In the Beginning...

Long after I wrote the first draft of Aurora, back in 2005, I heard a screenwriter tell me that, consciously aware of it or not, you will name your movie after the lead character.

I was shocked and surprised when I turned that adage on my own script, then instantly, I wasn’t.

When I first started on this idea, we still had a space program, and the deficit was about $9 trillion, instead of $17 trillion. So I didn’t really concern myself with the political problems of being able to traverse the solar system. All I thought about were the technical problems – from the perspective of someone who had been studying astronomy, physics, ion drives, gas core nuclear rockets and all the rest from the tender age of 5 or so.

The script evolved from the how of private space to the why of it, and now that all of that Tolkien-level groundwork is in place, the final re-write will make it an actual story: the one outlined in the header above. But the ship was always the star.

So let’s spend a long time on the ship, and how it got there. Because while it should not be the center of a story, it is in fact a wonderfully complex toy for us engineering and physics and space geeks to geek out on. Moved to its appropriate position as the backdrop for a good story, rather than the centerpiece of one, I think it is going to kick butt.

The image at the top of this post represents the best modeling I could do (and I did this back in the early nineties, just for fun, and long before Aurora was even a gleam in my eye). But as I was lurking in the Sci-Fi Meshes forums, looking at the 24,845th new Starfleet class of vehicles or the most implausible and unlikely hunks of gothic, flying pig iron… something caught my eye:

Catseye module 4

Whoever did this was an engineering genius. Look at the connections; the braces and supports and how they were engineered! This was someone I had to meet. And I did.


…to be continued.

Published Oct 18, 2013