Tag Archives: scifi

Planetary Grand Tour Inspires Writers

GrandTour-blog

As a science fiction writer, I often derive inspiration from the planets and moons of our solar system. It is here that the next great frontier will be found. One day, tourism will be an economic factor on the planets much as it is here on the Earth. How will future destinations showcase their location to attract those tourism dollars?

One answer to this question is from NASA itself. In 2016, a series of 1950s inspired posters about various tourism locations in our home solar system were created. Photos and posters are great sources to draw on as an author. I hope you will enjoy this batch of fantastical images about various places in our solar system and how they might develop into colonies with tourism benefits.

Below are smaller versions of my favorite posters from this series. There are a few more featuring some of the larger moons in our solar system too. Download one or two for your walls for free. Maybe they will inspire you to write about the planets or even to go there one day. The days when humanity spreads into space is not far into the future.

venus-blog

VENUS is one of Earth’s closest sister worlds.  It is 9/10s the size of our homeworld and has a dense atmosphere that could crush a spacecraft.

NASA writes about this poster:

“The rare science opportunity of planetary transits has long inspired bold voyages to exotic vantage points – journeys such as James Cook’s trek to the South Pacific to watch Venus and Mercury cross the face of the Sun in 1769. Spacecraft now allow us the luxury to study these cosmic crossings at times of our choosing from unique locales across our solar system.”

 

 

 

 

 

Earth-blogEARTH is humanity’s homeworld, but ultimately not our only gravity well.  Expansion into all corners of the globe is a fairly recent endeavor, but not our only stopping point.

NASA writes about this poster:

“There’s no place like home. Warm, wet and with an atmosphere that’s just right, Earth is the only place we know of with life – and lots of it. Perhaps our perfect world is rarer than we thought and only when we travel to other worlds will we realize how precious and lucky we are to have it.”

 

 

 

 

 

Mars-blogMARS will prove to be human’s first planetary colony.  Our first efforts to live on the Red Planet will begin in a scant decade or two.  Due to its smaller size, CO2 atmosphere, and lack of a magnetic iron core, there will be fierce challenges associated with living there, but I’m sure our scientists will be up to the task of making this world habitable.

NASA writes about this poster:

“NASA’s Mars Exploration Program seeks to understand whether Mars was, is, or can be a habitable world. Mission like Mars Pathfinder, Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Science Laboratory and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, among many others, have provided important information in understanding of the habitability of Mars. This poster imagines a future day when we have achieved our vision of human exploration of Mars and takes a nostalgic look back at the great imagined milestones of Mars exploration that will someday be celebrated as historic sites.”

 

 

Jupiter-blogJUPITER is a gas giant that orbits the sun, much as a binary star might.  It has snatched 68 asteroids that now circle the mighty orb as make-shift moons.

NASA writes about this poster:

“The Jovian cloudscape boasts the most spectacular light show in the solar system, with northern and southern lights to dazzle even the most jaded space traveler. Jupiter’s auroras are hundreds of times more powerful than Earth’s, and they form a glowing ring around each pole that’s bigger than our home planet. Revolving outside this auroral oval are the glowing, electric “footprints” of Jupiter’s three largest moons. NASA’s Juno mission will observe Jupiter’s auroras from above the polar regions, studying them in a way never before possible.”

 

 

 

I hope that you have found inspiration for your own stories with these fun images from NASA. If they help ferment a few new science fiction stories for you, as they have for me, all the better.

Scifaiku of Wendy Van Camp featured in Quantum Visions 5

 

quantumvisions5-2016

It is with great pleasure that I announce that five of my poems and illustrations have been published in the magazine “Quantum Visions 5” edited by Jude-Marie Green.  It is a chapbook featuring science fiction stories of the Orange County Science Fiction Club’s Writer’s Orbit.  I am the only poet in the edition.  This magazine used to be print only, but this year Ms. Green is offering online versions.  You can purchase an online chapbook at the following link:

Quantum Visions 5

#CHWG Podcast – The Writer’s Platform with Wendy Van Camp

CHWG-podcast (blog)

Writers need a platform to reach their audience. Don’t know where to begin? Podcast #6 of the CHWG Podcast with Wendy Van Camp discusses it. Plus Scifaiku (Science Fiction Haiku). Hosted by J Bryan Jones. Available on YouTube, iTunes, and CHWritersGroup.org now!

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Find Wendy Van Camp
https://nowastedink.com/
Twitter: @wvancamp

Find J Bryan Jones
facebook.com/JBryanJonesWriter
Twitter: @JBryanJones

Author Interview: Murray Lindsay

Murray Lindsay is an indy author from Canada.  He writes science fiction with a wild west twist.  Please welcome him to No Wasted Ink.

murray lindsayMy name is Murray Lindsay and I’m a proud flatlander. Really. Born and raised on the rolling prairies of Saskatchewan, no matter where I have travelled or how long I lived elsewhere, I have returned with relief. My most recent return met with even greater-than-usual revitalization as I met the woman of my dreams and we have recently moved into the perfect (no, really) house.

My mother (a teacher) taught me to read well before school started. What I read is down to my father and grandfather (Mom’s dad). I grew up devouring a back library of Astounding, Analog and hundreds of SF&F books. I recall being confused when visiting other little chums and asking “Where are your books?” and they’d point to a couple on a coffee table.

I am a graphic artist and illustrator by lifelong trade, sometimes in a shop, currently freelancing out my home. Writing has always been fun. Being an author is heady stuff.

When and why did you begin writing?

From pre-school onwards. My parents kept my childhood doodles and explained the tales I made up to go with the drawings. Why? I can only refer to the fact many kids start out drawing and telling stories. The mystery is rather why a scant few of us keep on going while our peers dump their creativity. I have no answer. Perhaps growing up in a house full of books kept my imagination alive.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve considered myself a writer my entire life. I won’t claim to have always been a good writer, but I wrote. I usually received the accolades of high school English teachers. I wrote a piece of fiction for a final essay in my university class on the History of Ancient Greece. I’ve always loved penning letters, trying to make them fun and informative for the recipient. I’ve Game Mastered hundreds of hours of roleplaying games, which were all set on a world of my own creation. The saga has many stanzas.

Only with the publication of “Home on the Strange” did I dare to call myself an “author”.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

“Home on the Strange” is my first published novel. I have this month finished a fully science fiction adventure with the working title “Patient Zero”, involving a take on “where are the aliens?” question that puzzles scientists and nerds alike. Next on the list is to get back to the next “Brewster & Brewster Adventure”. I fancy the twins will have a trilogy before I’m done.

What inspired you to write this book?

I unexpectedly became filled with the urge to write a Western. I wanted to slap a saddle on a horse and go like stink.

After I realized this loco idea was not going away, I started to think on the matter. I found no desire to travel the very well-worn trails of the American Wild West. Which sent me north to the days of the Canadian frontier. The Canadian west was not too “wild”. I did not fancy fancy-stepping around historical events trying to generate an adventure.

The my first love of SF&F came to the rescue. Off to parallel Earths and divergent histories! A wild west in another Earth’s 21st century!

Do you have a specific writing style?

Energetic and adventurous with humour layered in for seasoning. My fans, friends and family flatter me by agreeing I have a “sparkling way with words” and that my dialogue is pretty snappy.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The final result is a western with a hefty dollop of oddness and SF poured over it. “Home on the Range” became “Home on the Strange”. I web searched and couldn’t find but a couple of books with that title, and nowhere near the part of the book store I’d be in. Feeling it too good to be true, I added “A Brewster & Brewster Adventure” to guarantee avoiding infringements. Not only that, but it gives a vintage ring that suggests sequels.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Honesty being the best policy, I have to say “no”. It’s a tall tale, some far-fetched fiction, a rootin’-tootin’ race for life and limb across the western Canadian prairie. I’m told it’s a fun ride. That being said, there is a definite undercurrent praising loyalty, friendship, blood-is-thicker-than-water and such values.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find
inspiring?

I’d rank perhaps my major influence as Keith Laumer. An underrated, I feel, SF writer of the 1960’s. Life and death challenges abound, but the hero still slips in a wry observation or sarcastic witticism. I think that blend of comedy and crisis results in an excellent creation for the simple reason it mimics life. And what that guy could do with a simile!

After him there ranks a legion. Jerome K. Jerome, Damon Runyon, Poul Anderson, Glenn Cook, and etc.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

I can’t claim any literal mentors, other than perhaps the members of my writing groups. Some of those wonderful folk are a couple of spaces further along on this game board than I. But, all their advice and comments have been so useful at assorted times that it’s impossible to single one out.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

In point of fact, I did all the illustrations (cover and inside), design and layout. “Graphic artist” is my day job, you see. I cut myself a helluva deal in negotiating the fees. Used  those skills to lay out and create a proper ePub edition as well.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

For writers, I’ll say my greatest epiphany was when realized that many “Writing Rules” are a matter of taste. It was like seeing parents argue when two favourite authors gave totally contradictory “Rules”. I advise reading many many “How To” books and sources to get a sense of the actual foundation principles. Then pick three of those gurus and follow their teachings. (Of course, I mean award winning, well-regarded, have sold a bushel of books, gurus).

For those going the full publishing route: I feel great sympathy and embarrassment for authors who can not or will not use a professional artist for their covers. Land and sky, but there’s a multitude of wretched covers out there. My advice: if you have no access to a professional, then you should keep the cover as simple as possible.

Don’t think of a basic cover of essentially fonts and colour to be “boring”. It is “neutral”. Better the reader starts Page 1 in a neutral frame of mind than the mocking, sour sneer an amateur cover engenders.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

For my book, and any author’s work, I ask “Tell your friends”. One honest opinion-review from a buddy is easily equal to a hundred “thumbs up” from strangers. And they tell two people and they tell two people…

BnB digital coverMurray Lindsay
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

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Home on the Strange – A Brewster & Brewster Adventure

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Sonnet: Cassandra

Cassandra (blog)

Cassandra

In the morning your ship will be sailing
Prepared by your father to whisk you safe
Watch the silicone city understanding
As the people flee the enemy in haste

Now that the last bloody day is dawning
You suffer your secrets within your heart
For none would listen to words of warning
O Cassandra, it is time to depart

Into the fair skies you rocket up
Away from the death you have forseen
In orbit, solar sails prepare to cup
waves of photon energy by machine

Sorry Cassandra, we did not believe
We only saw it as dreams you would weave

Sonnet by Wendy Van Camp
Illustration by Wendy Van Camp

I am known for my scifaiku poetry, but I’ve been experimenting with longer poetry forms lately.  The sonnet is a classic poetry form.