Nov 222016

Due to other commitments, progress has been slow on Pax Orionis. Still, a few days ago I posted a new piece, “Birth of the Bomb Part Two,” for Pax Orionis patrons. This is the second of a two-part newspaper article… the first described an event in the 1990s – well after the Great War – that led to Orion spacecraft becoming far more economical. In the second part, a reporter catches up with the people responsible. Excitement! Adventure! Inadvertent multi-kiloton nuclear detonations! Death from above! What’s not to like?

As with all Pax Orionis tales, each part comes with two bonuses: a technical diagram describing some piece of technology important in the Pax Orionis universe, complete with both in-universe and factual descriptions; and a small newspaper or magazine article that, when all put together, tell an important part of the Pax Orionis backstory.

pax-01 pax-02 pax-03 pax-04 pax-05 pax-06

If interested – and why the hell wouldn’t you be – check out the Pax Orionis Patreon:

There are two level of patronage… $1 and $2. At $1, you get a new story when it comes out. At $2, you get the story, the tech diagram and the article.

Any Pax Orionis patrons who have read the most recent story, feel free to leave a comment. Praise or constructive criticism or anywhere in between.

 Posted by at 1:43 pm
Jul 022016

July 11, at 2PM Pacific time, I’m to be interviewed on The Space Show. The subject will be nuclear pulse propulsion; I am pondering several sub-topics to narrow down the focus. Including:

  1. The history of Project Orion (probably been done to death as far as listeners are concerned)
  2. The engineering of Orion technology – ships and pulse units
  3. How nuclear pulse propulsion has been depicted – often wrongly – in popular culture. And how to depict it accurately and interestingly.
  4. And of course, Pax Orionis. Because.
  5. I was on The Space Show once before, in December 2013, discussing aerospace history archiving, Dyna Soar and the like.


 Posted by at 11:19 pm
Apr 122016

And then there’s this: I’ve roughly finished another Pax Orionis yarn: “Birth of the Bomb.”  It’s a greatly expanded, completely re-written version of a snippet I have previously posted and, perhaps shockingly, it’s not grimdark but rather the opposite (in a way). This one deals not with war but exploration. It’s somewhat longer than “The Deadliest Catch,” so it’ll be in two parts.

I’m currently going over it, tinkering. I need to add the Technical Diagram (a helicopter is mentioned in the story, and I’ve been tempted to draw *that,* but I’ve decided to stick with more Orion-based diagrams for the time being) and a few other bits, but I should have Part One available for Pax Orionis patrons in a week or two. So if you are interested, take a look at the Pax Orionis Patreon page.


 Posted by at 10:25 am
Mar 272016

I’ve just released Part Two (of two) of “The Blast from Jackass Flats,” describing the maiden voyage of the USSC Columbia. This was the first manned Orion vehicle in the Pax Orionis universe… the alternate history that starts with the Cuban Missile Crisis gone wrong and results in America conquering the solar system in ships powered by atom bombs.  Included in this issue is a Technical Data Sheet describing the Columbia, including modifications needed for atmospheric flight. This and other Pax Orionis tales are available at the Pax Orionis Patreon.

blast 2

 Posted by at 4:49 pm
Mar 262016

It has been a while since I’ve put out a new piece of Pax Orionis; since the last one, other obligations have jumped up and down on me. But in the next day or two Part 2 of “The Blast From Jackass Flats” will come out. If you’re on the Pax Orionis Patreon, the story will be only a buck; for two bucks you get the story and some extras, including a technical diagram, this time showing the USSC Columbia.

So, sign up now so you don’t miss each new installment. Because your Arch Nemesis just might be signed up, and you don;t want *that* dirtbag to get the jump on you here!

Pax Orionis

 Posted by at 6:27 pm
Dec 192015

It has been a while since I’ve put out a Pax Orionis story, but a new one has just been made available to the Pax Orionis Patreon patrons. This one tells of the maiden voyage of the Columbia and the resulting changes in geopolitics…

The bonus version (available to $2 & up patrons) includes diagrams and data on the Nova-class lofter as well as a bonus news article. If interested, check out the Pax Orionis Patreon. It’s cheap!

For those unaware: Pax Orionis is an alternate history project. In short, the Cuban Missile Crisis goes a little “funny,” resulting in the US fielding nuclear pulse propelled spacecraft (Orions). The goal is hard SF covering a number of decades of events, good, bad and really quite awful.


 Posted by at 1:17 pm
Nov 112015

I released a two-part tale in the Pax Orionis series back in September, but nothing since. Partially due to travel, partially due to stress not being terribly conducive to creative writing. nevertheless, I’ve been writing, and am within spitting distance of finishing the next yarn, “The Blast from Jackass Flats.” The earlier two-parter told of an incident during the Great War of 1984 from the viewpoint of civilians on the surface, with Orion spacecraft way off in the distance; this next story deals explicitly with an important incident in the history of the Orion program. It will almost certainly be a one-parter rather than two.

Most of the Pax Orionis stories will be in different styles. This one is in the style of an author trying to tell the story from some time later. The author is perhaps overly interested in technical details…

If interested, please take a look at and consider signing on to the Pax Orionis Patreon. Only a buck!

 Posted by at 1:35 pm
Sep 282015

I’ve been pondering the Casaba Howitzer weapon system for a decade now. When I re-issued Aerospace Projects Review V2N2 some years back I published a few images of what I thought it might look like; since then I’ve done some rethinking. As to the weapon itself, and exactly how it worked, and how well it worked… I’ve got no data, and no good idea of how to make it work, so that hasn’t changed. But the control systems for the weapon? Those have evolved in my thinking.

Here’s an overall view of my idea for a Casaba Howitzer preparing to fire:


And here’s a layout drawing of the same:

PAX-0004 Casaba 1st gen-Model

Feel free to discuss.

The full-rez version of the layout drawing is available in the second Pax Orionis installment. If interested, check out the Pax Orionis Patreon.


 Posted by at 7:50 am
Sep 182015

Just a few minor things (conversion to PDF & EPUB, uploading, stuff like that) and the second Pax Orionis installment will be posted. This will be “The Deadliest Catch, Part Two,” the conclusion to that particular tale. The bonus will include diagrams and data on the first generation Casaba Howitzer weapon (which has evolved substantially from when i first illustrated it for the pages of APR issue V2N2, years ago), derived from the Orion pulse unit, and a short media piece that fits in with the one included last time. I plan on posting this tomorrow (Saturday).

Patrons who are signed up *before* the story is released will automatically get the story as soon as it’s published. If you sign up *after* the story is published, you won’t automatically get it… but you won’t be charged for it, either. However, patrons may purchase “back issues” for the same price, so you can catch up without any trouble. Each tale is only a buck; with the bonus diagrams and technical discussion, only one additional buck.

If interested, check out the Pax Orionis Patron.


Feel free to tell anyone you think might be interested.

 Posted by at 8:51 am
Sep 162015

One of the more interesting, but less known, aspect of the Orion program was code named “Casaba Howitzer.” Little is known of this, except that pulse unit technology was somehow adapted to turn the device into a single-shot nuclear directed energy weapon. The propellant was somehow collimated into a tight “beam” that would be able to destroy enemy warheads out in space at some considerable distance. Just what that distance would be, though, remains clouded by Classification.

I created a simple provisional concept for Casaba Howitzer for issue V2N2 of Aerospace Projects Review. Since then… I’ve found out no new info on CH. But I’ve put considerable thought into the thing, and have redesigned my concept. Since the design is all mine, it’s usefulness in a factual history of Orion is minimal, but it’s great for fiction. And so I’m working on a set of diagrams for CH for Pax Orionis, and will include layouts of the “deployed” Casaba Howitzer configuration with the next release. Other diagrams will show the launch configuration as well as internal layouts.

If interested, check out the Pax Orionis Patron.


 Posted by at 9:51 am