Bigger planets have more gravity. Most people know the most obvious effect of this: on a planet with higher gravity, you’d feel heavier and it would be harder to move. On a planet with lower gravity, you’d feel lighter, and have an easier time running and jumping. But a planet’s size, and the strength of … Continue reading What’s the Big Deal About Planet Size?
When I was growing up, we only knew of nine planets. Most of them were so wildly different from each other that we had no idea what to expect from planets around other stars – or whether any of those even existed. The idea of a tenth planet – planet X – was mysterious and … Continue reading Where Do Planets Come From?
The questions we’ll ask in my upcoming book will open up almost infinite possibilities. They won’t tell you what your alien planet, species, or characters are going to be like: they’ll give you millions of possibilities. So how do you shape this mass of scientific possibilities into a story? Well, if you’re reading this series … Continue reading How to Get Started Worldbuilding with Hard Science
On Earth, the most common forms of energy storage molecules are sugars. These are rings made of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen atoms which store chemical energy in their bonds. How exactly does this work, you ask? Well, chemical bonds take energy to create. They also release energy when they are broken. The more chemical bonds … Continue reading Sugar, Acetylene, and Life on Titan: Life Not As We Know It
The most basic possible definition of life is this: life is a self-replicating pattern. The simplest forms of life on Earth today are bacteria, who exist for the sole purpose of reproducing more of themselves. Over time, copying errors + natural selection cause versions of the pattern that are better and better at surviving to … Continue reading Genetic Material: Alien and Earthly
Biochemistry is a big, scary word. And it does mean quite a lot of complex things. But at the end of the day, it’s this: how do the molecules that make up our cells work together to produce life? In this blog entry we’re going to look at the most basic and important building blocks … Continue reading The Biochemistry of Life As We Know It
Today’s blog entry will be much shorter than Friday’s, for one simple reason: Class K “orange dwarf” stars are much less terrifying than Class M red dwarfs. That means there are fewer survival challenges and requirements for your characters. Class K stars are something of a “happy medium” between our own Sun and red dwarfs. … Continue reading Orange Dwarfs: Life Around Class K Stars
I hope you’re all ready for a super-blog. We’ve got a lot to cover in this introduction to star type + the perils of life around a red dwarf star, so let’s jump right in. The stars in the sky all look pretty much the same from Earth. If we can see them at all, … Continue reading Life Around Red Dwarf Stars
Welcome to the first installment in my blog series based on the presentation we didn’t quite get to finish at Flights of Foundry! Here I’ll be covering a blend of useful principles about storytelling, planetology, and biology, and how to combine them all seamlessly in your science fiction work. “Science fiction” has attracted people since … Continue reading Why Use Hard Science in Worldbuilding?
“The chemical messages came to her faintly, much-diluted and far away, like whispers on the breeze. She submerged her whole foot in the water and began to walk, dampening the nerve signals that screamed cold! as the waves lapped at her thighs.” One of the key plot points of my work in progress is that … Continue reading What If We Could Communicate Through Scent?