their most iconic characters in one studio.

Quick aside about the Fantastic Four, they absolutely should be brought into the MCU, with Doctor Doom and the Silver Surfer and the Skrulls and Namor and all that. Hell, Fantastic Four ephemera alone will easily fuel an entire phase of the MCU and provide fuel for a phase 5 or 6 or whatever Avengers team-up, and that’ll be awesome. They could even do Annihilation with the Guardians now, which would be great because Annihilation is one of the greatest Marvel cosmic stories in years. You can easily see how having Dr. Doom as a background villain to provide fuel for other villains could create a great conflict, and since Loki has gone good guy as of Thor Ragnarok, provide an overarching bad guy to the MCU that would allow for dozens of movies.

And that’s…kind of my point. See, all that Fantastic Four stuff fits in naturally into the MCU as it currently is. You don’t need to do a whole lot to make Doctor Doom work, for example. (Hell, you could easily tie it into the MCU so far by having him reform Latveria out of the ashes of Slokovia, for example.) Marvel is already doing Thanos as the major bad guy behind phase 3, of course, so Galactus being the major threat behind phase 6, with the SIlver Surfer (and all the Heralds, actually, since that would be awesome) being the Loki advanced warning threat in phase 4 Avengers would flow nicely with how the MCU has worked so far.

There’s no good room for the X-Men in there.

Now, quick thing to establish something: I love the X-Men. Loooove the X-Men. To an almost creepy degree. I literally subscribed to the Marvel Unlimited app just so I could read every single X-Men comic (and I have) and every spinoff they have on there (which I have). My favorite superhero…well, it’s a long list, but tied for first is Nightcrawler. Who’s favorite superhero is NIghtcrawler? Who even puts Nightcrawler on a favorite superhero list? I do, I’m that guy.

So, what I would do? Do an X-Men Cinematic Universe, completely divorced from the MCU. The XMCU would have separate branding, seperate logos, and a completely separate release schedule. You start of small with five or six mutants under Xavier fighting the Brotherhood, then the Sentiens, then they go to space so you can start bringing in some of the mythos weirder elements, then the Hellfire Club…you even later split the team into the Blue and Gold teams and do X-Force and the New Mutants and all that so you can handle different elements, with a big crossover event every three years or so. Deadpool, X-23, Gambit, a few others get solo movies. (Nightcrawler should too). You can tie it into the ongoing TV shows of Legion and the Gifted and whatever they do with the New Mutants movie (by the way, at some point I’m probably going to do an entire article on superhero TV shows and at that point I’ll gush about how much I love the Gifted and Legion). Let the X-Men breathe, let them do their own thing, don’t try to cram all those characters into the MCU.

But, if you’re going to anyway…

Okay, so the biggest problem the X-Men have as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the biggest area of dissonance. The X-Men are, in their own narrative, supposed to be a persecuted minority group that is being oppressed by the weaker but more numerous human majority. That narrative, one focused entirely on the persecution of minorities, is super important. It’s integral to the characters, and with the political climate being what it is, such a movie would really resonate well with the popular culture. And when you add into to the MCU, you have a problem, one that the comics have struggled with for years.

How does the average person on the street know the difference between a mutant and a non-mutant, and why is one hated and the other loved? It’s something the comics have gone back and forth on in trying to explain, but it’s never really been – in my opinion – handled well. Now, the easy route would be to have Magneto or Apocalypse or whoever do something big and terrible that kills a bunch of people in the name of mutant kind, and that is the fuel for why they are hated and feared. That would also have the benefit of making it possible to brings in shades of modern day Islamophobia, which would be a good topic to explore since it’s a type of fear the X-Men haven’t been used as a direct allegory for yet.

In fact, why not double down on that?

So we need to explain why no one knows about mutants. The MCU has been going on since 2008, there’s no way mutants wouldn’t be mentioned in something if they’ve been around the entire time. So you explain that in their own movie. You start it off in the past, before Iron Man, at the height of mutant phobia. We get Xavier and Magneto working together in the old days, but they’re losing. Not only are they losing, not only have all their first generation allies died, but anti-mutant sentiment is at an all time high, to the point where it looks like they’re going to be facing a serious risk of extinction.

So Xavier does the only thing he can. He wipes the memory of mutants from every human on the planet. Hops in Cerebro and makes them all forget. This serves at the fuel for the schism between him and Magneto, since Eric wants to get revenge on mankind for their fallen brethren and Xavier wants to give humanity time to become more accepting before revealing themselves. They go their separate ways, with Xavier staying in the mansion and Magneto going off…to parts unknown.

Fast forward to present day. Xavier has a core team of teenagers – they need to be teenagers to explain why they didn’t get involved with any of the other things going on – that he’s training to become the ambassadors for mutantkind. Exactly which X-Men we use here is up to debate, but it should be small. Let’s start with only five or six mutants to keep things from being too bloated with characters from the start, a mistake the X-Men movies already made. Twice. This time we start with one teacher, a small class of mutants, keep it simple. We also find out what Magneto has been up to.

He couldn’t let his need for revenge go, but without Xavier he couldn’t go all out one-man-war on humanity. So he went to a nation that was the absolute worst towards mutants and quietly took over, using their native mutants to run his oppressive regime from behind the shadows until he’s ready to make his move. And nation is…Genosha.

Yeah, we’re going there.

See, this immediately frames the X-Men conflict in a way it never has been done before, at least in the movies. On the one hand, you have the X-Men trying to blend into society, and in the other hand you have the Brotherhood ruling over a segment of humanity. Something happens – maybe they do intervene in Thanos’ attempt to do whatever his plan is in Avengers 3 and 4 – and suddenly the world learns these people have been living among them in secret for years. Magneto, having lost the element of surprise, launches a major attack against a US city to try and seize control.

The X-Men stop him, of course, because status quo must reign. The good news here, it’s really easy to explain why the Avengers don’t get involved: 90% of their current roster is in some way dependent on metal, and you don’t send someone super dependent on metal against Magento. We should have a couple show up, but since most of the team can’t fight, it would remain an X-Men movie. Oh, and although they beat Magneto, he’s able to fall back to Genosha and the X-Men can’t completely stop him. That’s it, that’s the first movie. Everything else is framing for X-Men movies moving forward.

However, the general populace doesn’t care about the X-Men got involved. As far as it’s being spun to the public, Mutants attacked a city, and the Avengers stopped it. The X-Men were there, but they were the reason Magneto is still around and now openly ruling a nation as a dictator. Now you see where I’m going with this. Genosha is held up by bigots as proof of the future mutants want. People all calling for deporting all mutants to Genosha or war with Genosha or, if you want to be on the nose topical, travel bans to Genosha. Magneto, meanwhile, is finding no allies on the global stage initially for obvious reasons, until finally someone reaches out to him…Doctor Doom, who we met in the Fantastic Four movie.

They both know their goals are incompatible, but form a temporary alliance to work together towards their goals and then, once they’ve won, they can duke it out for control of everything else amongst each other. This sets up Magneto’s group for being antagonists for other movies and Doctor Doom to be an X-Men antagonist. The second X-Men movie should involve the Sentinels, and then…we send the X-Men to space. They work with the Guardians, we bring in the Starjammers, something other than the bog standard “Humans vs Mutants” narrative that every single X-Men movie has been about since 2000. Give us something, anything else so we have a break from the oppression of the main movies. That means in later movies, when the oppression is a major focus, it feels more impactful because it hasn’t become a played out trope. Then we can get spin-offs and all that, but not too many – if we’re going to integrate the X-Men into the MCU, we don’t want to have the X-Men take over the MCU.

Oh, and a some point A v X should happen, because if you’re bringing the X-Men into the MCU a clash between the two main superhero teams has to happen, and it should be the focus of the movie. Instead of something as extreme as Civil War being about a villian manipulating things from the shadows, Avengers Vs. X-Men should be driven entirely by an ideological difference between the two groups, where both sides believe they are right and no ones is artificially inflaming things. Instead, two groups of good people get pushed into conflict because their beliefs are just different, because that story has weight and impact and hasn’t be done before.

So yeah, that’s how I’d do it. Let me know what you think in the comments below or on twitter, facebook, or reddit.

And, as always, enjoy.

Habitable Moon Part 2 – Life

Last time, we looked into what would need to happen for our moon to be habitable. We formed Luna, a moon as massive as Titan but only a bit bigger than our moon, and gave it water, then seeded it with life from Earth. Note that unlike last time, it would be impossible to prove everything I’m saying. I’m going to keep things as plausible as possible, but when it comes to paths evolution could take, I’m going to be saying “It will” or “It would” or other definite statements, since that’s the route we’re going in this scenario, even though it’s by no means guaranteed.

So what kind of forms will life take?

Well, to help answer that question, we need to talk about some of the properties of Luna we glossed over.

First of all is the day night cycle. We here on Earth take the twenty-four hour cycle for granted, not really ever thinking about it because it’s so fundamental to our existence. But on Luna, it would be very different. Like our moon, Luna would be tidally locked to Earth, so one side faces Earth at all times and one side faces away. This does not mean there is a Dark Side of the moon, there is only a near side and a far side.

The impact of that? Luna has ‘days’ that are twenty-seven point five Earth days long. Nearly a month, with half of it in sunlight, have of it in night. Dawn and dusk would be almost as long as a full day on Earth!

That’s going to strongly impact life on Luna. Life on Earth normally falls into the category of nocturnal or diurnal, with some species instead being more active at dusk and dawn instead. For that to be true for life on Luna, it would have to be able to basically alternate between hibernating and not, which is a viable strategy that we’ll be looking into. It also means seasons would be relatively short affairs. Think of how much temperature on Earth varies due to our planet tilting back and forth. Luna, meanwhile, will – during its winter – be about 600,000 miles further from the sun than the summer, and that’s assuming it doesn’t pass through Earth’s shadow (which it will, at least twice a year.)

So life on Luna will have to be able to deal with a greater degree of climate variation than life on Earth. It won’t be unbearable – Atmospheres are good at holding heat, as are oceans – but it will change much more rapidly than we on Earth are used to.

But it’s not all bad for life on Luna. They have one major, major advantage going for them: the square-cube law works in their favor in a lower gravity environment.

So, what is the square-cube law?

To put it simply, it’s a rule governing how size and volume interact. As you increase the size of something, its volume increases much more rapidly than its surface area, and it’s an important law when it comes big to how things can get in biology. Trees can’t get too high before they collapse under their own weight, animals can’t get too large before their bones snap under their own weight…you get the idea. Bad things happen.

But on Luna, gravity is much less tyrannical. We gave Luna a radius twenty five percent that of our moon’s but the mass of titan, which puts it at a mass of 1.3452 x 10^23 kg and a radius of 2171.25 km. That means its gravity at sea level is just under 20% the gravity of Earth at .1939 g.

Oh, speaking of seas, there’s really no way to tell how many tons of ice have hit the moon in the form of comets over the last few million years, so we can do whatever we want here. Since Luna is already small in terms of surface area, lets give us a bit of ground to work with and make it a nice fifty-fifty land and water split. Let’s give it three main continents, a polar continent on the north pole, then one on the near side and one on the far side. Of course there will be other islands and smaller continents, but this is a nice easy break for now.

So let’s talk life:

Since they come from the same origins and have the same biochemistry, there’s no real reason to believe that single cellular life on Luna would be vastly different from life on Earth. Oh, sure, individual species would show radical differences, but in terms of the broad strokes, Eukaryotes and even Prokaryotes will like mirror earth analogues pretty easily.

It gets more complex when we look at multicellular life. On Luna, with its lighter gravity, the first life forms to leave the sea – after single celled life and fungi-like growths – are wisps. In the ocean, wisps formed a symbiotic relationship with single celled organisms that, like some algae on Earth, also break down water into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen it releases into the atmosphere, joining that produced by early photosynthesizing organisms.The hydrogen gets stored into a membranous sac.

Wisps are, essentially, natural zeppelins. The first wisps are tiny, floating into the air as an accident of their birth. But those that can float are no longer subject to predation, and in a time, wisps become the dominant lifeforms on Luna. Looking like shrimp that lack a shell but have a balloon growing out of their back, they trail long tendrils into the water. This allows them to take in new water and the single-celled organisms they feed upon from the ocean below.

The early wisps lay their eggs in the ocean, but later ones lay eggs that float like dandelion seeds with a single trailing tendril, living a life almost entirely divorced from the ocean. During the winter, they go dormant but continue to float, anchored to the ice below. Tendrils get longer and longer, and for millions of years the wisps are completely free of predation. Some grow as large as houses, with their non membranous portion getting as large as small cars. (These larger ones will lay eggs that come already loaded with hydrogen, as nothing else could keep them aloft.)

They’re also at the mercy of the winds at first, and are frequently blown over land, where they slowly dehydrate and deflate. Later wisps develop two protections against this – some develop a long and broad tail with a thin membrane that essentially acts as a natural sail, while others feed off photosynthetic microorganisms and incorporate them, eventually being able to float over land for their entire lives with only needing water during their egg phase to provide their initial hydrogen. Eventually, some subspecies of wisp will be born with the microorganisms as part of their natural fauna and the natural sails. They also move away from a single hydrogen sack on their back to three separate sacs, so in the case of injury they aren’t immediately doomed. That species becomes the progenitor of all modern wisp species, since it has too many competitive advantages against others.

It’s noteworthy that these wisps will be extremely vulnerable to combustion. They’re giant bags of hydrogen, after all, and if they’re struck by lightning they’re going to explode spectacularly. If they are clustered together, it could create a chain reaction of explosions. Such an event would be unlikely and messy, but still possible.

Creatures with a bony exoskeleton emerge in the ocean, and some of those creatures follow wisps to the sky on gossamer wings. Called faeries by later humans, they can grow much larger than earth’s insects. Since the wisps cannot evade or hide from them, it’s a simple matter for the faeries to hunt down the wisps, evolving long stingers to allow them to hook onto the meaty center without puncturing the balloon membrane.

Others remain on the land, taking a role similar to earth’s insects and spiders and other terrestrial arthropods. Humans will later call these creatures bugs as a common term, since that’s what they’ll seem like. It’s likely they won’t be much larger than what we see on Earth, since the major limit Earth insects face for size is efficiency of oxygen exchange without lungs instead of the square-cube law.

Going back to the faeries, after eating the actual meat of the wisp, they rest while clutching to its carcass as it slowly loses hydrogen. They even develop the ability to produce a tiny bioelectric charge, slowly burning leaking hydrogen to provide warmth in the winter weeks. Faeries eventually come to breed on those corpses as well, becoming the second life form to exist completely free of both sea and land. The faeries have five limbs – two arms and three legs, the third leg being their primary means of attack – and large multifaceted eyes. Later species of faeries become even more predatory, hunting other faeries and even aquatic or terrestrial prey.

Because this ecosystem is entirely areal, there’s one thing none of them eat. The air sacs of the wisps fall once they deflate, to either the ocean or the land, both of which are never touched wisp or faerie. Oceanic life is well equipped to eat that which falls into the sea, but on land there’s nothing to eat them. The surface of Luna is littered with the corpses of wisps, and that rich nutrient source just sitting there eventually brings the next life forms out of the sea, animals that feed on the easy food before returning to the ocean.

Unlike on Earth, these creatures do not have a solid endoskeleton or exoskeleton. They don’t need one. Muscular action is sufficient to easily move on Luna’s surface in the low gravity, so if they resemble any form of life on Earth, it’s the order mollusca. Molluscs on Earth are known for being slow – the idiom “slow as a snail” didn’t arise by accident – but on Luna these creatures are able to move with the agility of terrestrial life on Earth. They have an major advantage over skeletal creatures as well. Because they don’t need a skeletal structure, they can spend that energy on growing large shells with an insulating layer of fat. In winter, they retreat into those insulated shells, meaning they can spread further inland than any other creature, but cannot be fed upon by the winter-active daemons.

We’ll call these creatures kelif, from the Greek jelyfos for ‘shell,’ and much like vertebrates came to rule the Earth, they’ll inherit the surface of Luna.

Now, some kelif will come to abandon their external shell, favoring mobility. The shelled kelif will eventually become the primary class of herbivores on land, and the unshelled kelif (who actually do have a bit of a shell under their skin providing a slight internal structure and protection) begin to prey upon kelifs, wisps, and faeries alike. They either hollow out their shelled prey’s shell and hibernating within during the winter, or the scavenge discarded shells from dead or growing kelifs. We’ll call this class trogma, from the Greek troglodyte, meaning burrower, and ptoma, meaning corpse.

As a brief note, plant like organisms would arise, and likely be massive compared to their terrestrial counterparts due to the lower gravity. Although they’ll be different on the cellular level to our plants, the broad structures our plants use – leaves, trunks, and seeds – are so efficient that a similar basic biochemistry would result in similar structures. To humans, they’d look pretty much the same to the naked eye.

And with that, we have our major classes of life of Luna. Although they’ll differentiate further as time goes on, specializing more and more, wisps, faeries, kelif, and trogma serve as the basis for all life that later comes on both land and air on Luna. Next time, we’ll look at how human civilization is impacted by all this.


Habitable Moon

The Moon has had a huge impact on Earth and its cultures. That’s pretty much inarguable. Pretty much every society to have ever form has attributed some significance to the moon or the lunar cycle. Even in the physical sense, it controls our tides, shields us from asteroids, and provides the dominant source of light at night among other things. Arguably one of the greatest accomplishments of humanity in the twentieth century was actually managing to put people up there. But what if it was even more important?

What if the moon can, and did, support life?

This is probably going to be a three part series. We’re going to look at what would need to happen for the moon to be habitable and what it would be like, then what life on the moon would might look like, then finally what that would mean for human civilization. I may at some point write a novel set in a world where this is true, or it may just be a fun idea I play with here.

Oh, and quick aside: If you believe we never set foot on the moon, or that going to the moon is impossible, or anything that disagrees with normal scientific consensus: I don’t care. Okay? Okay.

So let’s get into it. What would a habitable moon need?

First and foremost, it would need an atmosphere. Well, technically it has one but its so thin that it doesn’t matter. It needs a thick, dense atmosphere. That’s pretty obvious. While there’s a huge amount of debate about what is needed for life to form and survive on other worlds, from heat to radiation levels to even alternative biochemistries, no one really argues that life could survive on a world without air. So, let’s give it one.

Aaaand in a few million years, it’s gone.

See, there are a couple barriers to the moon having an atmosphere.  The first is mass. The moon is much less massive than Earth. Everyday, Earth loses some of its atmosphere to space as molecules get bounced out of Earth’s gravity and float away. On the moon, that would happen even quicker, because its smaller. But we can make it just a bit bigger and get away with it.

There is a moon in our solar system that has an atmosphere, one that’s actually ninety-one percent as thick as Earth’s, so it’s really close to being exactly what we know. That moon currently belongs to Saturn, and its called Titan. It can hold an atmosphere, in part, due to the fact that it is eighty percent as massive as our moon. (Pay attention to that ‘in part”, it becomes important later). So lets beef up our moon, give it eighty percent the massive of Titan.

If this magically happened today, we’d definitely notice it, but it wouldn’t be a world breaking disaster (although human civilization would probably get pretty wrecked in the initial massive earthquake would happen). The sudden addition of almost a second moon’s mass would shift things noticeably. First of all, the baycenter (that is, the center of gravity) of the Earth-Moon system would now be shifted outside the Earth, which means that the Earth and Moon would be rotating around a point slightly above the Earth’s surface.

Technically the Earth-Moon system already rotates around such a point, but because the baycenter is within the Earth, we don’t really notice it. If it was outside the Earth, we probably wouldn’t notice it all that much, although it would impact the weather in unpredictable ways.  The addition of a Titan-mass moon would also increase how much tides raise and lower by about 180%. That sounds like a huge amount, but in reality it probably wouldn’t have too much of an impact except for some coastal cities that have a very low coastline.

Also, it would be significantly brighter than the moon. Depending how how reflective the atmosphere was, it could be two or three times brighter. So night would suddenly become much, much less frightening.

Now, here’s the thing – I’m mostly interested in this scenario for how a Habitable Moon would impact life on Earth. Specifically, human life in a modern era similar to our own. So while it’s interesting to note those changes, I don’t want to spend too much time on the exact math or figuring out how the mass would impact Earth. We’ve established the important detail – it would destroy the Earth, so we can plop it up there safely, atmosphere and all.

And the atmosphere is gone. Again. Crap.

Remember when I said that “in part” was going to be important? That’s where this comes in. See, the other reason Titan has a nice thick atmosphere is because it’s all the way out by Saturn, making it really, really cold. We’re talking “go to antarctica to warm up” cold. It has an average temperature of -179 celsius, or -290 Fahrenheit. That means that the atmosphere doesn’t have much energy, making it harder for gas to escape. But if out here, orbiting the Earth? It’ll be about the same temperature as Earth, since it’ll be getting the same amount of sunlight. On top of that, it’s getting 99% the solar radiation it was before. Those two factors will strip away its atmosphere long before life could develop.

While this won’t fix the heating problem, there’s one thing we can do: we can give it a molten core, and thus give it a magnetosphere.

I can’t find any good data for how two magnetospheres being as close as the Earth and the moon would interact, but that’s okay, because we’re pretending Earth isn’t going to be impacted too much physically. What matters is how the New Moon would even have a molten core.

So first of all, how does Earth?

Earth’s core is molten because of three factors. First of all is because, billions of years ago when the solar system was first forming, everything was hot. Super absurdly hot. At one point it was so hot, the Earth was molten. It eventually cooled down enough to have a crust, and that’s part of why the Earth’s core is molten – it was so absurdly hot billions of years ago, the interior of the Earth is still hot from back then. Which is crazy when you really think about it. Imagine your Hot Pocket, after coming out of the microwave, needed billions of years to cool down. I don’t know why you’re imagining that, it’s absurd, but that’s how absurdly hot the solar system used to be. Incidentally, it would take the Earth about 91 billion years for it to cool down.

The second reason the core is still molten is that radioactive elements within the core are, well, being radioactive and therefore releasing energy. Energy hits rest of core, energy converts to heat, rocks start melting and stay melting. Fairly simple. The third factor is friction, as heavier elements keep sinking deeper and deeper into the Earth. Eventually they’ll sink all the way down, removing this source of heat.

Our New Moon, while much bigger than the OG Moon, is still fairly small. Much like what happened with Mars and Mercury and many other bodies in the solar system, it would have cooled to the point of being solid all the way through by now. On top of that, because it’s smaller, frictional heating lasts for a shorter amount of time, since the heavier elements have a shorter distance to go. So to fix that, lets just say our New Moon has a much more radioactive core than Earth. It got a bunch more uranium and thorium compared to its size early in the solar system’s formation, and has been riding that wave since it formed. It will cool down before Earth does, but it hasn’t yet.

That solves the problem of solar radiation stripping away the atmosphere. It also gives our New Moon plate tectonics, earthquakes (moonquakes?), and volcanoes, all of which are great for life and biodiversity. Incidentally, this is why it’s worth putting the effort in to figure these things out, because you come up with things that might not have occured to you otherwise.

The final problem, the fact that a hotter atmosphere escapes more quickly…I’ve got nothing for. Without adding even more mass, so much so we’re not talking about a moon but a second planet, I have not been able to figure out a way to solve this problem. And this is where narrative trumps logic. For the idea to work, we need the moon to have an atmosphere. We’ve solved two out of three problems to get there, but the third isn’t something we can solve. So, we handwave it by saying that solving the first two meant the third won’t be a problem for long enough for the moon to still be habitable in the modern era.

(If you happen to know of a way to solve that problem, I’d love to hear it)

So, we have our new moon, which deserves a more regal name. Let’s call it Luna from here on out, and whenever we say “the moon” we’re referring to our real, less interesting moon. Would Luna be as big as Titan?


Remember that we are keeping Luna as massive as Titan because it’s a good point of comparison, but Titan isn’t very dense by the standards of rocky bodies. For Luna to have a molten core, however, we had to add a lot of heavy, and therefore dense radioactive elements to keep things toasty in there. Titan is about 50% larger than the moon. Luna is going to be larger, but not as large as Titan. I’m doing very rough math here, but it’ll probably be about 25% larger than the moon. Now, we can have life there.

Wait, crap, we forgot water. Let’s do what happened to Earth and slam some comets into Luna early in its life.

There we go. Now, we can have life there. But would we?

We could argue back and forth about whether or not life will inevitably arise from the conditions needed to create life, but the good news is, for Luna, we don’t need to. Luna would most likely have life, because it’s so close to Earth. The concept is called panspermia. Essentially, at some point Earth (or another body with life on it,) in the process of getting struck by asteroids and whatnot, could shoot out debris that lands on other worlds and that debris could still have microbial life on it that could colonize new worlds.

With Luna being so close to Earth, it’s pretty much inevitable that this would happen. In fact, we can even pick a particular event: evidence has been found of a massive asteroid impact in South America that’s 3.2 billion years old. There absolutely one unicellular life 3.2 billion years ago. The date is very important, because that’s close to the same time that the first photosynthetic life evolved, meaning Luna could get seeded with early photosynthetic life as well as nonphotosynthetic.

This means that a lot of sci-fi tropes (aliens that eat people, people eating alien plants, alien diseases) become much more reasonable since life on Earth and Luna share identical base biochemistry. They came from the same source, they have the same origin. They’ll go down vastly different paths, as we’ll see next time, but for right now, we can at least know they started from the same place.

So that’s part one of this, and it was longer than I planned. Tune in later for part two, where we look at what life on Luna could look like, and how all the math and science we did in this earlier part will play a role in shaping that. Subscribe to email updates, twitter, reddit, or facebook for the next part, and leave me a comment on any of those platforms to discuss.

And as always, enjoy.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑