Space Pirates!!!

My Kindle short Red Queen’s Gambit, part of the Worlds of Sol series, is now live on Amazon.

Jill, captain of asteroid freighter Sleipner on a routine cargo run from Mars to Ceres, is shocked out of boredom when Odin, the ship’s AI, detects an unknown ship on an interception course.

Odin informs Jill they are not carrying innocuous Earth soil for the gardens of Ceres declared on the manifest. Instead, the cargo hold contains nuclear warheads for deorbiting asteroids.

The approaching ship radios Sleipner to prepare to be boarded. Jill and Jimmy, Sleipner’s pilot, take refuge in a hidden safe room.

When the pirates blow the airlock, evacuating the ship’s atmosphere, they know their lives are on the line.

With four pirates systematically searching the ship for cargo and crew, and time running out, Jill and Jimmy must find a way to neutralize the invaders and retake Sleipner—if they want to survive.

Worlds of Sol

Check out all the stories in my Worlds of Sol series.

Blue Origin

Blue Origin is another private company that is upending the old model of spaceflight—government control and funding. Like SpaceX and numerous smaller companies, Blue Origin is focusing on resources in space for Earth. Perhaps one day they’ll turn their attention to resources for use on space itself.

From Blue Origin’s web site

For the Benefit of Earth

Blue Origin was founded with a vision of millions of people living and working in space for the benefit of Earth. Blue Origin envisions a time when people can tap into the limitless resources of space and enable the movement of damaging industries into space to preserve Earth, humanity’s blue origin. 

Learn more at Blue Origins

To Mars and Beyond!

No, not Buzz Lightyear, Elon Musk. Well, maybe not so different.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has a big vision: he wants to “colonize” Mars and has put a ton of money into the program. He’s not just a visionary, he’s an entrepreneur who’s built a company that can sustain itself. In its early stages it has relied on government procurement for tech development and first contracts. But its vision is far wider.

No one needs to be told that SpaceX can point to multiple amazing accomplishments: vertical return and reuse of lower stage Falcon 9 rockets, Dragon capsule resupply to the ISS, Falcon Heavy, Starship. If humanity is to reach beyond Earth for more than science projects, we’l need these and more developments from SpaceX, Blue Origin, and a rapidly expanding cluster of other private space companies.

This is the first of a series of posts on SpaceX and its vision of humanity in space. Let’s start with their vision.

SpaceX Mars Program


NASA is nearing the first flight of the Artemis program, their initiative to return to the Moon for the first time since Apollo 17. This is the first in a series of posts to update readers on NASA’s progress in the program.

For now, here’s a summary of the program.


Sailing Space

NASA is currently exploring visits to both the Moon and Mars. This is going to require new technology based on our current knowledge and performance. No more ship’s computers with less power than an Apple Watch. Traveling this far beyond our planet will require imagination as well.

My science fiction series Worlds of Sol envisions regular transits between Earth and Mars. But this isn’t easy. SpaceX has a good chance to mount the first expedition to the red planet, but we need a whole industry in space to realize our future.

My stories assume the use of a cycler. Reaching Mars is a discussion on this site of an innovative concept for travel between Earth and Mars. Check it out.

Sea Stories

Most of what I write is science fiction. Occasionally it’s military sci fi in the near future. (See Hunter). But I have been quietly compiling a set of stories about my time as a Naval Aviator in the ‘60’s,70’s, and ‘80s. I intend some day to collect these into a book, but time is always in short supply.

One of my favorite stories is about a time when I was flying off USS Wasp (CVS-18) in atrocious weather. Returning to the carrier, I was low on fuel and couldn’t find the carrier in the fog. Read Smoke Light Approach to see how it turned out.

I posted this and other stories on Quora, an on-line discussion forum. As of November 1, 2022, this story has been seen by 156,500 members of Quora and upvoted by 1,969 of them. I hope you enjoy this story as much as they did.

Night Court

Halloween is a night when aliens can roam free in the United States, mingling with the costumes worn by humans. In my new holiday first contact story, this has cosmic consequences.

On Halloween Joao Santos, NASA Chief Astronaut, receives a subpoena from the First Court of Trans Lunar Crime. The charge, killing an alien, seems like a joke. But the bounty hunter who comes for him is definitely not joking. It delivers Joao to the far side of the Moon to stand. trial. 

Joao refuses to plead guilty and asks for legal assistance. The alien version of Legal Aid doesn’t inspire confidence. Joao needs to negotiate a galactic bureaucracy that moves at the speed of flowing molasses and the corruption of its legal system if he wants to regain his freedom. The unexpected value of the Martian land his son bought him for his birthday may provide him a loophole to wiggle through—if he can somehow get back to Earth.

Buy Night Court on Amazon now..

Writing Life

As Summer fades into Fall, I’m trying to get back into writing regularly. Between some medical issues and a prolonged visit to Florida with family, it’s been hard to pay attention.

I’m currently working on two novels that are nearing completion of a first draft.

In Watanabe’s Hammer, astronomers detect Agni, a visitor from extragalactic space, a virtual twin of Oumuamua on a similar trajectory. One astronomer, a former Naval Aviator, finds evidence of a space battle near Agni. He reports this to military authorities and is recruited into an ongoing project to investigate. What he learns will determine the future of humanity.

Fire in the Sky is the story of Will Lafontaine, a young man with a vision of using nuclear warheads to move asteroids from the Belt to Earth. He pitches the idea to Lawrence Summers, his boss at Orbital Resources, a company that mines near-Earth asteroids. Lawrence rebuffs his proposals and Will quits to pursue the project on his own. Lawrence assigns Amanda Stolz, a manager at Orbital, to make sure Will’s vision fails. As Will and Amanda pursue their competing agendas, sparks fly. Can they find common ground before Will’s impulsiveness ruins his project forever?

Stay tuned for more in 2022.


DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) is a NASA mission to see whether impacting an asteroid with a spacecraft will change its trajectory. This is a very early-stage evaluation of whether and how we can change the trajectory of an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. The effect of the impact has been impressive.

Approaching Didymos/Dimorphos system
LICIACube against a background of Didymos/Dimorphos. (Photo Ansa)
Image of Dimorphos shortly before impact
Image captured by the Italian Space Agency’s LICIACube a few minutes after the intentional collision of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission with its target asteroid, Dimorphos, captured on Sept. 26, 2022.
Credits: ASI/NASA

Now we wait. More to come