Debbie leaves a trail of dust?

Mystery Object Appears Near Milky Way's Monster Black Hole

Aloha – There is actually a subplot line in book 5 of the Demeter Series, “Orion’s Spur” that won’t be out until later next year, where Debbie’s character is recklessly, and somewhat hopelessly trying to accomplish a trans-galactic arm passage.  The reason for this feat is too much of a spoiler.  Anyway, when I saw this photo last night it was certainly the right imagery for the events, might even the be the inspiration for the cover art.

Meanwhile, back to reality.  This is actually a massive cloud of gas that astronomers can’t quite figure out.  It is circling a black hole?  Humongous (I usually don’t use that word) space whale made of gas?  Fireball headed toward Earth?  Probably not.  An anomaly that just isn’t explainable at the moment.  If you’d like to read the story check out the link below:

Kidnapping little sisters is not a good idea

Mark December 18th on your calendar. Meanwhile, more insights into Debbie’s character. Debbie, Cynthia and Becky are kidnapped (or re-kidnapped depending on how you look at it. Debbie of course tried to escape and was rewarded with a concussion. As she regains consciousness the following discussion occurs:

“Either I’m still woozy or the raft is making a big turn,” Debbie whispered.
Becky joined the two girls in a tight circle. “They are turning. I can feel it. I believe that we’ve turned around and are headed back the way we came. I wish I could see outside to get my bearings.”
“Maybe we can jump out,” Debbie suggested.
“That might work if we weren’t locked in this crate,” Cynthia responded.
“So what do we do?” Debbie asked, staring at the wall.
“Sit tight,” Becky and Cynthia harmonized.
There was a pause, then Becky and Cynthia said, “We’ve been talking,” in unison. They giggled. “Go ahead,” Becky whispered to Cynthia.
“If they wanted to kill us, they would have already done it,” Cynthia began. “We know this has something to do with Ryder, but we’re not sure what. We also know that they expect Ryder to find us. So if this is a game of chess, I’d bet on Ryder to be smart enough not to run into a trap. The best response is to sit tight.”
Debbie flushed. “If you think I’m going to sit around and wait for Ryder to rescue me, you’re nuts! I’d never hear the end of it.”

Who is the better juvenile science fiction writer between Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein?

Aloha – When I think of Isaac Asimov I immediately think of the Robot series and his Foundation series.  Excellent books, but pretty heavy reading.  My favorite Asimov novel is Pebble in the Sky, which is still not what I would consider Middle School Reading.  Many people are unaware that he also wrote a delightful juvenile science fiction series about David Starr, better know as Lucky Starr.  I found the entire series in the Kinokuniya bookstores in Japan (along with a number of other early science fiction series).  They filled the hour long train home each night with adventures that took me far from the crowded trains.
Robert Heinlein wrote twelve juvenile science fiction books between 1947 and 1958.  I found eleven of the twelve totally engaging, and yes I did read all of them while in Middle School.  Going back, I do find a few are starting to date a bit.  But I still love Farmer in the Sky, which I believe was originally done as a serial in Boy’s Life.  Tunnel in the Sky is a fascinating turn on Lord of the Flies.  The Red Planet and Between the Planets is a fully engaging pair of novels that begin to connect the Solar System eco-system.  But as I mentioned in a earlier post, Citizen of the Galaxy remains my favorite.
I’m not sure how I’d rate these two great authors total works to total works, but as Juvenile Science Fiction authors I believe Heinlein in the clear winner.

Debbie convinces kidnappers to let her pilot the flying saucer

Aloha – Ryder’s younger sister Debbie exudes confidence in almost all settings.  When Ryder and his friends are drafted or kidnapped, depending on your point of view, Debbie immediately wants to fly the interstellar craft.  By the time they reach Demeter she has convinced the Captain to let her do exactly that.  The following is excerpted from Chapter 7, Arion.

Ryder came to himself and moved on down the stairway. At the bottom, he turned and looked at the Pegasus and realized why they had lost their windows. The ship had reformed to a circular shape. “A flying saucer?” Ryder commented.

Cynthia came up and stood next to him. “It sure looks like a flying saucer, like they show on those UFO movies. Maybe this is where they got the idea from.”

“I wonder how big it is now?” Ryder asked.

About this time, Debbie came bouncing down the staircase. “It’s three stories high, and in saucer mode it can be as small as sixty feet wide. However, at the moment it is ninety-four feet in diameter to meet the minimum needs of its passengers, luggage, and cargo.”

“Great, now I have a walking encyclopedia for a sister. We’ll start calling you Debbipedia.”

“You can’t bother me today. I got to fly the Pegasus,” Debbie gushed. “In fact, Captain White has agreed to give me and Becky flying lessons as soon as we settle in.”

“Great! There goes our ride home. I hope they have a good body shop here,” Ryder responded.

As the lights began to flare in Debbie’s eyes, Cynthia interjected, “That’s wonderful news Debbie. I’m sure you’ll make a great pilot.”

This seemed to defuse the battle before it even began. Cynthia whispered to Ryder, “You could lighten up on her once in a while.”

“Sure,” Ryder replied. “Debbie, I’m sure you’ll be the best pilot in the class.”

Just then Rebecca joined them. “Oh, so you think I’ll stink as a pilot?”

Ryder just turned red and realized he was in a no-win situation.

Demeter and Return to Demeter are available on Amazon.  Defending Demeter should be out for Christmas.  Check out the first few chapters of Demeter at:

Debbie and Cynthia

Although Ryder is the protagonist of the Demeter Series, two of the most interesting characters in the series are Debbie, Ryder’s younger sister, and Cynthia Flores. They are strong characters and evolve as central to the plot of the entire series, and in Debbie’s case as comic relief. One of my favorite passages in the first book gives a sense of what is to come. Ryder has been beaten up by the class bully at a school dance. Enjoy the reaction of Debbie and Cynthia.

Ryder noticed Barry’s pointed-toe cowboy boots as one came flying at his stomach. The connection knocked the wind out of him, and he could hear the laughter cut off. That was the last moment he was aware of the surroundings for the next several seconds. Repeated blows came to his face, back, and stomach, depending on how he turned to avoid further contact. He was starting to fade in and out when a chaperone (he thought) arrived and broke up the “fight.” The throbbing pain started to overcome him. “That didn’t turn out so well,” he mumbled as he threw up, then passed out.Ryder wasn’t sure how long he was out, but he was still on the floor in the same position, so it couldn’t have been more than a few seconds. As shapes started to come into focus, he was wishing he was still unconscious. The throbbing pain was starting in. He’d felt pain like this before. When was it? Oh yes, when he fell out of that tree and cracked a rib. But in this case, he couldn’t make up his mind which hurt worse, his face or his back or his ribcage. Yup, that same cracked rib. Ryder wondered whether the rib was cracked or broken this time. Meanwhile, it felt like someone had gone over his face with a hammer. No, that was cowboy boots, wasn’t it? he thought.

With his vision back into focus, he saw Mr. Small standing over him in an almost protective crouch and trying to check his pulse at the same time. There was some sort of altercation going on beyond his vision, and screaming, he thought.

“Mr. Small, I’m alive,” Ryder croaked. He realized he must have been kicked in the throat as well.

“We’re calling an ambulance. Lie still.” Mr. Small was using his reassuring voice.

“I’m fine.” Ryder tried to get up, but the throbbing made it easy to relent to Mr. Small’s severe look.

“Come on kids, the show’s over. Back away. We need some air here,” Mr. Small commanded.

The crowd seemed to disperse quickly as there was something else going on just out of Ryder’s vision. Finally, he was able to make out something that made him wonder if he was delirious. Debbie seemed to be flying in circles and he caught glimpses of Cynthia swinging just below her. Suddenly, Debbie seemed to disappear, and there was a great deal of laughter. Ryder thought, I must really be fading. Maybe I’m dying. Then he heard another sharp voice. Was that Mrs. Peterson?

“Get off him you two!”

There was an abrupt screech. Ryder had never heard anything quite so terrifying in his life. It sounded like…well nothing Ryder could imagine. Then his senses came to him quickly. Barry was obviously beating up Debbie. The adrenalin kicked in, and Ryder rose to his feet, holding his side. What he saw made him start to chuckle. His ribs just couldn’t take it. Barry Hales’ voice could now be heard distinctly yelling, “Get them off me! Get them off me!” Mrs. Peterson seemed to be taking her time removing Cynthia and Debbie from Barry, who was now collapsed on the floor. Debbie had two handfuls of hair that had apparently belonged to Barry in her clenched fists. Ryder saw a glaring bald spot on one side of Barry’s head. Cynthia’s foot was retracting from one of those spots guys just don’t like to think about getting kicked. Ryder started to laugh, then spluttered, “Oh no,” and fell unconscious to the floor.

This is an excerpt from chapter 2 of Demeter. The first couple of chapters can be read for free on the Amazon site for the book. Again, Enjoy.