Sunday, May 27, 2007

In Memorial

On Memorial Day, we take the time to honor all those who have passed before us, but in particular those brave souls who died in service to or defending our country. Take a moment to appreciate the freedoms you have today because of the sacrifices they made.
Because this is Spacefreighters' Lounge, I'd like to give special recognition to those who have died in pursuit of space exploration, worldwide. As Ronald Reagon said in his speech after the loss of the Challenger crew:

“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted;
it belongs to the brave.”

Astronauts and cosmonauts killed in the history of space exploration:

— Jan. 27, 1967: Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee die when a fire sweeps their command module during a ground test at Kennedy Space Center.

— April 24, 1967: Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov is killed when his Soyuz I spacecraft crashes on return to Earth.

— June 29, 1971: Cosmonauts Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsayev die during re-entry of their Soyuz 11 spacecraft. A government commission disclosed that the three died 30 minutes before landing because a faulty valve depressurized the spacecraft.

— Jan. 28, 1986: The space shuttle Challenger explodes 73 seconds after launch, killing all seven astronauts aboard, including Christa McAuliffe, intended to be the first teacher in space. Other astronauts killed were Francis "Dick" Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Ellison S. Onizuka, Judith A. Resnik, Ronald E. McNair and Gregory B. Jarvis.

— Feb. 1, 2003: Space shuttle Columbia breaks apart in flames about 203,000 feet over Texas, 16 minutes before it was supposed to touch down in Florida. All seven aboard were killed: William McCool, Rick Husband, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Laurel Clark and Ilan Ramon, who was Israel's first astronaut.


Star Wars Fans Take Note

A special entitled Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed will be broadcast on the History Channel tomorrow (Memorial Day). I think the time is 9PM Eastern, but check your local listings for times in your area.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Muse Motivator: Tour of Nebulae

Have a few minutes to watch a spectacular show set to the music of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata? This video will definitely stir the imagination, spur the muse, and rack up some credits in the shock and awe department. It's a little over six minutes long and features some of the spectacular imagery of visible nebulae. After a few moments, the title of each also appears. Can you guess which is the Cat's Paw, the Pelican, the Cone, the Butterfly? Click the image shown above left in THE LATEST FEED below when it comes up or click the link at the bottom of this post to go directly to the YouTube feature.

WARNING: If you watch until the end there is an inspiring quote, followed by a personal comment that some may find controversial or offensive. (I rather wish the last statement had not been added because I feel it takes away from the impact of the quote instead of adding to it, but that's personal preference and others may have no issues with the point being made.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sci-Fi 101: Starship Design

How do you go about designing a starship for your Sci-Fi/Science Fantasy novel? Here's some basic information about designs and drives for interstellar ships.

Setting a Course

Going forward, I've decided to do regular posts on four different topic areas. This will be running themes for future articles:

Muse Motivator (Shock and Awe to Inpire Your Creative Self)
Sci-Fi 101 (Continuing Ed for Sci-Fi-Fan Writers)
What a Concept (Grasping the Science Behind the Fiction)
Link In A Wink (A Featured Link to Something of Interest)

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 21, 2007

New Feature: The Best of Firefly

I've added a new feature at the right side for a collection of the best Firefly videos I've found on YouTube to date (look for the list under the Firefly icon). There are five so far, each with a separate theme or topic.

Firefly Series Theme "You Can't Take The Sky From Me," the main title, is about space being the last free frontier. It has become a trendy catch-phrase you can now find on t-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers and hats (along with "My Firefly can whip your Federation Starship!" and "How many Firefly products do I have to buy to get a sequel?")

Firefly Final Tribute set to "I Believe" does a wonderful job of choreographing scenes to the music with uncanny perfection. It captures the essence of the characters and the sentiments of a fiercely loyal, and still growing, fan base. There are also some heart-pounding flight scenes and a few of my favorite moments from the series. I think this is better than any of the movie trailers I've seen. Highly recommended.

Firefly "Hero" is a look at Captain Mal Reynolds many personality facets. Some excellent clip-to-lyric synching on this one. Browncoats never die, they just keep flyin'.

Firefly - "100 Years". The lyrics of this song assigns one of the ages to each character. Though not as moving as Final Tribute and not as edgy as Wake Me Up, this one is very nicely done.

Firefly "Bring Me To Life" explores the character of River Tam, a 17-year-old girl whose backstory revealed she had been identified as a latent psychic and fallen victim to brain experiments conducted by the Alliance. River's plight as an unpredictable and deadly dormant weapon unfolds with the excellent editing and the edgy rhythms of this popular song.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Not all works of science fiction or science fantasy take place in the future. I think there is as much mystery in our past as in what lies ahead of us.

I've recently started the research for my fourth project tentatively titled Passages. The name is borrowed from a work of art that I saw hanging in a Santa Fe art gallery--and fell in love with. It was very similar composition to the picture at the right.

I think this image captures the essence of my planned novel, the sense of time as something that is passed through, as you would move through the doors and rooms of this ancient Anasazi city.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Best of...Firefly Videos!

THE LATEST FEED now has a selection of YouTube Firefly clips. (Woohoo!) I highly recommend taking a look at the opening sequence. It has a very catchy theme song with a distinct western flavor, because, as the narrator explains before each episode, life on the outer fringers has resorted to more rustic technologies.

Anyway, here's the link to the O/S and there's a selection of others that will rotate up in the list of YouTube fare below. Enjoy! :)
"You Can't Take the Sky From Me"
Clips from Firefly (primarily Captain Mal Reynolds) with the music of "Hero"
(It starts a little slow, but give it a minute. Some good Firefly dogfight scenes and lots of swashbuckling action.)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Nebula Award Winners Announced

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's Nebula Awards winners were honored over the weekend in New York.

Jack McDevitt won in the novel category for Seeker (see illustration at left), originally published by Ace in November of 2005.

James Patrick Kelly was the winner in the novella category for Burn.

Peter S. Beagle was the novelette winner with Two Hearts.

Elizabeth Hand won for her short story Echo.

Howl's Moving Castle by Hayao Miyazaki, Cindy Davis Hewitt and Donald H. Hewitt was the winning script.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

New Sci-Fi TV Shows Planned

New Science Fiction series are planned for NBCs fall line up. Click the link below for more info.

Pink Floyd Fan?

Check out Astronomy Domine, one of the latest YouTube video selections at the bottom of the page (THE LATEST FEED). Great graphics set to the music of Pink Floyd.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More Sci-Fi 101

Here's something I recently learned. Could come in handy.

Did you know the solar system is traveling through space inside a giant magnitized bubble?
It's called the heliosphere, and you can learn more by clicking the links below.

Monday, May 14, 2007

An Untimely Rant

Yet Another Lament on the Demise of Firefly

I know this isn't an original topic, and I'm very late in jumping onboard the Firefly bandwagon, but still, I gotta pose the question:

How does a well written sci-fi series with a phenomenal cast get axed after just a few episodes in its inaugural season? What's wrong with this picture?

After blockbuster big screen dynamos like Star Wars, little screen turned monster movies like Star Trek, and the success of (IMHO) mediocre sci-fi TV fare such as Stargate and Sliders, how did this one go astray? Firefly and Serenity (the movie that evolved from the cancelled TV series) fans seem like a loud and devoted lot, but maybe many, like myself, learned about Firefly much too late to make a difference. I wonder if well-written science-fiction/futuristic fantasy books are often doomed to the same fate? Thoughts?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cosmic Forces and Life on Earth

Some interesting questions are raised in this article from LiveScience:

Pilot Position Tracking System

A prototype, state-of-the-art Pilot Position Tracking System (PPTS) has been added to the lounge. (Okay, okay. It's just a fancy counter.) It's being tested on a trial basis. We'll see if it functions as expected, or if a software adjustment will be required. ;)


Looking for more visual inspiration? The LATEST FEED feature has been added at the bottom of this blog. Click on the image to see the title and open the YouTube videos, featuring themes of space, galaxies, Hubble images and other related (sometimes tenuously related) subjects. Selections run the gamut from documentaries to game ads to parodies to music videos. If your muse has attained escape velocity, this might be a good place to search for it. Move your mouse over the image to see the title, then click to view. The video will appear the top of the blog. Have fun.

Disclaimer: These videos are the result of a search function and are not necessarily endorsed by this writer! I may not have viewed many of them personally and cannot vouch for their content.

Jupiter's Northern Lights

The aurora phenomenon on Jupiter was discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectograph (STIS) in 1998. This link will take you to the Hubble STIS site (like a sci-fi picture book).

Discoveries suggest that Jupiter's aurora may be 1000 times more powerful than Earth's.

That must be some light show! :O

Image: The Horsehead Nebula
(but of course! What else would I chose for my first image?)

Ah...A purpose!

When I created Spacefreighters Lounge it was more or less to test the features of the new blog template. Once done playing, it needed to decide what to be when it grew up. Since my other blog deals with my work and the writing industry in general, this one required its own identity and reason for existance.

Aha! ::: lightbulb ::: or should that be ::: exploding nebula :::

Since I'm in constant search of new information to pour into my fictional universes, I decided this might be a good place to post news, information, and links for recent discoveries and theories that could be used to, propel the imagination of science fiction and futuristic fantasy writers.

So read, comment, learn...and enjoy the ride!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Welcome to Spacefreighters Lounge

Pull up a hoverchair and have a Billins. :)

This blog is named in honor of the seedy tavern on Dartis where my MC originally began his journey (before my critiquers forced me to trash the Star Wars cantina opening. *sigh* (Besides, all the other blog names I could think of were taken. I think I tried at least 30...this was worse than naming a Thoroughbred! ;) )

Anywho...I thank my blog buddy Kimber An for her advice to set up a new blog with all the bells and whistles. quest begins.