Earth versus Demeter

Huge Solar Flare Unleashed By Sun on Friday

On Friday, there was a massive solar flare that created some power outages in regions of our Mother Earth.  This is not a problem in Demeter for a couple of reasons:

1. The asteroid planetoid of Demeter is a light year from the nearest star

2. The habitable portion of Demeter is in the interior of the asteroid.

There are of course disadvantages of living in a world without a nearby heat generating star.  The surface has no atmosphere and the temperatures are pretty darn cold.  Of course, without oxygen I suppose it doesn’t matter how cold it is.  An intriguing question is whether you would die of asphyxiation or hypothermia first.  No one has volunteered to pop out of their warm insulated STU units to find out, although Becky might consider it.

Another disadvantage is that you don’t see the stars unless you’re on that surface that is bitterly cold and without atmosphere.  You don’t get sights like this:

But, there are the brilliant risings inside Demeter if you’re willing to get up early enough to watch them.

Free science fiction e-book this weekend

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TANSTAAFL except today!      Today, you can receive a Special Christmas (or your favorite holiday) gift from Doc.  December 19th through December 21st you can get a free e-book copy of Demeter at Amazon.  What’s the catch?  No catch.  All we ask is that if you like the book write a review.

For a warm-up:

The next problem was how to overpower six armed kidnappers if they came to a confrontation. Ryder had never fired a weapon, not even a BB Gun. Randy and Joel both had been training in the robot units, but they had no robot units to work with, and the computerized systems of those units gave them no preparation for using a hand weapon. Joel suggested they take swords from Hondo’s collection. Hondo scoffed. “You might as well throw rocks. You don’t know how to use them.” Nevertheless, he pulled down a scabbard holding a short, curved, thick blade, pulled the blade out, and swished it back and forth a few times, showing a menacing smile as he did so.

The final disposition of weapons was an odd mixture. Margaret and Hondo each carried pistols. Hondo’s pistol was a Colt .45. It looked natural and appropriate in his hand. “You should see those bullets fly in this lower gravity,” he almost gushed. Hondo also wore his scabbard that he carried his saber in. He looked more like a pirate than a cowboy with the combination.

Margaret pulled out an elegant handgun and turned toward Hondo. It was compact, and as Margaret explained, “Semi-automatic and more bullets than in that piece of iron you haul around.” By then Hondo was strapping a gun belt filled with two dozen extra bullets.

Margaret outfitted Ryder and Joel with something that looked like a tuning fork.

“What are we supposed to do with this?” Ryder looked incredulous.

“Oh, right, you probably don’t have these back on Earth yet. Slow decade for technology thieves,” Hondo responded.

“You’ve not heard of these on Earth, but they’re called Tasers,” Margaret volunteered. “Just point at your target and press the handle here,” She pointed at a safety-covered button. “You slide the safety up like this, and then you can press the button, aiming the prongs at your target. It’s not fatal, but it sends an electrical charge that totally disables your opponent.”

“Shoots about eighty thousand volts,” Hondo added.

“What’s wrong?” Margaret looked at the grins on Ryder and Joel’s faces.

“We’ve had Tasers on Earth for several years. The police use them all the time instead of guns.”

Hondo scowled. “Yup, danged techno thieves. We got to stop letting those Terran pups come up here.”

Ryder apologetically added, “They’re not nearly as cool as these are though.”

Margaret warned, “Be sure of what you’re shooting at. You only get one shot with that. We’ll take you out back to try it before we go. You can recharge them while we’re flying.”

Hondo looked long and hard at Randy. “You know those computer simulations with those robot units make killing seem easy and even fun sometimes. I don’t have any robot units, but if you think you can actually kill someone with one of these”—he pulled down a long, sharp knife with a curved edge along with a case that could slide onto a belt—“I’ll let you take Uncle Bowie. Be warned, killing somebody with a knife is not easy, and it is not fun. You think you have the stomach for it?”

Randy swallowed hard. “I really don’t know. But I’d still like to bring it just in case. If we’re desperate, maybe I can.”

“So be it.” Hondo gave Randy a hard smile, but Margaret looked unsettled.

 Again, get your free copy at:

A flying dervish a hundred light years from home

Aloha – In Demeter, it doesn’t take Debbie long to stir things up.  As expected she takes naturally to flying.  The following is an excerpt about her and Becky’s first official day of flying inside the world of Demeter.

Back with the group, Ryder found out that everyone enjoyed their first day of service. Athena was working on internal meteorology. She seemed excited, and was talking about going to the ice fields. Randy and Joel had both gotten involved in training in some robotic suits and were discussing taking them out for a flight. Becky was talkative. She and Debbie had been flying hoppers all day. They hadn’t crashed once. “Although,” Becky said, “Debbie came awful close to that rock formation. She actually caused a landslide with the tip of the hopper.”

“It wasn’t that big a landslide,” Debbie said defensively. “And Joshua said that he had never seen anyone take to flying better than me.”

Becky nodded. “Yes, Debbie is amazing. I think I’m getting the hang of it, and Joshua says I’m doing great, but Debbie sometimes scares me. She knows no fear. I’m not so sure that that landslide wasn’t a bit of a problem. The farmer said it would take months to clean up the mess, and that us flyboys needed to be more careful.” Both Becky and Debbie giggled as they could apparently still vividly recall the look on the farmer’s face.

“It’s not that funny,” Athena responded to their giggles. “You may not realize this, but every crag and crevice is mapped and influences the weather and ecosystem of Demeter. I know that the report of the landslide did not bode well with the Director of Meteorology. He called an emergency meeting to do something they called remapping the system.”

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:

At the Earth’s Core and Edgar Rice Burroughs

Aloha – My interest in Edgar Rice Burroughs really didn’t start until I was in college.  I’d already read and re-read all of my favorite Robert Heinlein novels by then.  The idea of underworld civilizations actually start though, with the old Superman TV series when Superman had to deal with creatures who inhabited an underground world.  In High School, I was bored in a class and with a fellow student (who ironically had beaten me up in 6th grade) developed a juggernaut that drilled into the Earth and traveled at quite a rapid clip considering it had to drill its way through rock and dirt.

Getting back to Burroughs, I was working my way through college and would often spend my lunch break at the library just a block from where I worked.  I really wasn’t that interested in the Tarzan series, but devoured the John Carter from Mars series.  Actually I’ve read the series a couple of times now.  But what to read when those books were gone.  I ran across a much shorter series that started with At the Earth’s Core.  A juggernaut was built that drilled into the Earth’s crust and eventually came upon a populated world that is similar to Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.  These books are fun quick reads and I’ll probably go into a bit more detail on some of them in a later blog.

Now, in Demeter, we add another world to the notion of a world not on the surface but inside a world.  The question of what the world would look like and how it would work was interesting.  I had a fun time working out how gravity worked in such a world.

Defending Demeter edits complete

Since making the decision to publish the five volume series of Demeter via Amazon and e-publishing, the strategy has been to complete the editing process for each of the five novels in three month increments.  Demeter was published a few months ago, Return to Demeter made an October publication, and Defending Demeter will be out by Christmas.  The final edits are complete.  Now awaiting the cover artwork from our graphic artist.

Comparison of U.S. Government and Demeter Government

Mr Small and Ms Li – First I want to protest this assignment.  I am on holiday and feel it is unreasonable to have to write a paper on comparative government structure.  Nonetheless I will do my best.

The United States government is divided into three branches:  Executive, Legislative and Judicial.  The Executive branch is led by the President of the United States who is elected by the people, sort of.  Actually, only thirty to forty percent of the people vote.  They vote by state and the state sends appointed people to cast their vote for President in something called the Electoral College.  So, the people vote for someone to vote for them.  Whoever the President of the United States is, then appoints whoever he wants to actually run the various departments of the government.  Things like the State Department and Department of Education.  They then execute whatever policies they want.  Recourse against poor policies or execution of policy is through administrative courts where the defendant has to PROVE they are innocent.  Of course they may have to prove they are innocent against policies that are bad in the first place.  The only protection against abusive leaders is that the Senate has to approve the leaders nominated by the President.

The legislative branch is bi-cameral.  I thought perhaps this meant that it was a two humped camel.  But it actually means there are two different branches or chambers of the legislature:  the Senate and the House of Representatives.  The two chambers seem to fight a lot and don’t get much done.  In the United States the people elected to those chambers are usually Republicans or Democrats.  Republicans focus on keeping their jobs and making things miserable for Democrats.  Democrats focus on keeping their jobs and making sure that things are miserable for Republicans.  Neither party seems to do anything for the common good of the thirty to forty percent of the people who voted them into office.

The Judicial branch is headed by the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court has nine judges who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.  Their appointments are for as long as they want.  They can retire or die in office.  They are supposed to be apolitical, but in reality they are closely aligned with the views of the political party the President belonged to.  So for example, if they are liberal (a word that can mean just about anything) they tend to be aligned with the Democratic Party.  If a Republican President is in office when a liberal Supreme Court Justice wants to retire he’s stay in his seat until he dies or a Democratic President is elected so that another liberal justice can be appointed and vice versa.   Officially, their job is to defend the U.S. Constitution.  In reality, their job seems to be to force their views on the citizens who did not elect them.

Overall, the U.S. government system is very confusing.  It is supposed to by, “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  However, it is of special interests, by sycophants, for themselves.  At its best it can be a good system, but at its worst it is terrible.

The government of Demeter is much simpler.  Of course the United States government is responsible for 300 million plus people, while Demeter has at most 100,000 people who are living and visiting the planetoid.  Three groups are represented in Demeter, Terrans (or people from Earth), Cryellians, and Sagittarians.  Each group has a different mission in Demeter.  Generally speaking Sagittarians are not involved in the local government of Demeter.  They have three seats of the twelve on the Directorate and are appointed to that position by the Sagittarian fleet that bases in Demeter.  They were responsible for recovering Demeter from the PerSians.  The other nine seats of the Directorate are all by appointment.  When the Directorate was established by the Sagittarians, the purpose was simply to administer the local political issues that the Sagittarian Navy did not want to be bothered with.  Most members of the Directorate have specific assignments, such as administering the ice fields on top of Demeter or managing the two plants that maintain the ecosystem balance within Demeter.  The Director-General is the formal leader of the Directorate, and is normally of Earth origins.  The equivalent of a Vice President is the Director from Cryella.  Even they have specific roles.  Although the Director-General is the defacto leader of the Directorate, their primary role is the interior of Demeter, while the Director from Cryella is the leader of the surface defenses of the planet and really more of a military leader.

Selection of Directors in present day Demeter is by merit determined by the members of the Directorate.  In reality, Directors are often relatives of other Directors creating a certain sense of nepotism.  Regardless, the system does work efficiency and with very little opposition.  As most positions are tied directly or indirectly to the military and defense of the region, it has a sense of military structure, but a much more laissez faire approach than the much more regimented Sagittarian Navy.

Because of the population and common mission of Demeter the structure is appropriate.  A danger is that the best candidates for leadership may at some point be overlooked in favor of less competent family members.  A certain sense of a nobility class has emerged in Demeter.  Despite this potential problem, a governmental system such as exists in the United States would be disastrous for Demeter.  Elected officials more focused on their own political agenda than on the welfare of the people would create chaos in a crisis where immediate and decisive action often has to be taken.

Likewise the governmental system of Demeter would not work well in the United States.  300 million people are too many to selectively choose leaders from the pool.  Too many excellent choices would be overlooked and the best of the best may not rise to the top.  In addition to the existing cronyism in the U.S. government this would lead to a cross between the despotic, the corrupt, and the incompetent.

Submitted by

William Ryder

Personality and a new chapter up

So I thought I would add a little flavor to this… For those curious this is Debbie posting. Apparently some might think I have a flare for theatrics… can imagine who that would be. So The exciting news is I convinced Dr. Hansen to allow me to post another chapter to our webpage. If you haven’t read the section of the book that is up yet you should. I will make you laugh at least 3 times not to mention what the antics of my dear brother Ryder may accomplish. 

I thought i would oust myself and fess up who I was because I was tired of being so dry. I’ll tell you some more when I get a chance, but I have my hands full at the moment… Cursed flying protocols… they don’t let you fly and blog at the same time… But remember if you like to design work on the book cover. Winner gets a $75 visa gift card. And remember I am the best looking one of the characters involved 🙂