This week we are joined by J.J. Green, here to tell us about her series Space Colony One.
What was the most surprising thing you found out while researching/writing your latest book?
Hopefully without giving a spoiler, I would say that researching megatsunamis had me raising my eyebrows when I was researching the second book in my Space Colony One trilogy, The Fila Epiphany. I had a layman’s knowledge of tsunamis but the event that occurs in the book required something even more spectacular. I was astounded by just how far-reaching and devastating megatsunamis are. For instance, the wave that spread from the meteor impact that may have led to the extinction of the dinosaurs was over 100 meters tall, and that was only because the impact was in a shallow sea. If it had been in the deep ocean it would have been over 4.5 kilometers tall.
Why did you choose this setting?
I felt that setting the colonization on an Earth-like planet was the most realistic scenario. If humanity ever attempts to build a deep space colony, it will have to be on a world that closely resembles our own. Once the colonists arrive, they’ll be on their own, so we would have to seek to minimize the challenges as far as possible. A planet in the early stages of evolution, before complex animal life appears, would be ideal.
What’s unique about your world?
Ha! I’m wary of giving spoilers. Suffice to say, the colonists aren’t as alone as they think they are.
How real do you think the science is in your book?
Space Colony One is my fourth series and the most scientifically accurate of all of them. The colony ship is a generation ship based on an O’Neill cylinder that travels at sub light speed, so it takes nearly two hundred years to reach its destination. Most of the colonists haven’t experienced living on a planet or having control of their own lives, which severely impacts their behavior after they arrive. In my experience this is something rarely addressed in space colonization fiction.
Also, the long-term viability of the colony via genetic diversity is a major concern. The colonists don’t reproduce naturally until after they arrive because the heterogeneity of the population must be maintained through careful matching of genetic codes and the infusion of fresh stock from stored gametes.
Another aspect of colonization science I delved into was cryonic suspension. The general thinking is that this wouldn’t work as a method for preserving humans long term because animal cells burst when the water inside them freezes. Nowadays colonization fiction favors something akin to hibernation, or it employs hand-wavium, but recent work on freezing and reviving small organisms has shown that old-fashioned cryosuspension may be possible, providing the subjects are living when frozen.
What was the most mundane item that you used that really has cool tech behind it? What is the tech?
Revival from cryosuspension causes permanent side-effects in some of the characters in Space Colony One (as it almost certainly would, considering it wouldn’t be practical to test the tech for the period of the colony ship’s journey). One character is blinded and must wear a visor. The visor connects to the back of her head, where the primary visual cortex is located on the surface of the brain. This visor tech is loosely based on a device call the Orion, developed by MIT and showcased in 2017. Currently the patient must have a section of skull removed to attach the electrodes, but the work on brain/computer interfacing should do away with this need eventually.
What did you include that you wish was real today?
One flight of fancy I took was to include vehicles called flitters. They’re humanity’s first anti-gravity devices. Prototypes were loaded onto the colony ship just prior to its departure, so in a way they’re quite rudimentary. But I would love to have one. A non-polluting vehicle that could whisk me anywhere no matter what the terrain would be wonderful.
What technology or science do you think will most affect the world of tomorrow?
Automation is going to have a huge impact on humanity within the next couple of decades. Many unskilled jobs will be taken over by robots of one form or another, and that will have wide-reaching effects on human societies and the global economy. I believe we’ll be forced to rethink our attitudes about the value of labor and the purpose of human existence.
Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
My other work includes the space opera series, Shadows of the Void, the dark space fantasy, Star Mage Saga, and the humorous science fiction series, Carrie Hatchett, Space Adventurer.