Archive for April, 2011

Fuzzy Ergo Sum

April 16, 2011

Been a little busy. Acting, writing, brake job, computer upgrade. You know, the usual. I am waaaay behind in putting stuff in here, and I will get some of the backlog in, but this is special. Today I got some good news; my book “Fuzzy Ergo Sum” just hit the! (here’s the link.) I first started on this book back in ’06 or ’07. I was about 120 pages in when I was told the story really started around page 80. So, I jettisoned the first 80 pages and reworked the story. I was half-way through when I learned that another author, John Scalzi, was also working on a Fuzzy book. Mine is a sequel, his is a reboot. Cool! It must be worthwhile if he is working on a Fuzzy book, too, right? Right!

Well, unlike a book that you can pick up in the store, you can’t skim a website they way you would a book. So, I am going to give you the prologue so you can get a sense of what is in the book, and of my writing style. Cool? First, the blurb on Amazon:

“FUZZY ERGO SUM by Wolfgang Diehr is the first new Fuzzy novel in almost 30 years. This new novel continues H. Beam Piper’s most well-known and beloved series, featuring Jack Holloway, Little Fuzzy, Victor Grego, et al. who all return in this new continuation of Piper’s original novel, Little Fuzzy. Things have been quiet on Zarathustra-maybe too quiet-for the Colonial Government, Jack Holloway, the Fuzzies and the Charterless Zarathustra Company for the last couple of years. Baby Fuzzy made his first kill, the sunstone agreement with the CZC has kept the planetary government in the black and the Fuzzies and humans peacefully co-exist in a nearly symbiotic relationship. All is well until several men arrive on Zarathustra with an agenda that will spell trouble for humans and Fuzzies alike. In a very short period, the Chief Colonial Prosecutor is abducted, a dangerous criminal escapes from prison and a major stockholder with a blood vendetta digs into the company’s records.”

Now the prologue:

John Morgan looked up to see out of a portal hoping for a view of the planet, but all he could see was the surface of Darius, Zarathustra’s inner moon and the Terra-Baldur-Marduk transfer station for passengers from ship to shuttle. As with most hyperspace ships, the portals were on the ceilings due to the spherical design of the craft, so, for the convenience of the passengers, video displays were also provided throughout the ship. Artificial gravity originated at the core of the ship and radiated outward, forcing the designers to construct the floor-plan in concentric circles outward from the center, much like a Terran onion. It was an efficient design that was comfortable for the passengers if not for the crew. Near the core of the ship, where crew quarters were situated, the floors curved noticeably while in the outermost levels the curvature was so slight as to be easily dismissed.
It was John Morgan’s first trip to Zarathustra, but far from his first planet fall. He had seen several other planets such as Mars, Terra, Yggdrasil, Nifflheim, Gimli, Balder, Thor, Fenris and especially Freya. Morgan was looking for something and hoped to find it on Zarathustra.
It had taken a lot of planning and money to get here. He had invested tens of millions of Sols to get a working control of the local company. As a major shareholder in the Charterless Zarathustra Company he would have access to files and computer databases that would help him in his search. He also used this same method on every planet he intended to go to. In the past he even hired private investigators, bribed planetary officials and, when necessary, used blackmail.
A soft feminine voice from a loudspeaker informed passengers making planet-fall to go to shuttle dock 7-A in ten Terran minutes. As many passengers were accustomed to other world’s time units the announcer always reminded them that ship time was based on Terran standard. Morgan hustled back to his room, inspected it thoroughly to be sure nothing was left behind, collected his luggage and sealed the room behind him.
In the corridor he opened his wallet to make doubly sure that his portfolio card was safe. In a universe where communications depended on hyper-ship couriers it was necessary to keep financial records in a portable form. Bank account balances, stock shares and other information was recorded and encoded on the card, along with the bearer’s thumbprint, retinal scan and a DNA sample. Only the person possessing all three could authorize access to the card. As a final security measure, there were matching microchips implanted in the card and in some random location inside the bearer’s body. If the portfolio card and its owner were more that ten feet apart, the card would not function. Every time the card was accessed any changes were automatically recorded and transmitted through secure frequency to all outgoing hyper-space ships. The information would be retransmitted to every port where the ship made planet-fall. Financial transactions, planetary news, police reports and other information were also updated world-to-world in this manner. If stolen it was impossible to use. If lost, there was hell to pay to get it replaced. Once satisfied that everything was in order, Morgan hurried off to the shuttle dock.
On the journey from Darius to Zarathustra the flight attendant gave a brief seminar about the planet below. “Zarathustra is roughly 2% larger than Terra but has only .95134 of Terran gravity. The lower gravity is due to the lesser density as opposed to Terra, which is the densest planet in the Sol System. The Zarathustran day consists of twenty-four hours twenty-three minutes and fifty-nine point nine-one seconds in Terran units, closely mirroring a Martian day. Local time is based on a twenty-four hour clock with the hours lengthened to accommodate planetary rotation. Seconds and minutes are Terran standard, but the Zarathustran hour is 61 minutes long. If you do not have a multi-zone watch, Zarathustran time pieces are available in the gift shop in the Mallorysport spaceport.
“The Zarathustran year is approximately 396.1 days. There is a Leap Day every ten years. On Leap Day the clock is reset to account for 0.09 seconds gained in the Zarathustran day. This makes Zarathustra unique from many other Federation worlds where T-time is the standard.
“The axial tilt of the planet is roughly 11.2 degrees as opposed to Terra’s more extreme 23.4 degrees. This means seasonal change is far less variable than on Terra and many other planets. Seasonal change is only significant near the polar regions of the planet, though cold snaps are not uncommon at the extreme north and south. While the equator is typically warmer than the rest of the planet, it does not reach the extremes common to the equator on Terra. This is due to the greater distance of the planet from its primary, which is a K0 star. Were it not for the less extreme axial tilt, most of Zarathustra would be unbearably cold.
“Darius, the inner moon, is one fifth the size of Zarathustra, unlike Luna which is one-fourth the size of Terra. Like Luna, Darius controls the Zarathustran tides. Unlike Luna, Darius rotates on its axis once every six and a half days. It completes an orbit about the planet every 32.97 Zarathustran days. Xerxes, the second moon, is roughly one-half the size of Darius and twice as far from the planet’s stratosphere, so tidal effect is negligible.”
The brochures tended to compare the planet with Terra in its pre-atomic era, but to Morgan it looked more like Freya; blue water, green landmasses, wispy cloud cover…and maybe the man he was looking for. Morgan stopped paying attention to the attendant in favor of the portal. Zarathustra grew large as the shuttle approached. Unlike the great spherical hyperspace ships the shuttle was designed around an egg shape. As such the portals were on walls instead of ceilings.
Absently, he extracted an old photo from the inner pocket of his jacket. The picture was laminated to preserve the image. It was a picture of a man somewhere in his late twenties to early forties. He possessed one of those faces that defied exact age classification. He would be much older, thought Morgan, maybe scarred or bearded. For all he knew the man in the photo could have changed his name and had reconstructive surgery on his face. Morgan let out a long breath. He had the same thoughts before every planet-fall, like his subconscious was telling him how impossible his search was. He had spent fifteen years searching for a man with a twenty year head-start. He might not even be alive, anymore. The universe was a dangerous and unpredictable place. That was the possibility that disturbed Morgan the most; he wouldn’t be able to kill a dead man.

I hope you check it out. (PLEASE! I HAVE STUDENT LOANS TO PAY FOR!)

Not a rant!