Communion Of Dreams


Annoying, yet exciting.

Gah. I am either having a relapse of the very stubborn flu that had me laid low last month, or am fighting some new bug with similar (yet still considerably less severe) symptoms. This is highly annoying.

So, I’m about to go take a nap. But first a couple of quick notes, and then a bit from Phil Plait’s blog about a recent discovery that is very exciting.

Note one: downloads of the .pdf of Communion of Dreams have crossed 8,200 and downloads of the audio version continue to climb as well. That’s exciting.

Note two: heard nothing yet from the agent I mentioned contacting the other day. No surprise – I expect that it will take a month or so to hear from them. But I needed something else to note.

Now, about the news from space . . .

I have written previously about the Cassini probe’s 10 year mission to Saturn, and how there have been a lot of great images and information coming back to scientists about that planet and its moons. Information that helps to confirm what we knew when I was first writing Communion (since most of the action of the book takes place on and around Titan.) But there is news which would potentially require me to revise the novel slightly – not about Titan, but about its sibling Enceladus. You may have heard something about this, but I’ll go to the Bad Astro Boy himself for the news:

Life’s cauldron may be bubbling underneath Enceladus

A few days ago I wrote about how the Cassini Saturn probe dove through water ice plumes erupting from the surface of the icy moon Enceladus. The pictures were incredible, but it may very well be that the other detectors got the big payoff.

They detected organic compounds in the plumes.

Now remember, organic molecules don’t necessarily mean life. What Cassini detected were heavy carbon-based molecules, including many that are the building blocks for making things like amino acids and other compounds necessary for life as we know it.

Edited to add: Carolyn Porco, imaging team leader for Cassini, says:

[…] it is now unambiguous that the jets emerging from the south polar fractures contain organic materials heavier than simple methane — acetylene, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, propane, etc. — making the sub-surface sources of Enceladus’ dramatic geological activity beyond doubt rich in astrobiologically interesting materials.

Whoa. I mean, *whoa* . Seriously. It ain’t life, nor even proof of life – but it is *damned exciting*.

Now, a nap.  All this excitement makes me tired.

Jim Downey

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I’m listening to the mp3 version at the mo. Its good, but I found the audio to be very quiet and hard to hear, might be just me.

Actually this is the first fiction book I’ve read/listened-to in a few years, mostly been pop-science and philosophy.

Anyway, Chapter 12 part one is Chapter 11 part one instead, not going to be able to continue listening to it untill its changed :)

Also it seems to be that the book needs some clean-up in its history, alot of the political organisms are left unexplained, bit of a pitty from my perspective, whats a ‘USSA’? – I dont remember it being explained, maybe its just my memory :)

Good look getting an agent an’ all! :D

Comment by Troika21

Another gallery of photos of Enceladus…

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/apod/apod_search?Enceladus

Comment by Tim

Sorry about the glitch on the first part of Chapter 12. Thanks for calling it to our attention; it has been fixed! Happy listening.

Comment by Alix

OK, in reverse order . . .

Alix, thanks for fixing that small glitch.

Tim – appreciate the link to the APOD site. Definitely cool stuff.

Troika, I appreciate the good wishes. Alix has gotten the glitch fixed, so try Chap 12 part one again. And the USSA = US Settlement Authority. That’s probably more obvious in the text version. As to the explanations – particularly with SF it is very hard to know where to draw the line in terms of over-defining things. The temptation is to explain *everything* – but that can quickly kill any sense of action or plot. Sorry if for you I didn’t provide enough of the background – perhaps I should consider adding a glossary to the book when it gets published . . . ;)

Jim D.

Comment by Communion of Dreams

I need a glossary for *all* Sci-fi. But backstories are important to me.

I’m ashamed to admit that I hadn’t properly read the ebook version, I’m not able to scroll through blocks of text in PDFs and use my imagination at the same time. :)

I couldn’t pass up a free audio-book though.

Comment by Troika21

Troika – no worries. I actually don’t care to read long text on a computer screen of any variety, myself. But then, I’m a book conservator in ‘real’ life . . .

Jim D.

Comment by Communion of Dreams




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