Thursday, February 16, 2017

The weather's been out of this world

(c) Deposit photos
Do you mind if I mention the weather? In a country like Australia, extremes are a part of the furniture. Everybody knows we go through cycles of flood and drought. It's expected. But just right now the weather is... weird. Australia's a big place - as large as the continental USA - so variations in weather are expected. But down in the south-west, around Perth, this is high summer. Temperatures in the 40s (105 and more for you Americans (nobody else uses fahrenheit anymore)) are par for the course. It's a Mediterranean climate - dry summers, we winters. Except right now the rivers are flooded and Perth has had its second wettest day on record, with temperatures around 17C (62F). And not just Perth, of course. The wheat belt to the East of Perth is under water.

Further North, around Karratha, rain at this time is not unusual, a spin off from the tropical monsoon. But not like this. Roads are damaged, there's water everywhere.

Further to the east around the arid centre of Australia the farmers have welcomed good rains over the past several months. But now they're in for sweltering heat and hot winds - a recipe for bushfires. People have been told to leave some areas because if fire starts, it will be virtually impossible to control. And the fires are burning.

In Tasmania (this is still high summer everywhere, remember) snow is falling.

Where I live, in a sub-tropical region which receives most of its rain right now, we've had nothing for weeks.

Lake Eyre in the middle of Australia
I can hear you wondering what that has to do with SF. Well, I think it just goes to show that planets cast as just one climate (Dune, Tattoine) might be possible, but there is such rich diversity even on our little blue ball. As authors we need to bear in mind the diversity of nature, and the effects of climate changing over time. That's why I have put that picture up there. It was the inspiration for a scene in The Stuff of Legend, a crashed space ship. It came down in water centuries ago. And then the climate changed. I imagined such a ship coming down into the great inland lake which used to exist in the middle of Australia. Now it's a salt lake in a sea of sand.

Meanwhile, I'm slowly working on Morgan's Misfits II.

Oh - and if you've bought a copy of The Stuff of Legend, I thank you. If you enjoyed it please tell your friends. Here's the links.

When history professor Olivia Jhutta receives a distress call from her parents, she sets out into space with their business partner, her grandmother and injured Confederacy Admiral Jak Prentiss to find them. But she’s not the only one interested in the Jhutta’s whereabouts. The Helicronians believe Olivia’s parents have found an ancient weapon which they can use to wage war on the Confederacy.

Jak goes on the trip to fill in time while he’s on enforced leave, helping Olivia follow cryptic clues in what he considers an interplanetary wild goose chase in search of a fairy story. But as the journey progresses and legend begins to merge with unsettling fact, Olivia and Jak must resolve their differences and work together if they are to survive. The two are poles apart… but it’s said opposites attract. If they can manage to stay alive.

Buy the book: Amazon  Google iBooks  Nook Kobo  Print


  1. Yeah, even on UK scale we get variations from north to south, east to west. Even in my own little town, we can have completely different weather to others nearby. We seem to be in this freaky, Bermuda Triangle like spot, where the surroundings might get snow while we stay clear, or we get a hail storm and no one else does. Sudden fog banks sweeping in from the sea on a bright summer's day. And if it can vary that much within a few miles, hell yes, a planet's going to have some variations, even if it's colder spots at the poles.

  2. Being in the Southern Rockies, we can get some really wild weather, too. Blizzard one day, summery the next. We've had rainstorms "park" against South Mountain and swamp us, where everywhere outside of the cloud circle, it's dry.

    Our ranch seems to be located in its own little wind tunnel, too. Sometimes the wind will be blowing 40-50 mph across the property, but if you take the highway a few hundred yards north or south...dead calm. One year it happened during a snowstorm and our section of highway was the only place with big drifts after the storm moved on. The pavement was dry everywhere else. Probably has something to do with the mountains channeling the prevailing winds, but it can be a very weird phenomenon.


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