The Factual Fiction

Among the genres I play with, science fiction is one I work in a lot.  Considering I have five stories set in a universe of my own creation–four novels and one short novella–it’s save to say that I’m most tat home when I’m writing about people living in a world that is far different than ours.

I like to give advice on world building as well.  One of the area where I think I’m pretty good is in building solar systems.  By far I’m no expert, but I do take some pride in the systems I’ve created using available software.  Yes, some people buy software to help them build scrap books:  I buy software to help build solar systems.  It’s a hobby, one that’s better than cooking meth in the Superlab.

Last night I was chatting with another writer who has asked, from time to time, on help for the systems he’s created for his own stories.  I like helping where I can, because it is fun, particularly when you see the bug you have has taken hold in another.  There was a comment I made, however.  When discussing something that might be just a little on the fantastical side, I said, “I don’t always do things that are fully scientific.  I cheat a little myself.”

It makes you wonder:  at what point do you cross the line from science fact into science bullshit?

When it comes to the systems in my Transporting universe, the majority of them are, I believe, factual.  There is one, however, that I know it pretty much bull, and I don’t mind saying so.  In my stories I have the center of government on a planet in orbit around the great summer star Altair, in the constellation Aquila.  While there is some great science fiction heritage in using Altair as a place to have a habitable planet–one with a green sky, I might add–it can’t happen if we follow the current theories about the creation of solar systems.

You see, Altair is a big star:  an A7 V class.  The “V” means it’s a main sequence star, but an A class means it’s far larger than the Sun.  As such, it should burn through it’s fuel a lot faster than the Sun, which means it’ll live a shorter life than the Sun.  This doesn’t mean that it can’t have planets:  A class stars have been found with Jupiter-sized planets in orbit.  But the likelihood of finding an earth-like planet is rare, if not almost impossible.

Still . . . it’s such an exotic location, you can’t pass it up.  The long year–about 3.65 Earth years for my world to make one trip around Altair–the long day–about thirty-three hours–and the bright star in the green sky . . . yeah, I like that.

It’s not so much science fiction as it is science fantasy, but there are times when you succumb to the desire to throw in a location that’s too good to pass up.  I should know better, but the kid in me can’t help but think that once one of my characters shows up on this world, the first thing he’ll do is crack jokes about looking for Krell.

At least he didn’t get there on the C-57D.  Otherwise he might have ended up on Miranda . . .