Thursday, November 20, 2008

Great Letters from Recent Fans

This is just wicked, as Angelina would say.

I got a package in the mail last week from a class of 4th Graders who had read my book. Apparently, one of my early reviewers forwarded my book to a friend who teaches this class. He read the entire book to his students over several sessions (impressive) and then had each write me with their thoughts.

This is the most touching gesture yet from the growing list of people who have read and enjoyed The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun. I especially loved the fact that they enjoyed the Mech battles and could see my book being made into a movie. One can hope!

I have included a few of their letters below. To protect their privacy, I have blanked out some of their personal information.

To the class of Sherman Elementary: if you read my blog, thank you, thank you, thank you!



Friday, November 14, 2008

Space Exploration Today...Simply Incredible

One of the Last Space Shuttle Launches from Christopher on Vimeo.

So, typically my blog posts are about writing my book, The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun. But tonight it's about part of what inspired my book: space travel today.

In our day-to-day lives, it's easy to overlook or even dismiss what NASA is doing. Sure they launch shuttles and build space stations, but what do we care about that during financial crises and political debates? Admittedly our travails on Earth are often too hard to worry about our next steps in space. But if you step away from your personal challenges for a moment and consider what NASA's mission represents - our future beyond Earth - it becomes immediately amazing that we live in an age when we actually can reach the stars. One day, if we maintain the broad strokes of our current path, it is a virtual certainty that some of us will live off-planet. We will have Moon bases, and space stations, and maybe even Mars bases. Think about that for a the next hundred years, humans may be born on other planets or on space stations!

What we can learn from this as humanity extends its reach is incredible. These are tentative baby steps to be sure, but they can only lead to a future where man lives on other worlds even further beyond ours. Planets that are perhaps just as habitable as ours. How then will financial crises look or political debates when there are multiple planets to consider. Surely, things will be more complex, but what we learn in that process may solve many of our current dilemmas. For instance, would the world be falling into recession right now if more of our planet was dedicated to shipping goods off world to Earth colonies that can't produce everything themselves? Would oil be so expensive if we were able to import it or other resources (hopefully clean-burning) from other planets? Honestly, who knows? But I do know we've always benefited as a species by having more options. Space represents literally infinite options.

In the end, I believe what we learn and gain in moving off our planet will push humanity to a new level of existence. Problems won't cease, but old problems will give way to new ones that hopefully will be more manageable than previous ones, just like our crises now pale in comparison with those of times like the Great Depresssion. Think about us now compared to cavemen. We clearly have our own problems, who complains about living in caves or not having fire to cook a meal anymore? If we hold this trajectory, space is the next logical step for the betterment of us all.

So space travel will one day help us move to a higher plane of existence and I was happy tonight to be able to be a part of experiencing it. I watched NASA launch STS-126 from Cape Canaveral at 7:55 PM during one of the last night launches of the Shuttle's last 10 total launches.

It was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Sadly, the humidity in the air made the video blurry, but in-person I can tell you honestly few things have touched me as deeply. And while I couldn't phrase then what I felt, I couldn't deny the significance of the moment as waves of shivers overcame me during the final countdown and launch of the next phase of our off-world explorations. This is the pinnacle of our achievement as a species. A climactic expression of our political stability, economic and technological prowess, and courage as a people.

It is partly this inspiring vision of our future that led me to write the first book of the Onyx Sun, and I already can't wait to watch future generations take up the mantle and make it a reality for us all.