Apr 192018
 

For the APR Patreon I try to acquire as much interesting aerospace documentation as I can, and these items fall into two categories:

  1. Stuff that I can afford. This stuff winds up in the APR Patreon catalog of potential monthly rewards for patrons.
  2. Stuff I can’t hope to afford.

There’s a lot of the latter category of stuff. Sometimes it’s because the item has a ridiculously high Buy It Now price or starting bid, or because the item will be popular among bidders, or because it’s *really* good/big and thus worth every penny. But unaffordable is unaffordable.

However, there is an option for “stuff I can’t afford:” crowdfunding. I’ve done this a number of times with considerable success, and I’ve just done so again, winning a trio of General Dynamics documents describing a 1965 program to develop a logistics system for extending the Apollo lunar exploration program:

This set of documents was just much too expensive for an individual (well, I’m sure Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk wouldn’t have flinched), but with a group of like-mined funders it came in at $30 per person. So what happens now:

1: I wait for it to show up in the mail.

2: I make a complete set of scans in 300 DPI grayscale (and color, where appropriate) and convert to PDFs

3: I make the scans and PDFs available to funders, generally via Dropbox

4: I find an appropriate archive for the documents, and then donate the originals to them.

5: And that’s it. The files are shared with the funders, but do not appear on future APR Patreon catalogs or as purchasable, downloadable “Diagrams and Documents.” What the funders choose to do with their scans & PDFs is up to them.

APR Patrons get alerted to each of these occasional “crowdfunding opportunities.” So if you’d like to participate, please considered signing up for the APR Patreon.

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 Posted by at 12:11 pm
Mar 162018
 

I started on a story for Book 2 of my “War With The Deep Ones” on Sunday night (based on an idea I had last Friday afternoon) and finished the first draft moments ago. Works out to about 55 pages. Not a bad pace… ten or so pages a day would finish a good sized novel in less than a month. Of course, 55 pages might not necessarily be 55 *good* pages, but it’s better to have them down and trim a lot, than to have nothing written down.

Book One is not as “cosmic doomy” as a lot of Lovecraftian tales are, more “regular doomy” since the Deep Ones are fairly mundane critters compared to cosmic horrors like Yog Sothoth and Nyarlathotep and Justin Beiber. But things ramp up on the Doom Scale in Book Two.

Still not quite sure what to actually *do* with all this. I’m going through the latest version of my first “Zaneverse” novel, hopefully to wrap up my final edit and then to try to convince a publisher to publish it, but as for “War?” Dunno.

As a reminder, the first “War” story is Honolulu, the second is Champion of the Seas. Feel free to check them out.

 Posted by at 9:34 pm
Feb 112018
 

Who wants some fiction? A tale of a cruise ship on the high seas when the world is attacked by Lovecraftian sea monsters, Champion of the Seas is, I think, pretty good. This is the second full yarn in the “War With The Deep Ones” book that I’ve released; the first being “Honolulu.” I also released a bit from the “interstitial tales” that will be wedged between the main stories.

To read a preview of the story and to order the whole thing in PDF & EPUB formats, click the “Continue Reading” below.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 2:48 am
Feb 042018
 

John D. Clark’s “Ignition!” is  basically *the* book to read if you want a readable history of modern rocket propellants. The problem has been that it has been *long* out of print and the only ways you could read it were:

  1. Interlibrary loan of a tattered copy
  2. Online purchase of a *minimum* of a $200 copy
  3. Crappy free downloadable PDF.

Fortunately, Rutgers University is going to re-release printed (and electronic) versions in May. And it’s available on Amazon for pre-order, which is awesome because if you buy it through a link in this blog post, I’ll get a small fraction of a pittance and thus “Ignition!” will help feed some cats. It’ll be available in paperback, hardback and Kindle. I’m’a get me the paperback.

 

 Posted by at 8:37 pm
Jan 302018
 

Finished another tale, “Brass Valley.” Not a terribly long one (one of the shorter ones), but still kinda interesting.

I’ve ordered the stories in the spreadsheet according to the order I think they’ll go in the book. Irritatingly, the second story, the one following on after “Honolulu,” is one that I kinda stalled out on… and it’s one I need to not only finish but make work.

Clearly it’s turning into a good-sized work, but I suspect a good editor would go through it with a  woodchipper. I could easily see half of the length being filtered out.

 

It had been my plan to  release the stories in the proper order, since it would make more sense that way (there is a process to the invasion that explains why some places are surprised and others aren’t). But I think I’ll release “Champion of the Seas” next… I think it’s a pretty good one, and stands well on its own. Stay tuned.

 Posted by at 9:43 pm
Jan 302018
 

Huh.

Using AI to uncover ancient mysteries

The Voynich Manuscript is a centuries-old (early 1400’s) book of gibberish and odd illustrations. It has been untranslatable… until perhaps, now. An artificial intelligence system was taught hundreds of languages to figure out their patterns, then fed the Voynich manuscript… and it determined that it was written in coded Hebrew. With that understanding, the letters were found to be coded into alphagrams, where the letters in words are re-ordered into alphabetic order (Example: “example” becomes “aeelmpx”). The result is that 80% of the words are clearly Hebrew, and sentences are, if not really clear, at least comprehensible as being non-nonsense.

It still requires analysis by people who actually understand old Hebrew to make the book make any sort of sense, but it’s interesting to see that machines have cracked this old mystery.

 Posted by at 12:02 am
Jan 202018
 

On and off I continue to tap away on my “War With The Deep Ones” project. It started off blisteringly fast, but unsurprisingly slowed down; still, I’ve written around 350 pages for the first book.

I originally described “WWTDO” here half a year ago. But the short form is that it is a sequel to H.P. Lovecrafts’ “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” along with several other of his tales. As you may recall from “Shadow,” at the end of the story we find out that around 1930 the Feds raided the Massachusetts city of Innsmouth and took hundreds of “people” captive, hiding them away in concentration camps. The reason for this is that these people are hybrids of humans and “Deep Ones,” aquatic non-human entities who are somewhat interested in wiping out mankind. “WWTDO” takes place a bit more than a century later, when the Deep Ones finally get it together and make their move on mankind.

What I have so far are around 15 separate short stories all dealing with different aspects of the war. My plan at this time actually involves four books… “WWTDO 1” which covers the first few days of the war, “WWTDO 2” covers the first few weeks to months, “WWTDO 3” finishes out the war. The fourth book would be more of a historical novel covering the history of the Office of Insight, the secret government organization formed after the raid on Innsmouth to deal not only with the Deep Ones but also with the other Lovecraftian threats that are found.

I think what I’ll do with this is release one or two of the stories (probably Honolulu) here, posted in PDF & EPUB format, and then release the others either individually or as one solid book, self published on Amazon in digital format (like a number of US Bomber Projects I’ve got available there). Since I have no cover art I think I’ll dispense with printed versions, unless there is some deep abiding desire.

As seen from the list below, a few of the yarns kinda stalled out during the writing process.

 

 Posted by at 10:48 pm
Dec 192017
 

If you haven’t already bought a copy of Dennis Jenkins’ “Space Shuttle: Developing an Icon 1972-2013,” you really should. It’s pricey, but it’s also massive (18 pounds/1584 pages)… and the last word on the subject. It is also the last edition of Jenkins’ Shuttle history that he’s planning on producing, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. The Amazon reviews are enlightening: 95% of them are five-star, 5% are 4 star… and precisely none of them are three star or less. That almost never happens.

 

 Posted by at 1:32 pm
Dec 172017
 

Work on modeling the thing proceeds. A whole lot of hours were spent yesterday and today making visually minimal progress, but it’s still progress. What is going to cause the delay is not bad news; in fact, it’s good news. In mid January, the book “The World of the Orville” is due to be published. Exactly what’s in it, I don’t know, but it seems to be well-illustrated; there is just possibly the chance that it will drop that vital nugget of information: “The Orville is XYZ meters long.”

The World of the Orville” is available for pre-order from Amazon. Go ahead and order it from here and I’ll receive a small fraction of a pittance.  Heck, go ahead and order a lot of stuff using the Amazon search box up there in the corner; if you start from here I get a small bit of compensation, maybe even enough to buy some cat food. For… the cats. Yeah. The cats.

 

And because why not:

 Posted by at 5:15 pm